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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Double Book Review: Dark Illusion (Carpathian Novel, A Book 33) by Christine Feehan + excerpt

Dark Illusion (Carpathian Novel, A Book 33)
by Christine Feehan
September 3, 2019
430 pages
Publisher: Berkley

ISBN: 9781984803467
At any other time, Julija Brennan would find solace in the quiet of the Sierra Mountains, but now the mage is in the race of her life. Having broken free from her controlling family, Julija’s attempt to warn the Carpathians of the coming threat has failed and put a target on her back—and those who are hunting her are close behind.…

After centuries locked away in a monastery in the Carpathian Mountains, Isai Florea can’t believe he’s finally found his lifemate—the missing half of his soul. The second he sees Julija, his world blazes with color. But despite their explosive connection, Julija rebels against what she sees as Isai’s intent to control her and rejects the bond that would prevent him from becoming a monster.

As their unfulfilled bond continues to call to them both, Julija and Isai aim to complete the task that brought them together. They are used to facing danger alone, but now the mage and the ancient warrior must learn how to rely on each other in order to stop a plot that threatens all Carpathians.

Review by Mary Kirkland 
-Dark Thoughts Blog
4 sheep
Now for many it might be difficult to keep the past history and characters of Ms. Feehan’s Carpathian series straight unless you read many past books in the series, but it's not necessary to read past books to still enjoy this one as a complete story. It may even tempt you to read the ones that came before this one. Also take note, there are some triggers here for readers who have grappled with abuse though nothing too graphic.

Julija is on the run from her family and the Carpathians as well as others. She's been tracking a Carpathian who took Xavier's evil book of spells because she doesn't understand why he took off with the book instead of taking it to his Prince. She's afraid he may try to use the book to bring back his dead lifemate.

Isai was sent after Julija to get the book back but as soon as he meets her, he knows they are lifemates. He's kept himself locked away in a monastery for a long time because he knew he was dangerous and close to turning. In the monastery, there were others like him and we've seen a few of them in previous books.

I've been reading this series for a long time so I already knew that some of these Carpathian males could be centuries old and have different views since they are from a different time. But this guy pissed me off right from the start. He's just met Julija, finds out she's his lifemate and spanks her because she won't do what he says right away. This dude was a bit much at first. But his personality did get better as the book went on, which I was happy about.

They clash right from the start but become intimate really fast, which I didn't understand or like but as the book went on, it made a lot more sense. While they are trying to find the Carpathian who has the book and stay one step ahead of her family they get to know each other better. We get to know what her life has been like up to this point and let's just say it was not good. This girl has been used, humiliated, tortured and kept captive against her will. Not only has she been brainwashed by her father but also by someone she thought was her friend. When we find out who she's related to, it's a big twist and it also explains why she was beat down and brainwashed as much as she was because she's more powerful than even she knew.

Xavier's evil book of spells was crazy and it was almost like it was alive. It's no wonder the good guys didn't want this in the hands of the bad guys because this thing was so powerful, it could defend itself. It was wild.

The addition of the shadow cats was one that I loved. They are more than meets the eye but because they were an experiment and tortured to be killers, they aren't trusted by anyone. Watching their story unfold was one of my favorite parts of this book.

While this wasn't my favorite book in this series, it was still really good and well worth the read.

Review by Pamela K. Kinney
4 sheep

Julija comes from a mage family with direct ties to the villainous triplets: Xavier, Xayvion, and Xaviero. Brainwashed and brutalized her entire life, she is still able to break away from her family and a man named Barnabas to warn the Carpathian people. Julija is also a mistress of illusion.

Isai is on the trail of his blood brother. On his hunt, he finds Julija who he recognizes as the lifemate he has been searching for all his long life (he is an Ancient) and has restored color and emotion to him. His biases and her scars make for some firework level clashes as these two learn to work together despite coming from contradicting life philosophies. They also save and take on three pairs of mated shadow cats, adding them to their “family.”

Dark, with plenty of excitement with the battles between the evil mages and Barnabas using magic to fight both Julija and Isai, along with the shadow cats, there is a certain mold for the Carpathian series. This has broken that mold a bit, with the mages, even Juilia being as strong as Isai and he accepts that. If you enjoy romance, especially the spicy, erotic kind, in vampires, the paranormal, wizards and sorcerers, all set in our modern times, you will enjoy this novel.

Chapter 4
At first, he had thought to keep his distance from Julija so when he left it wouldn’t hurt so much, but for some reason he couldn’t fathom, he really wanted to get to know her. Already, everything she said and did just made him want her more. His interest was genuine, and his sincerity came through in his tone.

“I love to play the piano,” she offered without hesitation.

He lifted his head to look her directly in the eyes. Her face lit up, and her eyes went bright. Her immediate answer was the last thing he expected from her. He didn’t know why. Maybe because of all things, music brought him a semblance of peace when he was so alone. It didn’t make him feel anything, so it had never made sense, but when he heard music, everything wild in him stilled.

“The piano?” Deliberately, he provoked her. He found he didn’t like Julija subdued. He infused skepticism into his voice. “You play?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “You do know what a piano is, don’t you?”

“I certainly do, but am having a difficult time believing you do. It takes discipline to master the keyboard. You do not have discipline in abundance.” The moment the words left his mouth, he felt the sting of an insect on his left cheek, low, by the corner of his mouth. He clapped his hand over what should have been a bug but was nothing but air. He glared at Julija. She sat there looking innocent. Too innocent.

“Did you just zap me?”

She lifted one hand and inspected her fingernails. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” The moment the words left her mouth, she felt the smack of a hard hand on her bottom, which was impossible because she was sitting. She jumped and glared at him. “We are about to go to war.”

“You fired the first shot, little mage.”

She rolled her eyes. “Well, fine, I surrender.”

He was almost disappointed. He liked sparring with her better than he should have. “I was teasing about you playing the piano,” he conceded. “You’re very . . .” He searched for the proper word. Adorable. Cute. He didn’t use words like that to describe his woman. Fiery. Passionate. Sexy. He finally settled on, “I like it, and I shouldn’t have baited you.” She looked pleased and he sighed with relief that he got something right with her.

“I actually was teasing you a little bit, too,” she admitted. “I didn’t mind. In fact, I kind of liked zapping you.”

“I knew you did it.”

She looked smug. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg in case you’re rethinking our truce.”

He held up his hands in surrender. “Tell me what you like about playing the piano.”

“I love playing the piano because it gives me a sense of peace. I can go far away from everything and everyone and just fall into the music. It transports me to a safe place. At least it feels safe.”

He went still inside. Her statement revealed a lot about her. So far, he’d been more than respectful, not reading her mind but waiting for her to give consent. It didn’t appear as if that was going to happen anytime soon. He needed to know everything about Julija.

About the Author:
I write every day and have done so since I was old enough to pick up a pen. (I spent a lot of time getting in trouble at school for writing instead of doing the things I was supposed to do.) Once I create my characters, I try very hard to have them react to situations as they really would. Sometimes I have preconceived ideas of what I would like them to do, but they don't mind me, because it would be out of character for them. They take on a life of their own. Sometimes when I throw difficult situations at them in the hopes I'll get a certain reaction and they don't do what I want, I complain bitterly to my husband and he laughs at me. Still, it is important to me to have them be real, not perfect people, so they make mistakes we lesser mortals might make.


  1. We enjoyed the reviews, great job Mary!

  2. It sounds like both reviewers agree that this was a good one. I think I would have a bit of a problem with the Hero at first but I am glad he did get better.

  3. I would definitely have a problem with the hero. I am happy to know that despite his behaviour it was still an enjoyable read.