I’ve only read a few of these books, ones that I bought a few years ago, and lately I’ve been re-reading most of what is in my library so I decided to pick these up and rummage through them as well. What surprised me the most is that, other than some vague details, I barely remembered the books at all!!! It was like I was reading them for the first time, which made it a little bit more fun for me.
They are, despite some great world-building, essentially romance novels and I do admit I was sort of disappointed to realize how big a role sex played in the books, but I was reminded of why I bought more than just the first book when I began reading about the world Feehan created for the series.
Overall, the books seem to fit really well into the current trends in that they are essentially paranormal romance involving vampires, but Feehan does add a unique twist to the vampire myths to suit the stories a little better. The main male characters are all Carpathians – recognizable as vampires, but as it turns out actual vampires do exist as a subset of Carpathians who have gone bad. The Carpathians aren’t soulless vampires like Dracula, but rather a race that stems from the Earth in a sort of elemental way and who have powers relating to that origin. The trouble is that Carpathian males are essentially predators, and after the first two hundred or so years of life they lose the ability to feel, to see colors, and therefore morality, and continuation of life, begins to depend on strength of will. As one can imagine, after a certain number of centuries existing in an emotional void the mind can start to get a little bent. Salvation comes in the form of a lifemate – a Carpathian woman who is the light to their darkness – ying and yang, sort of. Colors and emotions return, and she acts as a balance for his emotions and mental state. In return, she gets something most human women would love to have: a mate who is totally devoted to her happiness, her safety, and her well-being.
The trouble arises in that lifemates don’t always find each other right away, and the race is dying out. Very few Carpathian women have been born in the past several centuries, which leaves males in a void without much hope of recovery. For the men, some emotions can be regained for a short time through an act of violence – killing while drinking a human’s blood, for example, and so some males choose to turn vampire rather than enduring until they find a lifemate. Partly because of the hopelessness of their situations, partly because it’s been so long since they’ve felt anything, and also because the acts of evil give them a bloated sense of power.
To protect humans, and the earth, from those who have gone vampire the Carpathian males who haven’t turned are often forced to hunt down and execute their former friends and family to stop the killing and corruption. The books focus on these hunters finding their lifemates – through psychically talented human women who can become Carpathians.
Naturally, this leads to conflict with the vampires since they would like the women for themselves or to use the women to destroy those who hunt them. And, there is conflict with the new couple because human women are not exactly in tune with the idea of being so wholly devoted to a man, and the men are a little behind the times, too. Intentions are good on both sides, but there are a few kinks to work out in explaining Carpathian ways of life – which include drinking blood, and healing by being buried in the soil – to the women.
It’s not exactly heavy reading, but it’s got some adventure and some romance so they can be pretty fun reads (though if you’re like me you might end up skipping the stupid sex scenes). I may see if I can pick up the next book in the series the next time I head to the bookstores.
Filed under: Series on April 18th, 2012