Fans of Christine Feehan’s Dark series have been waiting a decade or so for this book. For some, there is no way anything she were to write would satisfy after a build like this. Others will be so glad to get the story, that it will be an automatic 5 star read. I’ll be honest, I went into this one with my expectations at an all-time low. The past few books have been so disappointing that I was ready to quit the series. Until I found out that Skyler and Dmitiri were finally on the horizon. I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would.
As the story begins, Dmitri is in the custody of the Lycans. He is being tortured for being a mixed blood. None of the Carpathians can find him. In fact, Skyler doesn’t even think they are looking. So she teams us with her friends Josef and Paul for a rescue mission. Let me stop here and share a few thoughts right off the bat. Skyler is one powerful young woman. She is also smart, resourceful, and determined to save her man. I loved that. But what I loved even more is that Dimitri accepted that. Of course, he wanted her to stay safe, but unlike most Carpathian males, he did not forbid her assistance. He was worried for her, but he listened to her. He respected her need to help him and her ability to be smart about it.
Back to the story. Dimitri is really messed up…. like, almost dead. Yet he never succumbs. He fights to live for Skyler. And about the first third of the book is tied up in his rescue. From then on, it’s about healing and dealing with the increasing tensions between the Carpathian and Lycan people. Tension, that could boil over into a war.
The plot was fairly good. But the best thing this book had going for it was the romance and its key players. Dimitri is everything you could want in a Carpathian man. He is strong and powerful without ever being an alpha-hole. He is patient and kind to his young lifemate. He loves her unconditionally and --here's something unusual-- he respects her. He never berates her; never makes her feel foolish or less than him in any way. His care and generosity don't ever make him look weak, either. He's easily one of the best heroes the series has seen. Their love story is gentle and sweet. I believed in their feelings for one another. There's no real internal conflict, just the two of them banding together to survive the threats against their lives and their people.
The supporting cast is a who's-who of the series. From Gabriel and Francesca, to Lucian and Darius, Zacharias, Nicolas, Razavan, Ivory, Byron, Mikhail... almost everyone is here. I loved catching up with old characters and getting to know more about the "next generation" that includes Josef and Paul. The whole book felt like a homecoming in a way.
It wasn't perfect, mind you. The "spells" Skyler cast got on my nerves to no end. The chanting and rhyming have GOT TO GO. I also had a gripe about how the story dealt with the sex. Such a fine point has been placed on Skyler's sexual abuse in the past. It was the big stumbling block to her accepting Dimitri as a lifemate. Yet, when it's time for these two to get horizontal, it was way too easy. It was like she just decided she was over being raped and passed around in the sex trade for years. She decides she is over it and everything is fine. True, there is a point later in the book where she has a moment of fear, but it's really small potatoes considering her history --and considering the build-up.
And speaking of the sex, I have two other observations. One, I stand by the last review where I said I think Feehan has a ghost-writer for her sex scenes. They are unrecognizable from the earlier books. I mean, I almost fell out of my chair when Dimitri referenced his cock. And two, that flower ritual is just damn stupid.
Overall, I was satisfied with book, and pleasantly surprised. I think most Carpathian fans will be too.
*ARC Provided by Berkley