I luv the Carpathians.
I never read series in order! I read this bk#2 in the Dark series after
I read Dark Magic (in my undisciplined haste to get to Gregori's bk).
The thing is when meeting Jacque, in Dark Prince, I didn't pay him any attention. He was just important b/c he was a Dubrinsky. No telling idiosyncrasies, no apparent Wooh-ha factor.
Yet, this book, Jacque's story, started very well. Jacque dueled w/ betrayal, loss, psychosis and obsession, and I still
didn't get hot for Jacque, but I started to care for him.
So, now I am rereading to clarify what exactly made this Dark book work 4 me. I suspect, I was pulled by the heroine Shea O'Hallaran (her unique genetics), the growing human-vampire threat to the Carpathians, and the Carpathian world suffering myth-busters and complexities.
At times, in this series(23 books), some stories get tediously bogged down with lifemate chants(which are cool!!)--and spells-- and slow-building suspense. Though some awesome fights are highlighted, I'd waited almost all series for the evil mage to appear resonantly.
Thankfully, there are more enjoyed books than tolerated ones, thank goodness. I re-read the Dark books all the time.