Christine Feehan's Dark Series revolves around a group called Carpathians. Carpathians are what most would think of as vampires: they drink blood, they have hypnotic abilities they use to persuade humans to do what they will, and they live much longer than humans do. However, Feehan adds her own touch to the vampire genre with the idea of the Carpathians because while they act vampiric, she distinguishes the two species through the idea of the lifemate. As she has one of the characters explain in Dark Magic, "All vampires were Carpathians at one time. The vampire is the male of our race who has chosen the madness of false power over the rules of our people. When a Carpathian exists too long without a lifemate, he loses all emotion." In Feehan's novels, vampires are evil and Carpathians are incredibly sexy, mainly because of this lifemate concept. It's hard to argue that a powerful male being physically, mentally, and psychically drawn to a female who he is devoted to for life isn't appealing.
Feehan's leading romantic man in Dark Magic is Gregori, the Dark One. You can't fail in a romance story with a character who is described as "dark". Gregori is a Carpathian and an ancient one at that. He's the most powerful Carpathian male, and his lifemate from her birth is a female Carpathian named Savannah Dubrinski, daughter of the Prince of the Carpathians. Both characters are, of course, incredibly good looking and sexy, because, let's face it, who wants to read about unattractive people stumbling about in the love department.
Gregori is the gold standard in romantic heroes. He's incredibly handsome, powerful, and sexy, in addition to possessive, domineering, and mystical. Now many women in these modern times would rage against these traits as undesirable, and for those women I say, avoid this book. Gregori is not the kind of character who is going to eventually give in to the female and become a lapdog. He is willing to make changes in his ways to make Savannah happy, but he never bends to her will. He's old school: he adores his woman and protects her with his life, but there is no doubt who wears the pants in that family. She fights him in the beginning because she is a typical modern female, but Feehan kindly doesn't have her female lead do annoying and ridiculous things in a feeble attempt to deny what she feels. So many romance writers make their female leads do things that continually make life more difficult for the hero, but Savannah doesn't and this makes her as likable as Gregori. Savannah doesn't become a lapdog either. Feehan writes a story that describes an evolving relationship between these two characters that is as mature as it is sexy.
The sex is incredible between these two characters. Feehan knows how to describe a sex scene between a strong man and his woman. There are no cringeworthy descriptions of body parts as her rosy part or his turgid manhood, thankfully. The sex is very much like the romantic hero--powerful, mystical, and dark at times.
The story isn't bad either. The main story of the book, besides the romance between Gregori and Savannah, is the idea that vampires are dangerous to humans and Carpathians alike, and the action revolves around this theme. The story begins in San Francisco and moves to New Orleans, where it takes on a wonderful Cajun flavor (no dialect, just great locations and scenery). As with all romance novels, Dark Magic has melodramatic moments and occasionally painful dialogue (Feehan insists on including the word lifemate in what seems like every response Savannah makes to Gregori, which is a bit of overkill), but what makes this a good romance is the romantic hero. Other leading men, even those in Feehan's other novels in the Dark Series, would have made this book unreadable because of their youthful bluster and machismo. Gregori makes this book because as a romantic hero, the character doesn't rely on being cocksure and full of testosterone but exudes a strength that only comes from age, which is incredibly sexy.
"Dark Magic"......From Moira's Point of View.
Of the Feehan novels in her Carpathian series, this is my favorite to date. The Carpathians, for those new to the series, are a race with supernatural powers. They do drink blood, but do not kill their victims. Carpathian males may wait thousand(s) of years searching for their lifemates. Once a lifemate has been located the Carpathian sees in color, experiences emotions, and must claim his lifemate to be freed from the lure of vampirism. In Feehan's world, vampires are Carpathian males who could not endure the encroaching darkness/loneliness and succumb to not only drinking blood, but draining the life from their victims. This is considered evil amongst the Carpathians.
That history told, I'm not always impressed with the lifemate theme. I mean sure....I guess it prevents the idea that prince charming will stray toward another female (or even another species in this series)! Ha! It can be wonderful to think of one of these powerful, masculine, mysterious demi-gods declaring his overwhelming compulsion to claim his mate physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but it also just takes the guesswork/woo-ing work out of the equation. I don't like to know from page 1 that hero A must needs mate with/claim heroine B.
All complaining aside, I very much enjoyed this book. The heroine, Savannah, had a great backstory. Her magical background fit nicely into her occupation. Being a Carpathian, Savannah spares us all the trauma drama of resisting/rejecting her life under a domineering Carpathian male with supernatural powers and supreme arrogance. But, enough about her and the story........let's get to Gregori.....mmmmm.
Gregori, The Dark One, is to date my favorite hero. Confident, arrogant, and able to take care of business (all kinds) is the alpha male at best. An added bonus for me personally is his name...that eastern European vibe just gives this reader the tingles. He just does it for me...well done Feehan.