Romance Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal, December 2006 Page One of Two
Dark Celebration by Christine FeehanBerkley, September, 2006
Hardcover, 372 pages
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Written as a thank you to her many fans, Dark Celebration brings together all of the Carpathian couples and their human friends from past books and puts them in the Carpathian mountains in Romania for a Christmas celebration. But the celebration is overshadowed by the sorrow that overwhelms their people: they are having fewer and fewer children and those that are born sometimes don't live to adulthood. Mikhail Dubrinsky, the prince of the Carpathians, works tirelessly to help save his people from another new threat that seems to stalk them. As the many happy couples plan the holiday celebration, they must battle a dangerous mage and many vampire attacks. The sheer volume of characters makes this book not the best choice for the unitiated, but fans of the series will eat up this delightful Carpathian Christmas story which gives readers an update on all the Carpathians and their lifemates that fans have grown to know and love in the prior sixteen books. There is also quite a bit of inside humor, as one of the fiercest hunters known to the Carpathian people is roped into playing Santa Claus for the children. A special addendum to the book entitled "Dark Desserts" includes dessert recipes from readers. This one is a must-buy for Feehan fans.
Darkfever by Karen Marie MoningDelacorte Press, November, 2006
Hardcover, 309 pages
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MacKayla "Mac" Lane has never had much ambition. She's a small-town girl who waits tables instead of thinking about a real career, and spends her time thinking about boys, clothes and the latest shade of nail polish. She adores her older sister and when she gets the news that her sister has been murdered in Dublin while she was attending college, Mac is devastated, and sets off to Ireland to investigate. Her parents are furious that she's going, but Mac is determined to get to the bottom of her sister's death which the Dublin police have moved into the cold case files. Mac arrives in Dublin and strange things begin to happen. She sees creatures that apparently no one else can see, gets bizarre warnings from strangers and then gets threatened by the very dangerous book dealer Jericho Barrons. It turns out that Mac can see the Fae -- and that puts her in a great deal of danger. It also makes her invaluable to Jericho who is searching for a very special book of dark magic that could destroy humankind if it got into the wrong hands. The more Mac investigates, the more she realizes that her sister also could see the Fae and that it was probably that ability that got her killed. As she learns more about the shocking new world that she never dreamed existed, Mac becomes more curious about the mysterious (and quite grumpy) Jericho Barrons and more convinced that her life will never be the same.
Karen Marie Moning begins a new dark fantasy series set in the same world as her popular Highlander books. Mac tells her own story, which is a departure for Moning, and it works quite well. The story is dark and not really a romance -- at least not yet -- but the author has hinted at romance in future books. Ms. Moning adds a nice touch of the "mean streets" to the narrative, which gives the story a brooding, dangerous atmosphere. It's an absolutely gripping story, which will be continued in four upcoming books that are clearly going to be worth the wait.
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