Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: Dark Slayer

Title: Dark Slayer
Author: Christine Feehan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Dark series/Book 20
Published: September 2009

From the author's website ~

A rumor has persisted in the vampire world of a dark slayer—a woman—who travels with a wolf pack and who destroys any vampire who crosses her path. Mysterious, elusive and seemingly impossible to kill, she is the one hunter who strikes terror into the hearts of the undead.

She is Ivory Malinov. Her only brethren, the wolves. Long ago betrayed by her people, abandoned by her family, and cast out by everyone she held dear, Ivory has lived a century without companionship or love. She has sustained her sanity by the habit of the hunt and the custom of the feeding. Until the night she picks up the scent of a man, her unexpected salvation. Her lifemate. The curse of all Carpathian women.

He is Razvan. Branded a criminal, detested and feared, he is a dragonseeker borne of one of the greatest Carpathian lineages, only to be raised as its most despised—and captive—enemy. Fleeing from his lifetime of imprisonment, Razvan now seeks the dawn to end his terrible existence. Instead he has found his deliverance in the Dark Slayer.

In spirit, in flesh and blood, in love, and in war, Ivory and Razvan are made for each other. For as long as they dare to live.

Wow - book 20 and I'm still reading this series. It's hardcover so it has become a library read. Which is good since the anticipation has been waning. I'm planning to continue with the series because there are a few characters that I do look forward to reading their stories but I'm okay with waiting to get it from the library. I haven't liked all the books, some favorites and some I could have done without. Feehan's world does have the sometimes dreaded "destined mates" cliché but if the h/h get to know each other and the author makes me believe they belong together then it works for me. This time around, not so much.

Ivory Malinov has suffered horrendously. She was thought dead and has kept to herself, away from other Carpathians for all these centuries. She has only her wolf pack as her family and seeks only to kill the vampires. She's not what I would consider a typical Feehan heroine. She doesn't need a male to save her from the vampires, she's someone the vampires fear. She is extremely self-reliant and wants no contact with anyone. That all changes when she finds her lifemate and he's near death. The last thing she wants is a lifemate but she feels she has no choice and takes care of him until he is healthy.

Razvan is not a warrior like the other Carpathian males. He has been used by the dark mage Xavier for centuries, ever since he was a child. Used for acts of such deprivation and horror that now that Razvan has escaped he only wants to be left to die. When he realizes that his lifemate has saved him he feels such despair that she will see what a despicable creature he has become. Razvan, for me, just didn't work. I get why he was so depressed and had no hope left. This guy was forced to commit such heinousness acts against innocent people, even his own daughter, that it's surprising he hasn't gone insane. But at some point it gets to be overkill when a character continues to languish over his past. I just plain got tired of hearing about it. Maybe I'm becoming use to the tortured character and their even more tortured past that it's become blasé. Been there, done that, now get over yourself. Whatever the reason I didn't feel much for Razvan.

The pairing of Ivory and Razvan on the surface made sense. She is a warrior and he is a strategist. They share the same burning desire to destroy Xavier and do join forces to finally defeat him. But I never felt that click that you get when you begin to think of the h/h as a couple rather than separate. For me they were together because they were lifemates. Period. I had such high hopes for Ivory since she is more like the male Carpathian heroes than the female heroines of past books. And while I liked her I couldn't see her with Razvan. I think my main problem was with him. If she had been paired with someone else it might have worked for me. *shrugs*

Something I feel needs a mention is the Carpathian language. It's intricate and detailed and at times very boring. It tends to pull me out of the moment. I have to stop, read it, then read the translation. Which is annoying because it takes about five Carpathian words for one English word. Then I have to get back into the story. Ugh! I do think the chants and songs are pretty but should be used sparingly. The book contains two appendices, over 30 pages, with various chants and information about the language. It's obvious much thought, research and time has gone into the language and while I find it interesting it tends to pull me out of of the story. I do however love the lineage charts at the beginning of the book that gives all the family and lifemate connections. It's very helpful when there are so many characters in the series.

One odd thing about Dark Slayer was a secondary character that I really enjoyed in this book. What makes it odd is that I didn't like him in his own book. Gregori Daratrazanoff is the primary healer of the Carpathian people and is also responsible for the safety of Prince Mikhail. A responsibility he takes very seriously. He's arrogant, bossy and overbearing. A man who thinks he knows it all. He got on my nerves in his own book Dark Magic and I didn't like him with his heroine, didn't feel like they belonged together. But in Dark Slayer he actually seemed human and approachable. He really showed his feelings in this one and I found myself looking forward to when he was on the page. It was very odd. LOL

In the end the pairing of Ivory and Razvan just didn't work for me. I was bored by them and their story seem to drag when it was just the two of them. I much preferred when they were interacting with the other Carpathians. By the end of their story I was ready to move on to the next book. The plot did resolve some of the continuing issues that have been plaguing the Carpathian women. A number of previous characters turn up and I did enjoy seeing them again. We did get to see more of Skyler and a glimpse of her and Dimitri, many fans are impatiently waiting for their book but my guess is that it will be a few years.

The next book in the series is titled Dark Peril. No synopsis or excerpt yet. Christine Feehan's extensive back list and information on all her series can be found on her website.

Rating: C+


  1. Book 20... Wow. I'm always in awe when series reach such a high number. I've never read this series though and yeah, not planning to :D I enjoyed your review though! :D

  2. Thanks nath! LOL - yeah, I'm surprised I'm still reading it. I think Kenyon's series will go the way of this one - still reading but reading it for parts rather than the whole, if that makes sense. :)

  3. Leslie - LOL, I can't believe you are still reading this series. I gave up after about book 10 or 11... I can't remember.

    It is so funny that you mention Gregori. I really liked his character and was looking forward to his book. But when he finally got his book, I didn't like it at all. I completely agree that their relationship didn't seem to fit.

    I should go back and revisit this series at some point. I wouldn't mind reading Dark Celebration. Too funny!

  4. LOL @ Jill - I know, it's a sickness... And Gregori started to become a bit more likable fo me in Dark Celebration. :)