09 September 2008

Review: Christine Feehan - Dark Challange

Mass Market Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: Love Spell (November 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0505524090
ISBN-13: 978-0505524096

Julian Savage was golden. Powerful. But tormented. For the brooding hunter walked alone. Always alone, far from his Carpathian kind, alien to even his twin. Like his name, his existence was savage. Until he met the woman he was sworn to protect.... When Julian heard Desari sing, rainbows swamped his starving senses.

Emotions bombarded his hardened heart. And a dark hunger to possess her flooded his loins, blinding him to the danger stalking him. And even as Desari enflamed him, she dared to defy him - with mysterious, unparalleled feminine powerd. Was Desari more than her perfect mate? Julian had met his match in this woman, but would she drive him to madness... or save his soul?

Julian, however, had no choice but to remain solitary, to run with the wolves, to soar with the birds of prey, to hunt with the panthers.

Julian lives his life solitary and will do this last task for an old friend before he will seek the dawn, he will warn a graceful woman with the voice of an angel for the danger she is in. Never did Julian think that a rainbow of color would assault his senses or long forgotten emotions would thunder through his heart. His lifemate was here, no doubt about it……

This is how Julian, an ancient hunter, and Desari, an ancient Carpathian female, meet. Christine Feehan is one of those rare authors who can immediately take the reader into a story, of course Julian is a Carpathian male on the verge of going over to the dark side, but in this story he doesn’t only have to get to know his lifemate, but a whole family unit. Desari is a ancient Carpathian woman with powers to match, a voice that sooths, loves, heals, pleasures and she loves to sing in front of a crowd. As all Carpathian males Julian wants to put her in a box out of harms way, but Desari is not complying and this gives a lot of sparkle as they interact. There were a lot of things in this story that made me cry out for more information. As Desari has an older brother, Darius, who is also the family leader with eminent powers, Julian finds out they are family of the Dark One, Gregori. This piece of information calls for a dramatic reunion, something I know Christine Feehan can deliver! But when Julian sends word to Gregori there is just a very shallow answer, this disappointed me as a reader for I just wanted so much more.

As the story continues and Julian and Desari are passionate about one another, drive each other insane with their stubborn behavior, there is also Darius. As the leader, Desari is used to answer to him, this creates a bit of a ménage – a – trios between them for lifemates have a different set of rules and both Julian and Darius are arrogant, dominant and powerful males. Julian as the outsider now has to function within a family, something he’s not used to and creates tensed situations. In this story the secondary character Darius is so obviously present it almost overshadows Julian. But as the story continues Darius and Julian create a healthy respect for one another giving it more balance. This is just a book that leaves me with mixed feelings about it, the beginning was wonderful as Julian meets Desari, you could feel his desperate feelings and Desari coming to learn about other Carpathian’s and Julian in particularly.

The other family members are as secondary characters must be, adding to the story within their own way. Then suddenly Darius takes over the story with his dark soul and responsibility for the family, on the verge of turning, it’s almost like Julian isn’t as powerful as him. At the last quarter of the story it almost feels like separate threads come together ( like the family unit) into an incredible sequence that leaves me breathless, it’s reading poetry, incredible the way Christine Feehan tells about the foul vampire wanting to hurt Julian and the others where it hurts the most. When you expect a powerful clash of dark versus light is withers and dies and the ending is so abrupt it left me surprised looking for an epilogue.

This is definitely a Carpathian story with all elements present but with peaks and valleys within the story. I can’t leave this review for there’s one more quote I want to share:
The notes of music said even more than the words. They sang of deep emotion, of loving. They sang of compassion and understanding, of a need s great, of love that could never be shaken, the complete, unconditional love of a sister.

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