Dark Predator (Carpathian #22)
by Christine Feehan | Piatkus Books (Sept 2011)
Paperback, 372 pages | Paranormal Romance
If you have read any of my reviews of Christine Feehan’s novels before, you will know that I tend to have quite a love/hate relationship with them. Unfortunately Dark Predator falls into the latter category. I disliked it so much, that after 22 books into the series, I may finally be done with the Carpathian series!
Our hero of the story is Zacarius, who following on from Dark Peril I was really looking forward to learning more about. He’s one of the oldest and most powerful of the Carpathians, and at the beginning of the novel sits to await his death as the sun rises unable to fight the darkness any longer.
Inevitably he is rescued by the woman destined to save his soul and be his lifemate. We also met Marguarita in Dark Peril, when she had her throat ripped out by a vampire, which means she can no longer speak.
Cue a great set up for a novel. A dark and tortured hero, and a recovering victim from a violent attack who needs a man to care of her and help her with her recovery. Sadly, this book completely fails to deliver.
My biggest problem was Zacarius. Marguarita was ok as a lead character, but I loathed Zacarius. I found him overbearing, rude and violent. There were some lines in this novel where my jaw would just drop, perplexed that they were even written, let alone viewed as romantic or sexy.
I did not enjoy Zacarius and Marguarita’s story, in fact at times I felt as though it borderlined abusive. Zacarius literally threw Margarita across the room a couple of times when his emotions got too much for him. I don’t personally think that is acceptable in any relationship.
Shocked, he shoved her away from him [...] The adrenaline and absolute refutation of the memory – of the emotions – put far more strength in him than he intended, and Marguarita went flying, stumbling back away from him to land several feet in a small heap on the floor. She looked up at him with resignation, making no attempt to stand.
This scene was early on in the book and was not the first to make me feel uncomfortable.
Zacarius is obsessed with Marguarita obeying him. The book opens with a scene with him punishing her for saving his life, as he believed he should have been left to die. Quite frankly I found the scene awful, especially his resolute desire to terrify her when she is already recovering from a vicious vampire attack.
He wanted obedience from her, not stark, raw fear. Well… He’d wanted her to be afraid – to learn her lesson. Fear was simply a tool to him, one he wielded easily.
Just how you want the love of your life to treat you? Zacarius also seemed to mentally dominate Marguarita in a way that seemed to slowly erode her identity.
Takes this example of Marguartita’s choice of clothing and Zacarius’s reaction:
“I prefer feminine clothing. You are to please me in all you do. So dressing in skirts is naturally preferable to men’s clothing.”
And Marguarita’s response?
“I suppose I will have to get used to you occasionally getting your way. Men’s pants are more practical for riding, although a divided skirt would work.”
I don’t think there was a time when Zacarius did not get his own way. There were so many times I wanted Marguarita to stand up for herself, but overall she just seemed to take it, believing she could save Zacarius. But saving him, seemed to equal her acquiescing and submitting to his domineering requests.
Were there any good parts to this novel? Yes, the opening scene when Marguarita rescues Zacarius (before he’s awake), really did hook me in. Then there’s the grand finale. It’s shocking, but it is a real page turner. I had found myself starting to skim read pages by this stage, but the story sucked me back in and I began to read with more interest. But even then the violence towards Marguarita and another female character by the villains is pretty horrendous. I don’t mind a good fight scene, I like gritty urban fantasy, but they both just felt like battered victims.
I thought Zacarius had so much potential, but there did not seem to be much ‘romance’ to this novel.
This novel does not in any way display a positive approach to relationships. If a friend of mine was in a relationship like this, I would tell her to get the hell out. I loved the earlier books in this series, tortured men needing women who are the other halves of their souls to survive. Dark Predator is not romantic, is not sexy and it is not cool. Sorry Ms. Feehan, but your novel has so missed the mark.
I feel sad that this series has deteriorated so far. A part of me really wants to read Dimitri and Skylar’s story, so I may try that book, but otherwise I think the Carpathians and I may need to part ways. This book read more like the start of an abusive relationship than a romance.
If you’re thinking about picking this book up, my advice would be to skip it.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Dark Prince
- Dark Desire
- Dark Gold
- Dark Magic
- Dark Challenge
- Dark Fire
- Dark Dream
- Dark Legend
- Dark Guardian
- Dark Symphony
- Dark Descent
- Dark Melody
- Dark Destiny
- Dark Hunger
- Dark Secret
- Dark Demon
- Dark Celebration
- Dark Possession
- Dark Curse
- Dark Slayer
- Dark Peril
- Dark Predator
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