Sunday, April 25, 2010

Christine Feehan's Dark Symphony (2003) review

Dark Symphony is erotic paranormal fiction. It is an excuse to write sex scenes and to indulge in impossible fantasies of impossibly beautiful people doing impossible things and having an impossibly perfect relationship. Gag. It is really such a perfect world that it becomes nauseating. There is no desire with any real obstacles, and just in case the reader might want to imagine that there is a real obstacle to - I blanked out on the names, it is that memorable - oh, yes Lord Byron's (original - snort) and Antoinetta's love, Feehan reminds the reader incessantly that they are fated to be lifemates. At the merest hint that something might prevent this affair from blossoming - though how it is possible to improve on what is perfect from the beginning is a mystery Feehan does not solve - Feehan is quick to reassure the reader by having Antoinetta be accepting of everything and Byron blind to any fault. Does Antoinetta have a fault? Does Byron? Feehan does not let us see them in case this will ruin the effect. As I said, gag.

Without any real desires (objectives) and without any real needs (weaknesses) and a mystery that runs like a subplot and is never developed to any believable degree, this novel is a poor excuse to indulge in the cheapest sort of romantic erotic fiction. It's a pity really because the mythological ideas behind the Carpathians and the race of Jaguar shapeshifters are intriguing. My favorite part of the novel is the Gothic passage ways leading to the room with the carved walls with the Jaguar history. Unfortunately, the Carpathian's are perfect good little vampires (they are not vampires Feehan points out because they aren't undead but they have fangs, need blood to survive and sleep in the earth so it is splitting hairs as far as I'm concerned but it could become interesting if they had a real weakness). The two most interesting things about the Carpathians are that they are almost extinct and have a paucity of women and thus difficulty in reproducing. Notice the sexual bent even there but I can accept that if something real was done with it. Unfortunately, the fact that Byron binds Antoinetta against her knowledge because finding a suitable lifemate is next to impossible is a problem that is quickly and painlessly solved. Too bad.

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