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Dear Author

REVIEW: Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan

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+

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

REVIEW: Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks

REVIEW: Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks

Dear Ms. Wilks:

042522552601lzzzzzzzI fell for Lily Yu and Rule Turner in Tempting Danger and despite the many twists and turns that the series took, I haven’t lost my affection for them. When I first read the series, I thought it was going to be a supernatural Eve/Roarke-ish type series where Lily Yu, a former detective and now part of the FBI Magical Crimes Divison, plays the female crime fighting part of the coupling and Rule Turner, heir to the largest and most powerful werewolf clans, played the Roarke part.    This is not to say that Lily and Rule are anything like Eve and Roarke, only that it would be an ongoing series featuring the two of them solving magical crimes. To some extent this is what the stories are about, but since Tempting Danger the books have focused heavily on building the world rather than solving crimes.

The magical setting in which Lily and Rule inhabit has gone from understandable to complex. Every book provides us with one more new aspect to the World of the Lupi but even the series name “World of the Lupi” is deceiving.       It has extended beyond the idea of Lupi and sorcery that were presented in the first book but has expanded to include nearly every possible myth and legend from werewolves to dragons; from sorcery to gnomes.    The Lupi are but a tiny part of the overall magic of the cosmos.   

Mortal Sins is ambitious and not a book for a newcomer to the series.   I’ve read all the books and I still had trouble remembering many details that provide basis for some of the events in Mortal Sins.   Lily and Rule are in Hal, North Carolina, wherein Rule is becoming familiar with being the heir to the Leidolf clan, once the powerful rival of Rule’s clan, Nikolai.   Rule is also trying to wrap up the details surrounding his son, Toby’s, legal custody; severing Toby’s absentee mother’s claims and bringing Toby with him to the Nikolai clan.

Because of the mate bond between Rule and Lily which requires them to be within a certain distance of each other, Lily is conveniently located to investigate a number of murders that smell of death magic.   Someone, or something, is attaching itself to people and causing them to enact gruesome murders.   The murder mystery is a strong part of the book with tiny hints of the cause and solution dribbled along for the reader to recognize and appreciate when the mystery is solved.   

The problem is that a new magic is inserted into the story (despite death magic being a part of past stories) and it was so detailed and so complicated that it made my eyes glaze over. By the third re-read of some pages, I gave up in the middle of the book trying to actually comprehend the new magic and what the characters were talking about. In the end, it appeared that I didn’t need to pay attention because what it came down to was fairly simple.

The emotional arc between Lily and Rule and the inter Lupi politics is such a rich area to mine that I feel sad when the story divurges from those core themes. It’s distracting and serves to confuse the reader. In fact, there is a great moment in the story that affects Lily and Rule’s mate bond that could have been plumbed for so much effect but it is resolved in a matter of pages. It seemed like a lost opportunity.

I haven’t given up on Lily and Rule.   While it took an effort to finish the book, there were definite rewards.   I’ll pick up the next book, but I’ll be girding my loins for another mysterious magic that I doubt I’ll grasp well until the end. C

Best regards

Jane

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.