Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dark Symphony, Christine Feehan

Ok, so The Scarletti Curse was absolutely unnecessary. Let's just get that out of the way.

So, back in Dark Desire, Jacques' best friend, Byron, acted a little nuts-o. He tried to convince Mikhal that Shea couldn't be Jacques' lifemate and that Jacques had turned. Jacques, being mostly nuts and not even remembering Byron, does not take it well.

Byron feels terrible for his actions and punishes himself with a self imposed exile as a hunter. He's an artisan, not a hunter, so that's quite the punishment.

His wanderings eventually take him to Italy, where he hears a woman play the piano. Antonietta Scarletti is that woman.

This one was a little different for a couple reasons. One, we enter the story after Byron and Antonietta have met. They're actually friends. The other thing I liked was that Antonietta is blind. That added some of that depth I like to see. I've kind of thought generally that the conversion would remove any illness or handicaps someone had, but this proved it.

This was probably the story most like a mystery so far. I guess that could be said for the Scarlatti Curse too, but lets just forget that book happened.

Someone is trying to kill Antonietta and her grandfather, the Don. The book is mostly about figuring out who's involved. Antonietta doesn't want to think it could be someone in her family, but Byron can't see how it couldn't.

In the end, they're both kind of right. Antonietta's uncle was a womanizing asswipe. He had an affair with the housekeeper and she had a son. Now they're trying to get what's "rightfully theirs." The thing is, it is theirs. And the rest of the family would have embraced them had they just come to them. Instead, the housekeeper and son decide murder and theft are better.

*eye roll*

The intrigue is what keeps this book interesting. In the end Byron and Jacques make up, and Jacques is Byron's best man at his wedding. And Antonietta has her sight back, though it's taking a lot of getting used to.

However, an important revelation is that the Scarletti family married in part of the Jaguar bloodline. Now, the Jaguar people have been mentioned in other books in the series, but haven't really been important up until now. The housekeeper, her son, and Antonietta's cousin can make a full change into jaguars. Antonietta can feel the jag at times, but can't change. She also sometimes sees like one.

I have a feeling the jaguar race is going to become more important in future books.

Another tidbit is Shea talks a little about her research into why the Carpathians are going extinct, why they have trouble with kids, females in particular. I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm hoping we're starting to see an overarching plot. I have a couple theories. One is that the Carpathians are tied to nature to such an extent that the pollution and what not are impacting the race. Another thing I've thought of is that the vampires are a form of natural selection. So, ok, the males have to hold out long enough to find their lifemates. They do that by holding on to honor and duty. Maybe the vampirism is a way to keep those without a strong will out of the gene pool. Survival of the strongest, right?

I've also always questioned the idea that it's the fact these women are psychic that makes them able to convert. Wouldn't it make more sense that it's because they're lifemates to someone? Or that it's their lifemates whose blood converts them? Or just the fact that in all the other cases it was a vampire who converted and the women went nuts because the vampire blood is tainted and evil? Seems to be quite the assumption.

Anyway, it was nice to hear a bit about her research.

Also, we meet a couple of new characters I expect to see again. Dominic Dragonseeker is another ancient sent out by Mikhal's father. He helps save Byron when he's injured. He tells Byron he's looking for his sister who got involved with a mage. Said something about clearing her name, which Byron told him was unnecessary. I'm sure there'll be a story there.

Also, we meet Joseff. OMG, this kid is hilarious. He doesn't really get the whole secret race thing. He acts like he's 12. For example, he sees a Spiderman comic the Scarletti kids (who are like 8 and 10) and decides to try climbing the building like Spiderman - where the Don could see at any time. He also rapped for the Prince a few years ago. Supposedly, he's matured since then. Only, then we learn that he's actually been alive for twenty-two years! Twenty-two! He's 22! Seriously. Which brings a whole new perspective to the idea of Gregori wanting to claim Savannah when she was 18. I mean, I know girls mature faster than boys, but this is a whole new level. :) Seriously though, in Dark Magic, Savannah seems like a normal, by human standards, 23 year old. Not even close to Joseff. So, does that mean she's different because of Raven's previously human DNA? Or because Raven raised her as a human would be raised? Nature vs. Nurture. Or is it Joseff who's different? His mother keeps telling Byron to cut him some slack, but Byron and his father insist he should be more mature. I don't know, but I expect to see more of Joseff, too.

What's next though is a mystery. Feehan shut down my method for guessing the next characters. Best guess? Dominic, but I just don't know.

Which really isn't a bad thing, necessarily. With mages and jaguars, there's plenty of opportunity.

Dark Symphony, Christine Feehan

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