Every single time I tell myself I am done with this series, something ends up pulling me back to try just one more. And every time, I regret it. In this case, Christine Feehan promised the beginning of a trilogy surrounding the long awaited Skylar and Dimitri pairing. True, this is not technically their book, but their HEA arc begins here. Feehan has been dropping little snippets of this couple for-ever. I have no doubt the promise of their story will drive even reluctant readers to pick up this book. And they will regret it too.
The Skylar – Dimitri promise is real. We do get to see them finally moving toward their romance. At least, I can tell you that was not a tease. But I can also tell you that I was bored to tears and I had to force myself to finish the book. (P.S. Apparently, S & D fell in love off page. They were all “my love” and “beloved” to each other. I was like, wha?)
The hero of the book is actually Dimitri’s brother, Fenris. He has been away from the Carpathian people for centuries. While out hunting vampires, he fell in with a pack of Lycans and exchanged blood with them, turning him into a hybrid of the two species. The hybrids, AKA Sange rau, are more than the sum of their parts. They are stronger, faster, and nearly impossible to kill –which is a real problem if they turn vampire. So the Lycans have an elite team to track them and wipe them out. They don’t know the difference between Capathian and vampire, so Fenris must keep his hybrid blood a secret.
He is tracking a vampire hybrid (I refuse to call them Sange rau because I grew so sick of reading that in the book) when he stumbles across Tatijana. She is one of the Dragonseeker aunts who were rescued from the caves where they were trapped by Xavier. –Don’t act like you don’t know what I am talking about. No way you would be reading this if you haven’t already read the other books in the series.– Anyway, Tatijana doesn’t want Fen to bind her because she was held captive so long. Fen doesn’t want to do it either, because he is afraid to taint her blood with his own. But they can’t fight the pull of being lifemates.
There is virtually no conflict in the relationship. Both Fen and Tatijana are good, loyal, selfless, and committed to doing right by the other. Translation: utterly and completely boring. The external conflict is twofold. One is the pair of hybrid vamps targeting Prince Mikhail. The other is the squad of Lycans tracking said vamps, who would destroy Fen if they find out what he is. Dimitri is there to fight along side with his brother, and he becomes an active part of the story that way. His relationship with Skylar comes in by extension.
On the plus side, we get to check in with the Dubrinksi’s, the Daratrazanoff’s, and many of the other couples we have gotten to know over the years. We get to meet the babies… who are now preschoolers. I enjoyed that. I appreciated that Fen wasn’t the average overbearing alpha Carpathian man. I liked that Feehan tried to change things up a little with the Lycan storyline. But there is so much chanting and descriptive narrative; and not enough emotional build or investment. I just didn’t care about what was happening. Even the sex was meh. And while we are talking about the sex, I’m thinking Feehan must have a sex ghost-writer in this book. I think I only saw the word “velvet” once and there was “cock” all over the place. It’s like I don’t even know her anymore.
One other note, the last 20% of the book is a blend of the tedious Appendices, a dictionary, and a preview of Dark Wolf. I rarely read a preview for an upcoming book, but since this will be THE Skylar Dimitri book, I did. And it was probably the most interesting thing I read. Which means A) I am going to read Dark Wolf; and B) I am a total sucker, because the last three books have just not been good and I am coming back yet again.
*ARC Provided by Penguin