Dark Possession is the 18th book in Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series. The description of the book intrigued me, from the highly intelligent race of predators with deeply protective instincts, to the whole concept of the life-mate, let alone the Brazilian jungle setting and shape-shifting jaguar men. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met…instead of a fantastic read, I ended up with a slighly better than average one.
Manuel “Manolito” De La Cruz, a strong, sexy, and handsome Carpathian male, is getting closer and closer to becoming a vampire, which is not a good thing in his world. After several hundred years of existence, Carpathians begin to lose their ability to feel, and risk becoming vampires, who in turn feed off of people in order to restore this ability. Meeting their life-mate is the only thing that saves the Carpathian from completing this transition. This is where Mary Ann Delaney, a battered women’s counselor from Seattle, comes in. She finds herself at Manolito’s family compound in Brazil, counseling a pregnant rape survivor. She does not know it, but Manolito has marked her, and he is the reason she is there. She is his life-mate. He is drawn to her, must seek her out, and bind her to him for life. It is the only way he will survive.
Feehan creates a complex world with interesting characters, complete with their own language. Despite this, though, she quickly falls into the trap of predictability and banality. As expected, Mary Ann wants nothing to do with Manolito. She knows what he is, what he will be like to live with. She is a modern, professional woman who wants no part of his domineering, arrogant ways. Of course, Manolito is going to pursue her and make her his. And so a seduction begins in the jungle. The chase is brief and relatively uninteresting. Soon they are having mind blowing, earth shattering sex, and Mary Ann is wondering how she can live without him. Both leads are likable, but I didn’t care one way or the other about their futures, either alone, or as a couple. Because I felt no investment in their coming together, I found even the sex scenes, written with the usual heavy dose of eroticism the author is known for, merely entertaining.
Ms. Feehan adds some well-written action scenes involving the jaguar-men. And she creates an interesting twist, but it comes more than halfway into the book. To say much more would constitute a spoiler, but Mary Ann’s interaction with Manolito, and the physical effect she has on him may mean she is more than she seems, which in turn could affect their mating. This part of the book is quite original, and I certainly didn’t see it coming, but it took too long for my interest to be engaged.
If you’ve kept up with this series for this long, no doubt you’ll want to continue. Ultimately, parts of Dark Possession lived up to my expectations, but much of it didn’t, particularly at hardcover prices.