Title: Dark Prince (Author's Cut)
Author: Christine Feehan
Series: Dark, #1
•Publisher: William Morrow
•Publication Date: March 8, 2011
Opening Line: He could no longer fool himself.
A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps catch some of the most depraved criminals. But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit. In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks on a vacation far from home.
Mikhail Dubrinksy is the Prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night. Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness. Until the day a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.
From the moment they meet, Raven and Dubrinksy are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love. Yet even if they survive, how can these two lovers – Carpathian and human – build a future together? And how can Dubrinksy bring Raven into his dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?
Dark Prince is centered around a species called Carpathians. The best way I can describe them is pre-vampires. They have to drink blood to survive and stay out of the sunlight, but they are not undead. Compared to humans, Carpathians have superior hearing and eyesight. Carpathians can speak to animals, control the weather, find safety and sanctuary in the earth, shapeshift into various animals and shift into a mist like form. Carpathians can also have children, go to church and wear crosses. As for how they're pre-vampires and not just vampire like, I'll get to that in a minute.
There is a price for all those amazing gifts. Carpathians are cursed with the need to find their one mate, the other half of their soul. The males can only find a lifemate with Carpathian women. Carpathian women are the light to the males darkness. The problem with that is there are no Carpathian women left to give birth to lifemates. The few remaining women left can only give birth to males, even then many of the children do not live past their first year.
The Carpathians are now a dying species. Without a lifemate the males will remain in the darkness. Over the past few centuries Carpathian men have lost the ability to see color. They literally live in a drab gray world. Around the same time they also lost their emotions. The rely solely on will, integrity and memory to keep them honorable. The temptation to kill while feeding is a present danger. If they kill while feeding, Carpathians feel "a rush" taking over their mind. That's as detailed as Feehan got, "a rush." I'm assuming it's a rush of emotions along with a jolt to the system, the equivalent of getting a shot of Adrenalin straight to the heart, and in those few moments is the only time they get to feel anything. The down side is that every time they kill they will loose a part of their soul to darkness, eventually becoming the aforementioned vampire. A foul creature, rotting from the inside out, choosing the rush of killing over their soul. Carpathians recognize it as the trading of soul, honor, and salvation for momentary pleasure and endless damnation. Since there are no more women to bring them out of the darkness the Carpathian men fear that they will eventually become vampires or decide to meet the sun, the Carpathian version of suicide. Human women cannot be converted without becoming deranged. It's a seemingly helpless situation, that is until Mikhail meets a human women , Raven Whitney. Mikhail notices that her eyes are blue and realizes that Raven could possibly be his lifemate.
I have a love-hate relationship with this book. I absolutely love the concept for Dark Prince. The Carpathian history and the fact that vampires come form a different species, it's just fantastic. What I did not like was the actual writing. Dark Prince has these weird sporadic points, not a lot, but enough that's noticeable. You'd be heading in a certain direction and the next paragraph you're taking a sharp right turn. There was no subtle shift and it did take a few seconds to figure out what happened. Dark Prince was also terribly repetitive, the same descriptions were being used over and over again. I think I even read the same conversation at four different points in the book. I love you, I don't know you, we're soul mates, I'm scared, I need you, blah, blah, blah. Most of the problems seemed to take place in the first half of the book, which is probably why some people never bothered to finish it. The second half is pretty good though.
The main characters were a little off as well. Raven Whitney was supposed to be this strong women who chased after serial killers, basically a bad ass chick. To me she came off a highly annoying in the first half of Dark Prince; trying to run away when she did not want to deal with her feelings, putting herself in danger simply because she could. I liked Raven a little more in the last half when she grew a backbone and a brain. Mikhail is your typical hot, brooding, neanderthal, alpha type. I only had a problem with him during the first few chapters. Mikhail came across as a potentially abusive person with definite stalker tendencies. Later it shifts to the whole, you're the most important person in the world to me, I need to protect you without being controlling and suffocating, I love you for who you are, type of person.
All in all it was a good book. I'm going to have faith and assume the mild annoyances and inconsistencies are because this was Christine Feehan's debut novel.
"Your American colloquialisms are very colorful, little one."
"You are a good man, Mikhail." She grinned impishly, her blue eyes teasing. "You just have too much power for your own good. But don't worry, I know this American girl. She's very disrespectful, and she'll take all that arrogant starch out of you."
"Don't you now-Raven me. That brother of yours, worm that he is, male chauvinist unequaled in modern times, told you something he didn't tell me, didn't he?"
Leaning back with studied casualness, Jacques tipped his chair to a precarious angle and raised an eyebrow. "Women have vivid imaginations. I think you have a suspicious nature due to your American upbringing."
"Intellect, Jacques, not imagination," she corrected sweetly. "My American upbringing made me incredibly intelligent, and believe me, I can spot one of your pathetic Carpathian plots to protect the helpless women from information you consider would make her fragile little delicate self unnecessarily fearful."
He grinned at her. "Carpathian males understand the fragile nature of women's nerves. Women—especially American women—just cannot take the adversity that we men can."
"I think I should have enjoyed meeting your mother. How a woman could manage to raise two domineering tyrants like you and Mikhail is beyond me."
His dark eyes laughed at her. "But we are charismatic, sexy, handsome, and always right."
Raven hooked her foot around his chair and sent him crashing to the floor. Hands on her hips, she regarded him with a superior glint. "Carpathian men are vain, dear brother-in-law," she proclaimed, "but not too bright."
Jacques glared up at her with mock ferocity. "You have a mean streak in you woman. Whatever happened to a soft, sweet, Yes, my lord, you're always right?"
"Try the Dark Ages."