Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan
Every now and then, I encounter the truth behind one of the traditional idioms. In this case, I’m thinking of, “curiosity killed the cat”. To explain: working for SFBRs is a real pleasure. Every two or three weeks, the crew sends me a list of books from which to choose what to read next. I pick out authors that I know and like, together with a liberal number of anything that looks vaguely interesting. For Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan (Berkley, 2013), the feature swinging the interestometer was the fact this is the twenty-fourth in her Carpathians series. Yes, I know. The ideal is to start with volume 1 and work through as many as you can tolerate. But if you are going to jump into a series, you might as well do it with something that’s apparently selling as strongly today as it was when the first book hit the shelves way back when.
So here I am with absolutely no idea what to expect reading the first page and my hackles are rising. It seems this is one of these romance-tinged vampire/werewolf series in which the good fight the bad specimens on each side of the species divide (or when things get confused, the species mix up and produce more powerful versions of the source creature). So the first sign of trouble comes with the sheer inexplicability of what’s happening. Our heroine is Tatijana Dragonseeker and she’s currently underground, buried somewhere near her sister Branislava. It turns out this is a good thing. They have been trapped in ice for centuries. Now released, they are sleeping this minor inconvenience off by soaking in the goodness of the soil. In this half-dreaming state, the sisters have a telepathic link. They have been keeping each other company (and sane) for all these years by exchanging thoughts. At this time in their recovery cycle, Tatijana is the more alert and she decides to go visit with the locals. This involves tunnelling. She comes out close to the kind of inn low-lifes like and, guess what, propping up the bar is Fenris Dalka. A few pages later, the pair have decided they are soul mates. Because a fight is looming with some renegade werewolves who just happen to be rampaging in the neighbourhood, they put off the moment of bonding to each other for life so they can kill a few of these importunate toothy ones. Fortunately, Fenris has a brother who flies in to help and a “man” from the inn also proves to be one of the “good guys” so they do pretty well in the slaying business. This is not to say they emerge unscathed but with Fenris patching up his brother and Tatijana working her magic on the helpful one, they are soon back up to strength.
At this point, I revised my original estimate that this is a romance-tinged story. That usually means the male and female circle round each other for the book or series, and never commit. This pair have full emotional contact at the first more intimate glance (with telepathic overtones) and never look back. It’s just a case of waiting for them to say the words and get started making new Cathpathians, Lycans or mixtures depending on what you think the attributes of this pair happen to be. Well, I got as far as Fenris being outed as one of the abomination mixtures, but her family saying, “Well, you know, that’s not so bad today as it used to be.” so they decide not to kill him. Which is kind of convenient because it means the lifemating can go ahead and let no man (or any other beastie) put asunder (or something). So that leaves them free to fight together against the evil pack and their bad mix leader. Except I decide life’s just too short to attempt reading something like this, so I carefully placed it in the “read” box and picked up the next. Yes Dark Lycan is the first unfinished book of the year.
A copy of this book was sent to me for review.