An author’s cut special edition of Christine Feehan’s first novel in the Carpathian vampire series, Dark Prince, has recently hit bookshelves. When I received a copy for review, I was looking forward to the opportunity to read it. I had been familiar with the name of #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan, but I hadn’t to date read any of her many books. I was eager to see how her fantasy world stacked up against some of the other bestselling authors in the vampire genre, such as Kim Harrison, Stephenie Meyer, and Guillermo del Toro.
The story opens with Mikhail Dubrinsky, Prince of the Carpathians, contemplating suicide after centuries of leading a life without love. He is intercepted by a human, Raven Whitney, who has used her psychic abilities to help police hunt serial killers. Raven soon discovers that she may not only serve as Mikhail’s salvation and soul mate, but perhaps the key to the salvation of the entire Carpathian race.
“I have found it to be so, he agreed. He realized he was holding his breath, needing the contact. A human. Who gave a damn? Something–no, someone–had penetrated the depths of his pain and interested him enough to respond. Who could speak telepathically other than one of his own kind? The puzzle made no sense, but it mattered little to him. He was interested. Caught. Intrigued.”
Christine Feehan was one of the first to hit the vampire fiction scene and helped to pave the path for others to follow. Her interpretation of vampires included both the sensual and romantic version, which she refers to as Carpathians (similar to those made recently popular by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series), as well as the classic horror version of the vampire as evil predator (such as those written about in Guillermo del Toro’s recent Strain trilogy). I appreciated the contrast of two distinctly different sets of vampires pitted against each other in a centuries old war. The Carpathian society that Feehan created behaved by a consistent set of rules that allowed for the story and characters to be easily accepted by the reader, as the layers of the story unfolded. I found myself drawn to several of the support characters introduced in this book, such as Gregori, Jacques, Byron, and Aidan, and I will likely continue to read other books in the series that focus more on them.
What I had a difficult time with was the copious amount of sex scenes throughout the novel. The action sequences were gripping, and the characters were intriguing. However, the main couple seemed to fall into bed about every thirty pages. Admittedly though, Feehan does have a knack for writing sexy vampires. For those of you who enjoy spicy vampire love scenes, this is certainly the series for you!
What sets this book apart from the first published version of Dark Prince is the additional 100+ pages that the author had originally intended as part of the story. Frankly, since I didn’t read the original version, I can’t compare how much this added to the overall experience of reading the book. I did find a few descriptions to be repetitive, and I imagine this was a result of adding material that had been edited differently in the original book. For fans of Christine Feehan, you may wish to read this author’s cut to get a better feel for how she intended the series to begin. For those of you new to Christine Feehan’s work, this is a good place to start.