Gwen’s review of Dark Possession (The Carpathians (Dark) Series, Book 15) by Christine Feehan
Paranormal romance hardcover published 28 Aug 07 by Berkley
I’ve started this review four times. To begin with, Feehan’s previous Dark novel, Dark Celebration (finally released in paperback 25 Sep 07), was such a disappointment that I didn’t want to read this one. I bought it almost as soon as it came out – of course, it’s a sickness much akin to the one I have with the Dark-Hunter novels – but I left it on the TBR shelf(s) forever. I finally cracked it open this weekend.
I liked this book. It’s not as good as her older books (loved Dark Gold, re-released last April and has one of the scariest vampires ever), but still quite good. The characters are engaging and the plot was skimpy but had nice resolutions. The sensual scenes were characteristically well-choreographed and oh-so-steamy (I had to stop reading the book while my kid was in the room – I was embarrassing myself – NO – not THAT way, pervs).
However, I think Possession suffered from the malaise I first saw in Dark Celebration – it had a whole lot of nuthin’ goin’ on. Lots and lots of paragraphs of repetitive character introspection with very little action. There were very few conversations between the characters that wasn’t endless personal diagnosis. The book’s action took place over only about two days (Celebration was one night, I think). Yawn inducing. You can’t spend 368 pages on such a narrow window of time (no flash-backs) and not start examining navel lint – not with really only 2 characters, plus a couple of peripherally involved secondaries. I think there’s a Natural Law about that somewhere.
Plus, it feels like Feehan has been spending too much time researching Carpathians and the language. Possession is peppered with words that have impossible pronunciations for non-Eastern Europeans. That’s a big thing for me in a book. If I can’t imagine what the characters are saying, how they sound when they say them, it pulls me out of the story. This goes for authors who have characters with ambiguously spelled names (does “Aimee” sound like “Amy” or “Ehmay,” for example – not a name used in this book, by the way). At least tell us how the characters say the words so when we read them, we can “hear” them in our heads. Didn’t happen and there was a lot of that going on in this book. These impossible words kept ripping me out of the story, not helping me get deeper into it, which was undoubtedly Feehan’s intent using the “authentic” language.
The other bone I have to pick is the hero’s name. Now, I know it’s up to the author to pick these things and I’m not one to complain (though I am still giggling over Harry Pye), but c’mon. At least make it a name that a macho, confident, uber-powerful Carpathian male would deign to use. “Manolito” is a name given to small boys named Manuel, or a cute nickname an older Manuel would allow only his female relatives to use, or his brothers when they were giving him shit. To have EVERYONE in a character’s life use the diminutive “Manolito” every time they refer to, or talk to, the guy was just not even in the realm of “gonna happen.” Trust me. It’s a shame that all that research didn’t include that little twist of Latin American culture.
This book will be interesting to Feehan fans, or Dark Series fans. I don’t think it will be terribly interesting to someone new to the author or new to the series. However, I can so totally recommend Books 1-13. You will not regret reading them – serious steam and really creepy villains and tremendously fun plots with great HEAs.
Manolito De La Cruz knew he was dangerously close to turning into a vampire. The last thing he expected after being called back to his Carpathian homeland by Prince Mikhail was to catch the scent of his destined lifemate in MaryAnn Delaney. MaryAnn is human, but she knows all too well the overwhelmingly aggressive instincts of Carpathian males. And they’re not exactly the kind of men she’d prefer to be bound to for life.
A dedicated counselor for battered women, MaryAnn has a fulfilling life with no room for someone like Manolito, born and bred in the Carpathian Mountains, a law unto himself. But when MaryAnn agrees to go to South America to offer guidance to a brutalized young woman, she’s oblivious of the trap that awaits her in the sweltering thick of the jungle. She has been lured there by Manolito himself, who has seductive plans for the unaware, irresistibly human female.
Once there, she will be his. Once his, she will never be released. He is her lover, her predator, her lifemate. She is his dark possession…
Read an excerpt.