Review of DARK DESTINY by Christine Feehan (see her website)
Leisure, July 2004
Destiny lives in pain. Infected with vampire blood when she was a child, she knows she is evil--even as she hunts vampires. What was once a voice in her head, her salvation, turns out to be a Carpathian ancient--Nicolae. The Carpatians are also vampire hunters, but they run a horrible risk. If they cannot find their life-mates in time, they must either face the dawn (dying) or turn vampire themselves. And ancient vampires are the most dangerous. Destiny knows she cannot be Nicolae's life-mate. Her infected blood means they could never really share their blood, their strengths. Still, Nicolae insists, and a Carpathian male can be very convincing--and chauvinistic, of course.
Destiny's issues are brought to a head by an unheard-of alliance among the vampires. An ancient vampire, Pater, attempts to persuade Destiny to join him and other vampires in their plan to take over the earth. If the Carpathian hunters could be eliminated, little would stand in the way of the vampires. Oddly, the neighborhood that Destiny lives in seems full of both vampires and psychic humans--a rich hunting area. Although Destiny, aided by Nicolae, resists, she knows her infected blood continues to call out to the vampires. They'll be able to hunt her down.
In a sub-plot, several of the residents of Destiny's neighborhood lose control of themselves, attacking their spouses, stealing from the church, and otherwise engaging in violent acts that seem completely out of character for them. Destiny investigates but can find no trace of a vampire influence. What other influence could be at work?
Author Christine Feehan (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Feehan) combines a high level of sensuality with anti-vampire action--an attractive combination. For me, DARK DESTINY was weakend by too many pages of Destiny obsessing about her tainted blood--without really making progress in either the relationship or in the battle against the vampires. Destiny was stuck, certain that she was destined to become evil, convinced she'd drag Nicolae down with her if he couldn't move on, but stuck characters don't make the best protagonists as they lack strong story goals. The destruction of the vampire cabal could have been such a story goal, but Feehan chose to play down this element of the plot.
Feehan's strong writing, the highly sensual relationship developing between Nicolae and Destiny, and the intriguing world-building definitely make DARK DESTINY worth reading. The lack of a clear story goal keep it from being quite the tour de force it should have been.
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