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If you like your vampires to lean towards the more gushy
romantic side than Barlow and co., chances are you’ll be a fan of Christine
Feehan’s wildly popular Carpathian (Dark) series. In recent years, vampires
have taken a turn from the frightening undead of old and morphed into romantic
heroes with nothing on their mind except finding the one woman who will tame
their blood-crazed hearts. And Feehan’s DARK PRINCE: Author’s Cut: Special
Edition (William Morrow) certainly falls into the latter category.
In 1999, author Feehan began her “Dark” series by
introducing us to a world in which an ancient race separate from humans exists.
Not yet vampires, the Carpathians are from a remote region of Romania and have
lived for centuries undiscovered. Unforgivably handsome and powerful, they do
not turn into the bloodthirsty vampires of legend unless they are unable to
find their so-called “lifemate”—a woman with special psychic tendencies who is
more likely to be able to carry their mates’ babies. If these males exist for
too long without said women, they change into violent creatures with nothing on
their mind except the destruction of both Carpathians and humans alike.
With the powers oft thought to be exclusive to vampires,
Feehan’s race of dashing rogues have the ability to read minds, shape-shift and
use the power of suggestion to get pretty much anything they want. They also
drink blood exclusively to survive, and in that respect are really no different
than vampires, truth be told.
Feehan’s first Carpathian story, DARK PRINCE, was recently
rereleased in a special “Author’s Cut” with additional story edited in, and it
tells the tale of Mikhail Dubrinsky. Mikhail is the leader of the Carpathians
and has been bogged down with worry over the near-extinction of his kind. A
baby hasn’t been born in several centuries, and many of the older males of the
race are close to turning vampire. When Mikhail meets the stunning Raven
Whitney quite by accident, he realizes that she’s his destined partner. But
Raven isn’t interested in giving up the life she has to mate with Mikhail.
Of course, it takes some convincing and some serious,
mind-altering sex before Raven succumbs to Mikhail’s charms. But as is always
the case, someone wants to make sure the two lovers don’t live happily ever
after. And there is the added problem that Raven is human. Women who are human
aren’t easily converted to Carpathian, and there’s a chance of her death or
destruction by becoming a crazed vampire herself.
Feehan was one of the first authors to bring heroic vampires
into the spotlight, and it is with this novel that she cut her teeth. Mikhail
is a typical bombastic hero, spouting ridiculous romantic fodder that women
can’t seem to get enough of. If you like your man to call you “little one” all
the time, and if said man has a voice like “black velvet” and simply cannot
live without you, you’re all set.
One must give Feehan a pass here, as it is the first in the
long-winded (20 novels) series, but quite honestly there are an awful lot of
velvet sheaths and too many whispering winds for my liking. While the story
remains entertaining throughout, I’m much more of a J.R. Ward fan myself, and
can’t imagine sitting through 20 books of women who can’t seem to live without
their men, and men who claim to revere everything about their lifemate yet use
their power to “suggest” they fall in love with them.
Having not read the original version novel, I can’t claim to
enjoy it any more with the added content, but I’m sure fans of Feehan’s will be
excited to read more about the unclaimed women, velvet-voiced heroes and the
mystical realm of the Carpathians.
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