Thursday, June 28, 2018

ARC Review: Dark Challenge by Christine Feehan

Series:Carpathians #5
Re-Release Date:June 26, 2018
Publisher:Avon
Length:400 pgs
Source:Publisher

I have been trying to get caught up on Christine Feehan's backlist for a while now... but she is so prolific that I don't think I will ever catch up. (And that's a good thing seeing as I like her writing.) I happened to be notified about the re-release of Dark Challenge, and it coincided with where I was in the Carpathians series, so I jumped at the chance for a review copy. I have been curious about Julian for a while, and I was glad to dive into his story.

Julian is a loner, he has been on his own for a very long time. He seems to have self-isolated due to an occurrence in his past which he viewed as a failure. My heart went out to him. He is ready to greet the dawn, but couldn't turn down one last favor for Gregor... and I have to wonder if Gregor has prescience to send Julian after that particular human at that particular time. I always love Feehan's heroes, they are unapologetically alpha male and protective of their females to an obsessive degree. Julian was no exception. But although he bossed our heroine a bit, I didn't feel like it was in an overbearing or cruel way. I thought Julian's magic and relationship with animals was intriguing, and I could totally picture him as a big sleek cat. 

Desari was a unique heroine from my (limited) experience with the Carpathian series. My recollection of prior books was that the heroines were somewhat damsels in distress. But Desari is an ancient herself, with her own power and abilities, and a sassy independent streak. She kept Julian on his toes, but she wasn't overly assertive in her feminism to the extent that she put herself in dangerous situations. I liked that she remained close with her family, and I liked that they were all "found" Carpathians that were not previously on our radar. Desari is a singer, and I really liked the power she was able to wield with her voice and song.

The secondary relationship in this story that interested me was not a romance, but the mutual respect and friendship that started to emerge between Julian and Desari's brother, Darius. I was glad that they didn't remain at odds for the entire story. Darius is a dark and tragic character himself, having taking responsibility for his mismatched family from a very young age. I can't wait to get to his story, as he is very close to the edge, much like Julian.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this re-release version of the book, which was provided to me by the publisher, Avon.


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