Alas, I must confess something that has been weighing down my heart: this series is cheese. Pure unadulterated cheese. Nonetheless, it's the most addictive cheese you will ever read. Don't ask me to explain it, I'm afraid I cannot. I simply must toil forward consuming book after book in this wretched, god-forsaken series of cheese.

Ok, so that was a bit over dramatic. The honest to goodness truth is that this series is so bad it's good. There are so many things to hate about it, roll your eyes at, and otherwise groan about yet somehow you HAVE to read "just one more". The funny thing is that a lot of what makes the books bad also make them good, mainly the heroes, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

To Re-cap:
The DARK series is about the Carpathians, a long living race with many superpowers, for lack of a better word. They can shape-shift, they can read minds, they can stop their breathing and blood flow, etc. In fact, they can do so many things you sometimes wonder what else, besides walking in the sun, they can't do. Although all these goodies should make near immortal existence wicked fun you know there's always a catch with all these powers and, in their case, it's a pretty horrible fine-print. After they turn 200 or so the males lose all ability to see in color and all their emotions. The only way to restore light to their otherwise dark world is to find their lifemates. Unfortunately, there is only one lifemate per every male and, if you don't find her, you are pretty much guaranteed to go mad. The male will give into the power of the darkness eating away at his soul since that is the only other way to feel even if it's only pure evil feelings. In plain words, the Carpathian will turn vampire and, you know what they say, once you turn bad you never go back.

Moving on, most of the males we encounter in the series have been around longer than 400 years, a few close to or over 2000, so you know how pretty damn desperate and hopeless their lives have become. More than a few are already bordering near madness and are certain they will have to face death soon or they will turn and this is where most of the stories usually begin. The concept sounds really promising and you are probably wondering what could go wrong. Wonder no more my dear friend as I will let you know exactly what's good and what's bad.

The Men:
For starters, the Carpathian males are your typical alpha male and then some. A lot more some. Of course the author gives you a seemingly good excuse. Before they are even born the males are ingrained with the knowledge that they must protect the women at all cost. This is especially important since, at the time the series begins in Dark Prince, there hasn't been a female born in over 500 years. That means the race is dying out and the males are turning vampire in desperation. Carpathian leader Mikhail and Gregori, pretty much his right hand man, have figured out that a human female can be lifemates provided they have strong psychic abilities. Easier said than done since, surprisingly enough, psychic human women are pretty hard to come by. Someone should have told them to call the Psychic Hotline. Plenty of women there.

Anyways, while I totally understand their predicament, it simply gets VERY tiresome when, book after book, you encounter the same scenario. The males meet their lifemate, mostly the psychic humans, and then they spend most of the book trying to tell them what to do and when to do it. More than a few times the women are asking for it since, independent and intelligent as they claim to be, they keep running right into trouble every third page. However, more often than not, it's about when to sleep or when to feed or when to blah, blah, blah.

Yes, I did keep in mind they are doing it because the women refuse to take care of themselves, although why anyone would refuse to eat or sleep is beyond my comprehension, but it gets tiresome after the 10th book. Ok, it gets tiresome afte the 1st book since they do this every other page but you get the point. What keeps you from gagging is that, at least, the men try to be as gentle and sweet as their Carpathian-ness will let them be, and that gets them bonus points in my book.

Besides that one tiny flaw, or humongous depending how you look at it, the males are pretty cool. They have a fierce loyalty to their race and that's what keeps most of them going even after centuries alone and an uncertain future. They live to hunt the ones that turned to protect humans and Carpathians alike. They are also very loyal friends even with their inability to feel any emotions and they will give their life in the blink of an eye for one another.

The Women:
Sad to say, most of the women become some of the more childish, whiny creatures the literary world has ever seen. I kid you not. Most start out great but somewhere along the middle of the book you can't help but feel they've swtiched heroines on you. These women are supposed to be intelligent and independent yet, god only knows why, they keep making some of the dumbest decisions ever. Even after they know their lives are in danger they still refuse to take care of themselves and insist in putting their necks out there for all to see, namely the blood sucking vamps. You'd think they have more common sense but apparently not and this is when you start rooting for the males when they insist on telling them what's best for them.

The Lifemate Issue:
This is probably the part that makes me cringe the most. While the idea of the one-and-only may sound very romantic in most cases, it feels weird to me why these people get together. Obviously the men know right away when they've found their lifemate since they can see colors again and they get their emotions back. However, I can't help but wonder if they really fall in love with the women or if it's just the knowledge that she has to be it because there won't be any other (since they only get one lifemate ever). Throughout the books you get the same argument over and over and over and over again and they go something like this:

"Don't leave me because I can't live without you. I will turn"

"Lifemates' bond is so incredible that, if one dies, the other goes mad with grief and dies as well"

"If you don't care for yourself you will die and I will die after you"

"You are my lifemate, the light to my dark. I can't exist without you."

"I can never cheat or lie or abuse you in any way because you are my lifemate. My only goal in life is your happiness and if you aren't happy then we die."

I seriously kid you not. This happens in every book and you can imagine that, in a series over 10 books long and still going, this can get pretty annoying pretty fast. You can't help but wonder if this borderline obsession, on both sides mind you, is the sole reason why they are together. Given the choice of being with whomever they wanted would they pick the same person? Or is it that they are forced by their meaningless existence, as well as the chemical reaction that takes place when lifemates see each other, to love the one person who brought light into their world? The one good thing is that, for some odd reason, you do get the feeling the protagonists love each other. Feehan manage sto show the reader that the couple do care for one another and that's one thing that keeps you reading, granted after you've rolled your eyes for the 1000th time after hearing what I like to call the "lifemate excuse". Kind of like the Twinky Defense.

The Plot:
This is another one of those things that bother you about the series. Aside from changing characters and maybe locations, you feel you are reading the same book. Right down to the sex scenes. Can't help but wonder if all the males took the same sex-ed class. It pretty much goes something like this:

Carpathian male is bordering madness
Carpathian male gets call/sign/vision of lifemate
Male saves or helps female
Female is inexplicable attracted yet fearful of male
Nevertheless they have sex
She fears his possesivenes will curb her independence
She gets in trouble defying his commands/running away
He saves her ass
They have sex
She complains again how his possesivenes will ruin her independance
Bad guy nearly kills her, she losses way too much blood for her own good
Male saves her life by finally turning her Carpathian
She realizes they can't live without each other
They have sex

That's pretty much the bulk of the stories. Before you gag, as I have done many times, I have to say that it's the characters and the backstory that keep this interesting. They somehow, someway do manage to show that they care for each other and that you should keep on reading even if you feel the need to groan here and there or skip a few paragraphs.

The Characters/Book breakdown:
The very fist book I read was the second book in the series Dark Desire which was Jacques story. While I found Jacques to be a very interesting and excruciatingly tortured (literally) hero, I was immediatly drawn to the Carpathian Prince Mikhail and the "Dark One" that they all most fear Gregori, the healer. Don't get me wrong, Jacques was a very interesting character but the other two, especially Gregori, threatened to steal the thunder in his own book.

The following is a breakdown of the books in order. The ones in red are the must read because they have the best and most important characters and the ones in green are the ones to read after the red ones if you are interested in more of the books as they are on some of the secondary characters that have been in the Dark series since the beginning.

1.Dark Prince - Mikhail Dubrinksy's story.
He is the leader of the Carpathians. Very much the strong-silent-type if there ever was one. His lifemate is the human Raven and she is the heroine I loved the most.

2.Dark Desire - Jacques Dubrinsky's story
Mikhail's younger brother who nearly becomes a beast after being tortured for seven years right after Dark Prince took place. His lifemate is a half Carpathian-half human named Shea.

3.Dark Gold - Aidan Savage's story
One of the "Golden Twins" who have inmense power and where taught be Gregori. His lifemate is Alexandria, a human turned vampiress turned Carpathian by Aidan.

4.Dark Magic - Gregori Daratrazanoff's story
Gregori is coolness personified. From the time he came in the picture (for me) in Dark Desire I hoped he had his own story. This guy is uber cool. He is so damn cool he is unshakeable and that makes you want to see him "shaken" even more. Consider him the Derek Craven of the Carpathian world. There is no one more powerful or dark and mysterious than him, not even Mikhail, and all the Carpathians admire yet fear him. His lifemate is Savanah.

5.Dark Challenge - Julian Savage's story
Julian is Aidan's twin. He has had a pretty horrible life due to the way he was forced to take vampire blood. His lifemate is Desari Daratrazanoff, long lost sister to Gregori and the first full Carpathian woman we meet. Should be interesting with all the Daratrazanoff brothers as in-laws. LOL.

6.Dark Fire - Darius Daratrazanoff's story
Ok, anyone related to Gregori has GOT to be cool and since he was the leader of the "lost" Carpathians he is sort of a combo of Mikhail and Gregori. How cool is that. His lifemate is Tempest.

7.Dark Legend - Gabriel Daratrazanoff's story
I thought it couldn't get any more wicked than Gregori but the "legendary Dark Twins" come pretty darn close. In fact, if I hadn't read about Gregori so much first, I would have probably loved these twins more. At least 2000 years old (older than Mikhail and Gregori) the twins are the stuff legends are made of, well Carpathian legends. No Carpathian alive had seen them until their stories come out as they had been "sleeping" far away and nobody knew where. Oh, I should mention, the Dark Twins are Gregori's brothers as well. I told you this family oozes cool. His lifemate is Francesca

8.Dark Guardian - Lucian Daratrazanoff's story
The other half of the "Dark Twins". Read above and you'll see why this is worth reading. Plus add to that the fact that, up to now, he was supposed to have turned vampire. Gregori's family is not dissapointing.

9.Dark Symphony - Bryon Justicano's story
Finally poor desperate Byron get's his own story! He's been around since the very first book as he is Jacques' best friend. I realy liked him in the first two books an hoped he would get his own.

This is where all the old characters end and more or less new ones begin. I refer to "old" as characters you either find or hear mentioned in the first couple of books that belong to the 3 main and oldest families: Dubrinksy, Daratrazanoff or Savage. Bryon is included in "old" because he has been around since the first book and is Jacque's best friend. From here on out the focus is shifted to the Troubadores, etc.

10.Dark Melody - Dayan's story
Second in command of the Dark Troubadours that were lead by Darius Dartrazanoff. His lifemate is Corrinne.

11.Dark Destiny - Nicolae Von Shrieder's story
Long ago before the first book in the series started he was sent out by Mikhail's dad, then the Carpathian Prince, on a mission. His lifemate is Destiny, a woman who has been seriously abused and tortured and whom Nicholae hopes Mikhail can help.

12.Dark Secret - Rafael De la Cruz's story
He belongs to a family (basically just him and his four brothers) who have lived in South America most of their lives. He hunts vampires with his brothers. His lifemate is Colby.

13.Dark Demon - Vikirnoff Von Shrieder's story and the last DARK book published so far
Brother of Nicolae. His lifemate is vampire hunter Natalya.

Something to note about this last book is that a lot of fans of the original characters where extremely dissapointed in this one. Most expressed that the books were shifting more towards the supernatural/sci-fi and action and away from the romance and the Carpathian's way that you found throughout the first books. In effect it does seem like the "old" and "new" books are two different yet somewhat related series. Mikhail and Gregori do appear in the book as the battle is brought home to the Carpathians setting the stage for the next special reunion book.

The next book is DarkCelebration: A Carpathian Reunion due out September 2006. This book is a tribute of sorts to fans who keep wanting to see more of the original characters/families and this promises to be, well, a reunion. It's, as stated by the author on her site, a "special gift" hardcover limited edition book.

The Dark series have also had offshoots of sorts in anthology books. They are as follows:

Dark Dream - part of the After Twilight anthology - the story of Carpathian Falcon and his lifemate Sara.

Dark Descent - part of the One and Only anthology - the story of Traian Trigovise and his lifemate Joie.

Dark Hunger - part of the Hot Blooded anthology - the story of Riordan de la Cruz and his lifemate Juliette.

The Verdict:
As I explained at the beginning of this review, this series has a lot of bad but I think the first 9 books that center on the oldest, most important families and characters are worth reading. The concept is interesting and the books manage to stay just this side of pure crap.

I started out wanting to just read the stories of the first four main heroes, namely Mikhail, Gregori, Jacques and Byron but after a while I decided that anyone related to Gregori was too cool to pass up, even his apprentices, plus they had been around since the beginning and they had grown on you.

Read them, try not to give them too much thought or make sense of them and you will enjoy it like we all enjoy a great summer popcorn flick.

The series as a whole gets a 3 out of 5 if only for some of the cool characters and interesting back story.


This review is absolutely on point, in all respects. Slightly addicting, very cheesy. INTERESTING TO NOTE: I read these after I read Stephanie Meyers' Twilight and New Moon, which I really liked. Now I think that S. Meyers must have gotten a hold of these books as some phrases were almost exact quotes. Both books use these words in multiplicity: "smoldering," "velvet,"feral quality." The immortal characters are described in both series as "god-like," "angels" "animal like." It was just page after page of small phrases that were exactly the same. Then when I read "Dark Melody" I almost threw the book across the room when I saw the name "Cullen." That has to be impossible. Surely someone else has noticed this.

I agree as well. After reading one book, you can pretty much imagine the plots of the rest of the series. Just throw in the different characters. To me the Dark series is addictive not only because of the characters *cough* Gregori and family *cough*, but also because of the uniqueness of the Carpathian race. Rather than just using regular vampires for her story, Feehan took a few attributes from regular vampires and created a whole new species with it. That's probably the first thing that attracted me to the Dark series in the first place.

I agree with the person who posted about twilight - and half the dark series books came out YEARS before twilight... so, that was really sad.
as for the review - i completely agree! 100%!!

Yes!!!!! I thought the same thing about twilight!!! And also think each book has same story line but thats who they are and I still enjoy every book just like the first one I read!!! Ready for the next one!!!

first of all i just want to say that i love the dark series and second off i do not agree with yall about the twilight dark series came first for startes and just cause they have the same name doesnt mean a thing if some new show comes on and the main characters name is bella are you not gonna watch it cause you think they caopied twilight? and this is just my opinion but if dark series became movies it would definatly be better than twilight.

This is a good franchise for the author but for the reader it gets very repetitive. She uses the same stock phrases over and over eg: "You couldn't fight your way out of a paperback right now." I wish I had a dollar for how many times I heard that one!
It's never gonna happen but I wish she would hand the idea over to someone else for a reboot like J.J. Abrams in Star Trek.
I recently bought the latest leopard one (I live in Australia) and it cost $19.99 - outrageous rip off but we're used to that here in Australia - everyone thinks we have too much money. I can't even buy it as an e-book as it is blocked for my region - no prizes for guessing why! She's going to have to do better for that kind of money.

I do not agree with this review at all this series is way better than Twilight series could ever hope to be. The plot does change with each book getting more exciting with each character that you meet. As far as the sex scenes go there not repetitive at all but change and get better with each book.

I agree with this review 100%. The plot is almost always the same and I am disappointed that seemingly independent and intelligent women devolve into the epitome of the pail frail female who needs to be saved by some big strong man. However, I do adore the books because when I want some fluff to read I know what to expect. Plus, reading a book in the series is like eating a potato chip, you can't have just one.

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.



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