Dear Ms. Feehan:
I haven’t read one of your books for some time despite being an earlier devotee of your pioneering Carpathian series. The blurb for Dark Slayer sounded fascinating and the cover was quite evocative. Ivory Malinov is the vampire boogie man (or woman as the case may be). There is not a vampire alive that has not heard that there is a slayer who travels with a wolf pack and is impossible to kill.
Ivory was sent to Xavier’s school to train but was given to Draven, another madman who wanted her as his lifemate. When she would not bend to the madman’s demands, she was cut into tiny pieces and thrown out to die. Her will to live and exact revenge was too powerful to be denied and her body knit itself back together, piece by tiny piece; and she arose, strong, dangerous and full of bloodlust. She hunts with a physical pack of wolves and her own pack that is born of her body.
After one bloody kill, she finds a man near her hideout. He is nearly a corpse. Immediately she recognizes that he is her lifemate. Ivory is a true Carpathian and through her blood has tremendous power but also this weakness – to be tied to one person her entire immortal life.
Razvan and Ivory discovery that not only have they been fated to be together but they share a common enemy: Xavier. If you can think of a cruel, inhuman action, Xavier has done it ten times. Perhaps his worst crime has been against Razvan whom Xavier controls against Razvan’s will. Razvan has been made to kill and torture his relatives, betray those closest to him. He has, apparently, been the scourge of the Carpathians, inflicting all sorts of cruelty upon them.
Not having read a number of books preceding this, I had not realized that Razvan played the villain in many books. I think my response to Razvan would have been different but given that the only signs of evil are the memories, I simply viewed Razvan as a victim, something akin to a rape victim, repeatedly abused.
The conflict focuses mainly on Razvan and Ivory’s quest to take down Xavier. There is little conflict between the two of them as their mating is predestined. Ivory easily accepts that Razvan has been a victim of Xavier. After all, she experienced first hand Xavier’s madness.
Part of the problem that I had with Dark Slayer is that it seemed that much of the worldbuilding relied on the reader’s knowledge of previous Carpathian books. My own memory of these books is slight. It seemed convenient that Mikhail could enter the mind of Ivory and Razvan to determine their “goodness” (oh if only it were that easy!). It seemed like a story that wrapped up several plot lines and set the stage for a new era of the Carpathians (perhaps trying to connect to your other series?).
I thought some of the most poignant moments were Ivory’s encounters with her brothers who had protected her, trained her, betrayed her, and now fight her. Razvan had his own demons to put to rest including coming to grips with the people he had hurt and dealing with their forgiveness.
While I did believe that Razvan and Ivory belonged together, the story lacked a connection for me. I wonder how different I would feel had I followed the entire series. I’m giving this a plus grade, though, because Ivory is such a strong female character who maintains her persona throughout the entire book. C+