Reviewed by JenAlas, I may be coming to the end of my time with the Carpathian series. For so long, it has been my guilty pleasure. After all, you can't get all that white lightning, feminine sheaths or velvet over steel just anywhere. In these books, you are guaranteed to find the most alpha of the alpha-males and the most flowery euphemisms for sex, along with a familiar and predictable tone that's like slipping on an old pair of shoes that you've had forever.
Unfortunately, I think these shoes are getting too old to remain comfortable. The last book in the series was a tough read, because the hero was an enormous asshat to his heroine. He was downright mean to her at times --and who wants to read that? Here, Feehan takes us in the complete opposite direction, with a hero who is simply too good to be true. But I'll get to that in a minute.
Let me set up the story. Riley is a descendant of a Carpathian woman named Arabejila. Every five years, Riley and her mother venture to a volcano in the Andes to perform a ritual began by Arabejila centuries ago. Riley has grown up hearing stories about her ancestor locking a great evil inside. Of course, she thinks it's all an old legend. But the stories are true. Arabejila trapped her lifemate Mitro because he has become vampire and she thought nothing else would hold him.
Mitro isn't inside the volcano alone. An ancient hunter named Dax is in there with him. The two are so evenly matched that neither has managed to kill the other in all this time. But Arabejila's bloodline has started growing weak and Mitro is about to break out. Using his powerful influence, he lays trap after trap for Riley's mother before she can strengthen his bindings and eventually, both he and Dax are freed.
Riley gets a crash course on Carpathians and vampires as she learns her own power of an affinity with the earth. She and Dax are lifemates, so they must work together to vanquish Mitro before his great, evil plans are realized.
There's a dragon involved. A fertility flower. Gary Jansen. Jubal (remember Joie's brother from Dark Descent?) A De La Cruz and his lifemate... but no big ties to our core Carpathian families. Unless you count Mitro. He is a Daratrazanoff, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how he is related to Gregori, Lucan or Gabriel. Which bothered me greatly.
Also bothering me greatly... it takes forever for the hero and the heroine to so much as lay eyes on each other. The first half of the book was painfully slow. Frankly, the book was boring. As angry as the last book made me at times, with this one, it was an effort to just keep turning the page. The relationship had no conflict. Dax is too perfect. Patient. Strong. Caring. Sensual. Blah, blah, blah. And Riley loves him right away. No fear. No lies. No hesitation. No fire.
I kept waiting to care, but I never did. The relationship was too easy. The external conflict was exactly the same as in every other Carpathian book. The only emotion I was left with was annoyance that I squandered $12.99 for the ebook. If you're on the fence about this one, I advise you to pass... or if you absolutely must read it, rent it from the library.
Velvet count: 10
Click to purchase: Amazon
Dark Stormby Christine FeehanRelease Date: October 2, 2012Publisher: Berkley