Thursday, March 5, 2009

Book Review: Dark Challenge by Christine Feehan (Carpathian/Dark Series)

Your Book Rating: 

Dark Challenge, the fifth installment of Christine Feehan's Carpathian/Dark series, was a novel with a decent storyline, less than satisfactory flow, and too many distractions. Hence, my rating of a 3.5 Pink Hearts.


Julian Savage was a Carpathian male who was tainted by a vampire at a young age, forcing him to live a solitary life away from his kind and his twin for centuries. The time has come for him to greet the dawn and end his bleak existence, but not before he performs one last task for his Prince, to protect the singer, Desari, targeted by human "Vampire Hunters." But the instant he heard her beautiful voice, he knew he had found his true lifemate.

Desari was a singer with a mesmerizing voice and a talent unmatched by any others. An ancient Carpathian female herself, she traveled for centuries with her family unit of her brother, a couple other Carpathian males, and another Carpathian female, and for centuries she thought they were the only survivors of their kind. Meeting the solitary Carpathian, Julian Savage, she found herself helplessly drawn to him, but now, she must find a balance between being with her lifemate and staying with her family.

What I liked:

Of all the Carpathian/Dark series novels up to this particular book, this story was the only one that deeply explored the changes within a Carpathian male when they finally found their emotions again upon finding their lifemate. In the previous novels, the heroes seemed to have adjusted to their newfound emotions quite easily, which didn't make too much sense to me. However, Julian's story was full of mistakes made due to his new distractions of emotions, and they way he coped with it. I genuinely felt that this book did a great job in tapping deep into the difficulty of the transition for the hero, which made it all the more realistic and believable.

What I didn't like:

While the storyline was decent, Christine Feehan failed to make it flow properly. There were so many sex scenes in this book that made the flow awkward. It was almost as if she was using those scenes to make it so that she could reach the proper word count for her publisher or something. For example, there would be a fight between Julian and the ancient vampire, and then when the vampire retreats because dawn was coming, you would naturally want to know the results of the next battle ASAP. But then, there will be a sex scene right there. And I'd be like, "what???"

And what was worse, was that no matter what the situation was, Desari would always tempt Julian to have sex with her. I mean, it doesn't matter if they were within hearing range of her family, out in the open where it could be dangerous, or when Julian should rest and prepare for a battle. All she wanted was sex, sex and sex. It was almost as if she was a nymphomania. And she didn't even think it's wrong to distract her lifemate when it meant that she could put both of them in danger... that was rather selfish of her, I think.

Another thing about this story was that there was a little too much focus on Desari's brother, Darius. It was almost as if he was the hero of the book rather than Julian. I'm not quite sure about other readers, but when I'm reading a romance novel, I'd like to stay focused on the hero and heroine. I might fall in love with another character, but I would never want him to distract me too much from the main hero of the story.


Unfortunately, Dark Challenge by Christine Feehan, had the potential to be a much better paranormal romance novel than it really was. The storyline was good, but, unfortunately, delivered rather poorly. If the number of sex scenes could have been cut in half, and not occur in the middle of a suspense buildup, it would have been a much much better book.

Read my reviews of the other novels in the Carpathian/Dark series by Christine Feehan


  1. I read this because I liked the other Carpathian books, and while I did enjoy this, agree with most of your review. Not to put down sex scenes at all, but they did seem a little oddly placed in this book. And I agree, let's focus on the hero/heroine, and not her brother. However, not a bad read and it definitely provided some much-needed explanation of the lifemate process.

  2. Hi Jessie, thanks for the post. I'm so glad that you thought the the sex scenes were oddly placed too. Didn't want to be the only one thinking that way. But yes, I definitely liked how we were able to get some insight on the process, which we didn't from the previous books.