Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dark Predator (A Carpathian Novel) by Christine Feehan (Book #22 in the Dark Series)

Back of the Book Blurb: 
As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Now his stark and savage journey has ended. For his brothers, Zacarias had walked to the edge of madness, but with centuries as a killing machine now left to the past and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is.
The answer awaits him back home, in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy-and in the deliverance of a lifemate he never could have imagined...

Review:  First, I need to admit I am a Christine Feehan fan.   I really love her Dark Series, the Ghostwalker Series, and her Leopard Series (oddly enough, I'm not so fond of her Sea Haven Series -  go figure.).  That being said, they are all essentially the same.  The woman has a format and believes in sticking to it.  For example:
Incredibly hot, aggressive, alpha male - check.
Beautiful, young, virgin/almost-virgin psychic female - check.
Hero and heroine have a psychic-type link creating an intense bond and really HOT sex - check.
Bad guys (vampires, megalomaniacal billionaires, evil, rotten humans) - check.
Fast paced action with lots of nature/wildlife background and awesome battles and weapons- check.

But her characters, and the entire worlds she creates, are so vivid and well-described that I feel like I'm in the rain forest, or a deep cave, or the ocean.  I feel connected to her heroines, and care about the heroes.  So reading one of her books is both entertaining and very familiar.

I was really excited to read about Zacarias De La Cruz, one of the oldest and darkest of the Carpathians hunters.  The identity of his lifemate was a much debated question on the internet prior to the book release, and I certainly never guessed who it would be - well done, Ms. Feehan!
At its heart, Dark Predator is truly the story of Zacarias and his lifemate, how they come together, fall in love/lust, and begin their relationship. Most of the other Dark books have sub-plots involving the battles of Carpathians against the vampires and some mages who are trying to destroy the Carpathian species.  These storylines are missing in Dark Predator, creating a more intimate relationship story.
Zacarias is unlike most other hunters, and the discovery of his lifemate as he is trying to die honorably shocks him.  He quickly realizes that because he is not like other Carpathians, his relationship with his lifemate will not be the same as others of his species.  I really appreciated how the author handled the fact that Zacarias is about a thousand years old, has avoided almost all human and Carpathian contact for centuries, and has spent the last half-millennia in South America.  So the guy has zero people skills and thinks of women as objects.   His attempts to "rule" his lifemate, while probably realistic, became pretty repetitive ("I will rule you" is a frequent quote).  I found myself missing the steady action of most of her previous books.  Feehan's writing often veers off the path of paranormal romance and skips along the edge of straight-up erotica, and I would argue that is the case here, with dominant/submissive themes in play here, with some pretty abusive scenes.   All in all, a solid entry in the series but not one of the best.

As with her other Dark Series books, this can easily be a stand-alone read, although reading the series in order is helpful for understanding the complex and layered history and relationships. 

For more information about New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan and her many books, visit her wonderful website at

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