|Pub. Date:||Dec. 31, 2013|
|Length:||11 hrs 14 min|
Gregori has intrigued me since the first book of the series, Dark Prince, where he saved the life of our heroine while she was still in her mother's womb. Gregori is known as "The Dark One" among his people - supremely powerful and scary to the point that he has become a bogeyman whispered about to frighten children and vampires alike. He is one of the oldest and most powerful Carpathians and, as a male, that means he is very close to turning vampire without his lifemate. Yet despite this, and despite knowing who and where his lifemate is, he has granted her time to mature and live her life instead of just claiming her at 18 as others may have done. I dug Gregori... but I like the dark broody dangerous types. I felt like he is not appreciated by his people or his lifemate. He makes sacrifices for them all and helps out anytime he is needed, yet all he gets in return is fear and whispering behind his back.
The heroine and Gregori's lifemate is Savannah Dubrinsky, daughter to Raven and Prince Mikhail. Savannah is a modern woman, seeming not to care of the Carpathian customs. She wants her independence and naively believes that running off to America will let her have it. She really wants nothing to do with the Dark One... or does she? She doesn't really know and this leads to a lot of wishy washy hot and cold behavior on her part that drove me bonkers. I'm not a fan of heroines with these characteristics, and I couldn't respect her knowing what would happen to Gregori if he wasn't able to claim his mate. She does finally accept her fate and became much more tolerable at that point, but I'm still holding a grudge.
The relationship between these two starts off rocky and then goes thru some hot and cold spots through both sides. Savannah wants her freedom and independence, and Gregori wants to protect her from harm, even if the harm is from himself. Gregori has been riding the edge of control for a long time which leads to some rapey behavior... which surprisingly Savannah seems to brush off. This seemed to be out of character for her given her extreme aversion to the relationship in the first place. Gregori seems to hate himself enough for the both of them though, and I hated to see all his self-loathing. I couldn't even hate him for the rapey behavior because his beast was riding high because he attempted to give Savannah time to come to terms with her fate. Plus, this is fantasy people so I don't get all up in arms when vamps and shifters act more in accord with their beastly nature.
Once the relationship had solidified a bit, I loved to see Gregori's dry sense of humor come out. I also liked that he watched over Savannah in his wolf form while she was growing up... all of their early interactions seemed to showcase Gregori's tender and nurturing side. It contrasted nicely with the darkness and desperation he was feeling as he got closer to that vampiric line in the sand.
I enjoyed the time spent in Nola and the swamp, even if some of the city descriptions were off. They were good enough to past muster and, unless you live here, you aren't likely to know that you can't hear the river from Cafe Dumond. I totally loved the geeky Gary, and it seems like he may play a part in future books. His excitement and curiosity was infectious.
The narrator for this installment was so-so. I felt like he did a fine job with Gregori... although I felt like he Americanized his name too much. I had been pronouncing it Greh-gory rather than Gregory... but what do I know. The latter may have been Feehan's intent. I also felt like the French phrases and pet names were forced and didn't gel with Gregori's history and nature. They didn't quite go with the accent for his character. His affectation for Samantha suffered that problem many male narrators have... it was high-pitched and grating. And when your heroine is annoying you, that high-pitched affectation serves to highlight all her bad characteristics.
In sum, I liked the story but I was hoping for a bit more given my interest in Gregori's character from the earlier books.