Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Christine Feehan's Dark series

So, sorry about the sudden lack of posting, but this is midterm and term paper month and I’m a bit buried with the studying.

This week I’m looking at Christine Feehan’s Dark series, which just recently saw its eighteenth book, Dark Curse, published and, no, is not over yet. Okay, little note here, but it can’t be helped. What is up with these never ending series? I mean, it one thing when it’s Piers Anthony or Terry Pratchett, whose Xanth and Discworld series respectively are "world" based. But when you're dealing with the same set of characters or, even worse, the same narrator and it's starting to make The Neverending Story seem short, you become torn between wanting to known how it ends (provided it ever does) and just getting tired of having no happily ever after book after book. But I digress.

Ok, so what is it about these vamps that make them unique? Well, we're talking about an entire species of males who, as they remain bachelors over the centuries, lose not only their emotions, but their ability to see color. Now that, my dear friends, is a twist. Oh, and FYI, important distinction: the whole colorblind-emotionless-bloodsucking thing has them being called "Carpathians;" it's only if they cross a line and start killing their meals that they become vampires and lose their soul. For the Carpatians, they hold out hope that eventually they'll find their one true love and be restored. Naturally, there haven't been any females born in a long, long time and turning humans fails more often than not.

The Dark series gives new meaning to corny. I mean, they're so corny that they trudge right through the land of bad right into the category of funny/amusing. Take the first book for example, Dark Prince. Mikhail Dubrinsky is the oldest known Carpathian (we'll get back to that later) and just when he decides it's time to call it quits and walk into the sun, he howls out his despair to the skies and wouldn't you know it but his one true love just happens to be on vacation and staying a nearby inn, hears his howl, and telepathically connects with him, thus restoring his hope and setting off the courtship. Talk about being lucky. All-in-all the book was something between a B-movie and a classic soap opera, complete even with a random character who pops up and is all angsty (not that any of them aren't all angsty) and is told to try a change of scenary in America. You'd think that would somehow be a set-up for the next book, but that vamp's story isn't until book three.

The appeal for this series really is in its abundant corniness. You keep reading simply to see how much more cliche it could get and it never fails to disappoint. What's more, you find yourself falling in love with the characters as you go along. One of the more recent publications of the series was Dark Celebration that featured/centered on a reunion of all the past couples; which with a series so long (this was the sixteenth book) was an ingenius move on Feehan's part. One book, Dark Hunger, was even a graphic novel illustrated by Zid and Imaginary Friends Studio and published by Berkeley, supposedly their first manga ever. It's based on a short story in the anthrology Hot Blooded, but the reviews I've read have made it clear you shouldn't bother with it: even the review posted on Amazon notes the short story falls flat of Feehan's usual standards.

The series truly is worth the read: Feehan's Dark series is one sure to leave its bitemark on the vamp genre. It's not something you want to miss out on!