Friday, March 4, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Blood by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Blood by Christine Feehan

At long last you are truly back with us...

Zev Hunter was an elite warrior, a dark-blood dealer of death to rogue Lycans who preyed on mankind.  He was a loner, never given to personal attachments, and damned fierce at his job.  But Zev begins to question his past and his purpose when he awakens in the darkness of the sacred cave of warriors--and is soothed back to consciousness by the sensuously familiar voice of one woman, the woman who has haunted his fantasies for centuries.  She was Branislava, member of the Dragonseeker clan...

Mother Earch called the ancients to witness your rebirth...

For this half-mage, half-Carpathian temptress, the ritual of awakening Zev to the council of warriors was the only way to save him.  Locked away for his own protection, the time has now come for his rebirth, for his blood to stir with that of the ancient warriors before him.  He has been assured by Branislava that their fates are entwined, that their spirits are woven together for eternity and that his new purpose in life is beyond imagining.

Now, with a blood-sworn vow of honor, mercy and endurance, and under the influence of a siren as bewitching as Branislava, Zev begins to wonder what his purpose is, what it means for the future of the Carpathians and what it is about his rebirth that he has to fear...

Over the course of the last couple of books (Dark Lycan and Dark Wolf), Christine Feehan has built Zev up to be primo hero material--he is a highly skilled fighter and protecter, open-minded in a society that often isn't, and is fiercely loyal to those he chooses to serve, and even more so to those he calls friends.  He was among the first Lycans to realize that mixed bloods were not necessarily evil and should not be sentenced to immediate death.  He has developed a friendship with Dimitri and Fen that is more like a brotherhood than anything else.  When Zev is mortally wounded, Branislava, a woman he has only met on a few occasions, but whom he feels an immediate and deep connection to, ties their spirits together to keep him from slipping away from them.  Bronnie knows that Zev is too honorable to take her spirit with him if there is any way that he can prevent it.

When Zev finds himself awakened in the sacred cave of the warriors, he knows everything in his life has changed in a huge way.  Lycans and Carpathians are on the brink of war and someone, or something, is pulling the strings to orchestrate just such an event.  When it is discovered that Zev is the last of the Dark Bloods, one of the most powerful Carpathian lineages, thought to be lost centuries ago, it is just the edge the Carpathians need to maybe turn the tides of war aside and salvage not only their future but that of the Lycans they wish to call allies.

This book is action packed and a LOT goes on that affects the futures of both Lycans and Carpathians alike.  Zev is just as amazing a character as all of the lead up to this book led me to hope for.  I was worried going in that no woman could be his match falling short.  After finishing the book, I feel that Christine Feehan came really close to giving Zev the woman he deserves.  Branislava is great and I really liked her, her abilities, her fears, her growth over the course of the book and her determination to always assure Zev of her love and support. I just felt that there were too many occasions when she needed just a little too much help from Zev that made it feel that they were never truly equals.  She always seemed just a tiny bit...weak or needy.  It bugged me that Zev didn't have someone strong enough to support him more when he needed it.  

This book, like Dark Wolf, not only further developed the Lycan society and their increasingly complex relationship with the Carpathians but also continued digging into the world of the Mages which have been in the background of several books over the course of the series.  One development in particular was fairly jaw-dropping and puts the security of the Carpathians futures once more at real risk.  However, throughout it all, the focus remains rather tightly on Zev and Branislava's developing relationship among and amidst many truly horrifying battles with an enemy/enemies of truly horrific abilities and plans.  This book more than some others reminds us that not everyone is guaranteed a happy ending and that this truly is a war as evidenced by the losses on both sides of the struggle.  

Unlike the last two books, this title did not spend part of its time setting us up for the next hero/heroine's story, but rather tied up a few story lines while leaving several others dangling to be picked up in future installments.  As I was reading, particularly in the beginning, I felt as if I were missing a few things about another character so I will have to do some investigating to see where his story occurred so that I can get caught up on it...That is a minor quibble however, as I enjoyed this book immensely.  

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