3.5 stars, but this was the one that started it all!
When Mikhail Dubrinsky and Raven Whitney meet, it all seems so quick, so inconsequential...so unwarranted.
I mean, they meet in each other's head! From that, we know Raven is psychic and she reaches out to dark & troubled souls even though it takes a huge toll on her....even though she is supposed to be recuperating from having helped find criminals.
On the flip side, Mikhail is reaching an end. His mental state is in despair because he's had endless darkness and evil. He's contemplating "seeking the dawn" even though he is the Prince of his people.
When Raven stumbles upon Mikhail's mental state, she offers him some advice, and that's IT. Then Mikhail drags her "kicking and screaming" into his world, as Raven often likes to jest later on in the story and in the series.
Mikhail is autocratic, ruthless and suffocating. Poor Raven tries to fight her attraction, tries to exert her will, tries not to be so submissive, BUT in doing all of this, she makes some TSTL mistakes and decisions. I wasn't too annoyed with Raven as I should have been; MAYBE it was because she is a heroine who shows extreme compassion and she really had to overcome a whole lot.
Mikhail, on the other hand, was an asshole. Plain and simple. This is something I would find true for the majority of the Carpathian males in this long series. LOL, but I loved Mikhail and the most
of the rest, anyway. Christine Feehan's crafted descriptions and themes of the Carpathian cultures help invoke my love for all things Carpathian because her world puts a twist of the typical vampire myth.
Carpathians are a proud people from the Carpathian mountains in Romania. Their language and culture have survived centuries by the safe keeping of a few, as well as the determination of many who will (as the series progresses) come out of hiding. Furthermore, there are other supernaturals at play in this world where Carpathians are portrayed as its police. All of this background isn't included in this first book, but there is enough to make the reader want to continue the series.
I think of Carpathians as "the good vampires" though by rule a Carpathian doesn't turn vampire until he/she embraces evil. But still, they need blood as their only sustenance.
I could go on...because Feehan has definitely created a paranormal world which is rich in rules & mystery. Her prose is very eloquent at times, while it can be superfluous and tedious at certain moments. Yet, she pulls you in. For example, even if Raven or Mikhail don't win you over(maybe because one or the other character isn't fully developed
), you will be intrigued by other characters and plots. One character who is a definite show stealer is Gregori Daratrazanoff, The Dark One. Enough said.