Dark Magic
by Christine Feehan, fantasy (2000)
LoveSpell, $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52389-2


Wow, as the Carpathian books grow in number, so do these Carpathians become increasingly darker, more violent, and dangerous (those who need a refresher course on what Carpathians are - and no, they are not carpet cleaners - feel free to click here). That's nice - I can't stand sissified vampire-creatures. Unfortunately, the heroines remain stagnant in Wimpsville throughout. I can't stand macho vampires who like wimpy women. Ugh.

Gregori is the "Dark One", the Old One, the Dangerous One, etc, who is the hunk of all Carpathians. The superlatives aside, he has a destiny preordained with psychic Savannah Dubrinsky since she is a fetus. He waits for her, until he is close to changing into a vampire out of sexual frustration. But Savannah, ah, she wants some time more to make up her mind. And of course, some annoying non-psychic human vampire-killers are out for Savannah (since they are mere humans, of course they are evil!). Oh dear.

Now Gregori is a dark, bad alpha brute who can inadvertently end up in many a woman's domination-fantasy erotic dreams. He wants Savannah, but Savannah isn't sure. Ultimately, the scenario is such that one would have to break. The relationship between Gregori - overwhelmingly dark and sexual - with Savannah - disgustingly goody-woody and wimpy - could've been a dark, erotic power play. But the author makes a fatal mistake by trying to make things "sweet".

"Sweet" turns out horribly wrong. Savannah, in her good girl role, ends up taking all the blame for standing up to her wishes. "I was so wrong! I should've submitted!" Very nice, and she also realizes that she loves Gregori in a very brutal love scene where he is the dominant one and she, uh, the flailing one. But this isn't a relationship where the heroine willingly plays the submissive, which makes the whole situation even more disturbing.

Savannah just can't seem to make up her mind. Every decision of hers seem to be ultimately decided for her, by Gregori or by circumstances. Dark Magic is a romance that needs me to be confronted by the bare and even disturbing facts to work - he's a merciless killer and he is not human. He drinks blood, and in this time of AIDS, the aphrodisiac of danger should be addressed. And for the whole darkness to be convincing, the heroine should either revel in her submissiveness or throw the tables on Gregori and make him her carnal slave.

That's for me anyway. I have a feeling that Dark Magic is for readers who like their vampires only a bit brutal, their heroines pure, stereotypical, and unable to stand up to their men or even admit that they are sexual beings, and the whole vampire lifestyle nothing more than mild exchange of kisses and pure bloodlines in an eternally happily ever after.

Rating: 69


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