Dark Destiny by Christine Feehan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dark Destiny has a very tormented heroine. She takes the Carpathian books in a different direction where we see the heroine needing the hero more in some ways than he needs her. There is a mutuality to their relationship, without any doubt. His finding her has kept Nicolae from turning into a vampire. And reaching out to Destiny, saved her. Poor Destiny fell into a vampire's trap as a very young girl, and was forced to watch him murder her parents and many others. Not only that, she was made to drink his tainted blood and violated. Nicolae allowed her to share his mind, and taught her how to kill the vampires, which allowed her to destroy the vampire who had enslaved her, and to get free.
Since then, Destiny has been on the run. She doesn't trust easily and doesn't seek companionship from others, but somehow becomes emotionally attached to the people in the neighborhood she watches over from vampires, particularly MaryAnn Delaney, whose life she saves.
When this book begins, she is evading the beautiful voice in her head, that she has heard for many years, since she was enslaved by the vampire. Although this voice has helped her through some truly horrible moments, she can't allow herself to believe in its goodness, because of falling for the lure that the vampire who destroyed her family set.
Nicolae has followed his lifemate from place to place, doing everything he can to help her, yet trying to keep his distance, knowing her issues with intimacy. But things soon come to a head, and he makes himself known to her in person.
From there, this story unfolds slightly different from the other Carpathian books. Nicolae is a very patient, gentle suitor. He doesn't rush Destiny or force her into their relationship, although he does make it clear that she is his Destiny and his future. Things are complicated, because Destiny is tainted by the vampire. She doesn't know that the Carpathians are not evil and are not vampires. Her whole existence has been hunting and killing vampires, using her ability to sense them because of the shared blood of the vampire who enslaved her. She believes she is wholly evil and cannot be a suitable mate for Nicolae. Nicolae has to convince her that she is wrong, but also get her healing for the vampire blood that damages her body and causes her terrible agony.
It goes without saying that I enjoyed this book. It has a lot of the things that make Feehan's Carpathian books what they are. But it also has some new elements that make it different to read. I like the mix of magic and science, how the tainted blood of the vampire turns out to have a malignant infective lifeform in it that destroys the host from the inside out. I love seeing the battle scenes and the healing moments. There is wonderful humor in these books. Destiny is a real smart aleck and says some outrageous things to Nicolae that he never lets get to him. He's very wry in his humor, and Virkinoff, his older brother, is the type to say what he thinks and let the cards fall where they may. So I had many moments when I was laughing to myself as I read this book.
I think Ms. Feehan really has an appreciation and a touch for showing human relations. She shows the good and the bad about people, and how they come together to form families that have nothing to do with blood. Such is the group of people in the neighborhood that Destiny has ending up adopting. It was hard to see how there were good people who were doing bad things to each other, and no one was sure why. And this ties into the fact that there are monsters in the world that are of the very human variety.
I had to take time to write a review, because I didn't want to say the same things I've said with the other books. I hope that I did a good job talking about this book as a separate entity from the other Carpathian books, because each one is different. I can see how some readers might get bored with the series, but I haven't. I look forward to reading each one, to continue exploring this very interesting and different vampire world.
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