Dark Storm (Dark #23)
by Christine Feehan
Return to the seductive world of Christine Feehan's New York Times bestselling Carpathian novels as roiling passions collide in a perfect storm of dangerous desire that only a precious few can hope to outrun . . .
Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries. But there are some things that never change.
His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man - and beast. Even his friends and family weren't safe from Mitro's bloodlust. Neither was Mitro's lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts. But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun - one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.
Honestly, after reading the other reviews for this book I was set up to think I would hate it. But I loved it.
The last few stories in this series have been thoroughly disappointing, following almost the same cookie cutter story line. Matings were happening too quickly, the vampires were not as scary as they used to be, and the plots were becoming a bit tired overall.
This story however gave some great lead up, with both characters growing and learning about themselves before they meet and discover their connection. Granted the first 100 pages or so are slow when you think about just the romance aspect, but they are by no means boring or staid.
Riley is returning to the rainforest with her ailing mother, traveling back to the volcano where the women in her family have for generations had to perform a ritual to keep a great evil trapped in the volcano. Though she is skeptical about both the ritual and the reason that she has to be there, she knows that her mother feels they must get there and Riley will do all in her power to get her mom there in time. As the evil begins to seep into the world, Riley and her mother have to deal with attacks from the animals around them—including their fellow travelers. There are some very intense moments for Riley and her companions, including a few heartrending scenes and gruesome deaths. When riley finally arrives at the volcano, with a few familiar faces in tow, her power begins to bubble up and she finds her core of inner strength and is able to prevent a disaster. Unfortunately, she has to make a terrible choice and inadvertently releases the vampire back into the world.
As both the vampire and his jailer escape the volcano, they encounter Riley and her friends battling to make it back to safety from the volcano. Dax is forced to let the vampire escape so he can protect Riley and her friends, but the moment he meets her he knows he’s found his lifemate. Unable to force Riley to run to safety, Dax keeps her close to him and agrees that working together to track and kill Mitro is their only option. While tracking and battling Mitro at every turn, Dax and Riley discover the love and fulfillment of being lifemates and are able to work together to accomplish amazing magic.
As always with Christine Feehan, Dark Storm is full of beautiful imagery and detail. You get so caught up in the world she builds, that as Riley and Dax move through the Amazon, you feel like you are walking right there beside them. The love between Dax and Riley is rich and full of heat. Their passion just leaps off the pages (clichéd I know, but it really does) and reminds you why you originally began reading the Carpathian novels back in the very beginning.
I loved all the little plot twists to both the overall storyline of the Carpathians and Dax and Reilly’s individual story.
This book has renewed my faith in this series and I can't wait for more.