Book Review

Review: Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan

DNF

Title: Dark Lycan
Author: Christine Feehan
Publication Info: Berkley September 2013
ISBN: 978-0425268339
Genre: Paranormal

Book Dark Lycan - a wolf, a full moon, and a close up of a dude with long hair glaring in the rain. So basically a paranormal romance cover. As I mentioned, I decided recently to dip my toe back into the world of paranormals. These used to be my favorite romances back in the day, but when they started flooding the market I became overwhelmed and gave up on them. I read the first three books in Christine Feehan's Carpathian series when they were first published, and while they weren't my favorite vampire romances, I did enjoy them.

I figured a good place to start my reintroduction to paranormal romance would be with Feehan's Dark Lycan, the first book in a new series set in her Carpathian world. No matter how hard I tried, though, I just couldn't get into this book.

I think my issues with this book were primarily on me, not the book itself. Dark Lycan is book number 23 in the Carpathian world. I stopped reading her at Dark Gold which was book three. That's 20 books worth of back story that I hadn't caught up on. Characters that were new to me were continually referenced or made appearances in this book. To fans of the series this was probably awesome; I personally like it when some of my favorite heroes/heroines make guest appearances in books, but since I hadn't met them yet, it didn't mean anything to me. 

The real issue I had with Dark Lycan,​ and the reason I couldn't finish the book, was that I didn't feel there was any real romantic tension. Let me explain.

The book opens with Tatijana of the Dragonseekers, an old Carpathian family, waking up beneath the earth. Tatijana and her sister, Branislava, were held captive by their father, an evil mage, for centuries. They were recently released from their prison and have gone to ground to heal. Tatijana and Branislava are two rare Carpathian females. Carpathians are basically vampires who are not evil; they drink blood, but don't kill. They need to hide from daylight, burrow into the earth to heal, and have all sorts of badass powers like turning into mist, flying, healing or shape-shifting. Tatijana has multiple powers, and she can turn into a blue dragon, which is pretty fucking cool. Because Carpathians almost never have babies and there are few Carpathian women to begin with (turns out Tatijana's mage daddy was partially responsible for the low birth rate), the sisters are extremely valuable and being guarded while they sleep and heal. After spending centuries as a prisoner, Tatijana yearns for freedom and sneaks away from her protectors.

That's where she meets Fenris Dalka. Fen is in town hunting down a pack of rogue werewolves. Just like Carpathians are good vampires, Lycans are good werewolves. Fen passes as a Carpathian, but he's really a Carpathian/Lycan hybrid called a Sange Rau. This makes him incredibly powerful as he basically has the best abilities of both creatures. Sange Rau are forbidden to both Lycans and Carpathians because of their power; Fen is convinced that if he is found out, he'll be killed.

When Fen and Tatijana meet it's love at first sight. That's more or less how Feehan's novels work. Carpathians bond for eternity to their lifemate. Lifemate is not an emergency pendant old people wear in case they fall down, but basically their soulmate. Until they meet their lifemate they can't see color or really feel emotions.

Rainbow Brite throwing a handful of rainbow stars in the air over and over.

It's pretty obvious who their lifemate is because suddenly the world goes from black and white to Rainbow Brite on ecstasy. They can also communicate with their lifemate telepathically and they share a indelible psychic bond. There are ritual words that bind lifemates together, but once they meet the show is basically over. 

This has the potential to really kill romantic tension, though. Once the heroine and hero meet, they know they are destined for each other. If I'm remembering correctly, and forgive me because it's been over a decade, Feehan previously got around this by having a male Carpathian find his lifemate in a human woman. The human woman was like “WTF you're a vampire and you're my soulmate and you have a huge wang? I don't think so, pal.”

Yes, because Carpathians have huge wangs. HUGE. Like a human woman shouldn't be able to handle all that man-meat huge. The huge wang syndrome was not addressed in this book, presumably because Tatijana is a Carpathian female and therefore has a correspondingly large vadge. Go ahead an insert your own hotdog/hallway joke here. I'll wait.

Okay? Ready?

So anyway, Fen and Tatijana meet and it's all disco Kool-Aid colors and wanty pants. Except that Tatijana has been encased in ice by her douchebag father for centuries and she's just now enjoying her freedom, and she doesn't want to be bonded to another person for life yet.

At this point I figured that we had two main conflicts happening here: 1. Tatijana doesn't want to bond to Fen yet and 2. If anyone, especially Tatijana's family, finds out what Fen is, they'll kill him.

But it didn't play out that way. 

Some stuff happens. Tatijana and Fen battle the rogue werewolves and another Sange Rau like Fen, but an evil one. The evil Sange Rau has plans to destroy the Carpathians and there's a lot of fighting and transforming into blue dragons and packing dirt into wounds to heal. No really, Carpathians mix spit and dirt and rub it on their ouchies. My mother, a nurse, would have had a heart attack reading that. 

SPOILER TIME.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the midpoint of the book there had been a lot of fights, introductions to characters I didn't know, and both main conflicts had been resolved. I mean the “will all the Carpathians be destroyed” conflict was out there yet, but the conflicts pertaining directly to the two main characters were resolved.

Fen's identity is revealed to the other Carpathians, including the prince, and no one kills him or freaks out. Tatijana decides she wants to bind herself to Fen and does it. So by the midpoint, I knew Fen wasn't going to be ostracized and/or eviscerated by Tatijana's family, and I knew that Tatijana and Fen were as a good as married. And I just didn't care after that. Yeah, there's still that fucking Sange Rau running around, messing shit up, but …but where's the angsty, unfulfilled yearning I need in a paranormal romance? Where's the risk that Fen and Tatijana might not wind up happily ever after? The ensuing battles weren't as important to me as the romance which turned out to be a subplot.

Also there was a magic sex flower meadow. Fen and Tatijana get it on in a meadow of flowers reputed to increase fertility in their people:

Tatijana, gaze locked with his, slowly took the sexy blossom [note: actual blossom here, folks, not a euphemism] and stroked her tongue along the bulbous head. Immediately her mouth watered with the addictive taste of spice and forest. Wild. Almost feral. A taste like nothing she'd ever experienced. Fen. Fenris Dalka, her lifemate. It was sex and sin and the ultimate temptation all rolled into one.

She couldn't stop herself from licking along the stigma, determined to get every drop. Clearly the taste had taken on that of her lifemate. She kept her eyes on Fen, hunger for him growing with every passing moment. 

She just gave a flower a blowjob. What the actual fuck. 

Floral fellatio aside, I think this book was really meant for fans of the series who had been around since the beginning. If I had been 22 books invested here, I'd likely have cared much more about the secondary characters and the potential death of the Carpathians. Since I was just hanging around for Fen and Tatijana, I couldn't get past the halfway mark. 


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Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    ghn says:

    When a series of books get really long, it tends to lose life and originality, and you end up with a situation where you suddenly stop reading the latest book and think, “hey, I read this same story three books ago, the main characters just have new names and another hair color.” And if it’s a supernatural book, they may have gotten a brand new critter to kill (which is really an old standby monster given a makeover)
    The dark series should long ago have died a natural death, unfortunately it keeps getting resurrected. Zombie plots don’t make for an interesting reading experience, though.

  2. 2
    Julie M. says:

    This review was wonderfully enjoyable to read! Thanks!

    You did better than I with this series. I just never could get past the first page of “Dark Gold”.

  3. 3
    JaneDrew says:

    Ummm… why is Christine Feehan trying to out-do Bella and Edward’s special meadow of paranormal sparkly specialness?

  4. 4
    Dora says:

    I have yet to be able to read a Christine Feehan book and it’s for a really stupid, shallow reason. I’ve tried a few, and it seems like all the men use pet names for all the women instantly. And I don’t mean casually calling someone babe or honey is such a big deal, I mean with every other line, within minutes of meeting, these men are cooing Baby and Angel like they’re talking to a simpleton. It just BUGS ME, and I’m not sure why. I don’t remember the last one I tried to read, but the human lady love interest was all freaking out over some vampire battle and still wanted nothing to do with the hero yet and he was just like, “It’s okay, Angel, calm down. I’ll protect you, Baby.” and to me it came across as really patronizing just because of how heavy it was.

    I think I got some remastered whatever edition of the very first Carpathian book for free on my Kindle last year though, so maybe I’ll try to give it a shot once more.

  5. 5
    Julia says:

    I read the first book in the series and couldn’t get past the stupid heroine, cardboard hero, and frequent use of “hot satin” and “hot silk” when describing bodies, voices, or movements.  Finally, I came across a sentence with hot silk, satin, AND velvet in it.  I gagged and never picked up another.  I like para normals but I have become much more discerning in my choices.  It’s like any romance (or book frankly.). I do a bit of homework on the author to see if the buzz is good.  Then I focus on the ones I find I like.  CF will never get my hot silk book-buying dollars.

  6. 6
    DarienG says:

    LOL…*snort*  you had me at “floral fellatio”.  Are we frolicking in a new genre? ‘The Glory of the Stamen’, ‘Petal Passion’, ‘Pride and Pollen’, ‘Fields of Golden Rain’, ‘Twilight of the Buds’…???

  7. 7
    Shawny J says:

    Oh geez. I read most of Christine F’s Sea Haven series, and many of the Night Hunter series, but repeated attempts to enjoy the Dark series have failed. The term Lifemate makes my skin crawl (and the idea that it’s a medical emergency tag for seniors makes me snort). I think the last one I read involved a heroine with a little brother, and a hero who basically screwed with their memories until the little brother couldn’t remember that this man was a stranger and the heroine agreed to be his mate because the little brother liked him. That is seriously messed up. As Cuba Gooding Jr. said, you do not shoplift the pootie!

  8. 8
    N says:

    She just gave a flower a blowjob.

    OMG I was having a horrible, horrible day and this sentence just made me laugh. Thank you!

    Floral fellatio

    Damn two words I never thought I would see TOGETHER!

    @Darlen – You may be onto something here, damn I can’t even be horrified by the possibility of that happening if it means we can have more reviews of this calibre on SBTB LOL

  9. 9
    Lolly says:

    Floral fucking fellatio. Sweet baby Jesus. I remember why I love this site. That’s like Twilight-level ridiculous right thar.

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