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Monday, November 8, 2021

Book Review: Dark Tarot (The Dark Book 35) by Christine Feehan

Dark Tarot (The Dark Book 35)
by Christine Feehan
November 9, 2021
512 pages
Light and dark combine as the cards reveal hidden truths in this intoxicating installment in Christine Feehan's #1 New York Times bestselling Carpathian series.
Sandu Berdardi continues to exist only to protect his people. An ancient Carpathian, his entire long life has been dedicated to honor above all else. He knows his time has passed, especially since he has not been able to find his lifemate—the anchor to keep him sane in a world he no longer understands. But just as he truly starts to give up hope, a voice reaches out to him in the night and his world explodes into color.
Adalasia enters Sandu’s mind seamlessly, as if she has been a part of him forever. While she can see the shape of things to come in her deck of cards, her gift is both a blessing and a curse. The true course of Sandu’s quest remains unclear, with danger waiting at every turn. She cannot see everything the future holds, but she does know it is a journey they will take together.
By joining him, she will start them down a dangerous, seductive path from which there is no coming back....

Sandu was contemplating meeting the sun since he had lived such a long time, had not found his lifemate and knew his time was fast approaching when he would have to make the choice. Then he heard a voice in his head speaking telepathically to him and colors popped all around him, which was quite shocking since he had lived in a gray world, colorless and emotionless for centuries. He knew what it meant, he had found his lifemate, and she was speaking with him telepathically. After speaking to him for a moment, she quickly cut off all communication, but he could not find her because they were now linked.

Adalasia lost her mother a year ago in a break-in. The people had been looking for something, she knew it, and they hadn't found what they were looking for. Now she knew that those same people were after her, meant her harm, and she was in danger. So when Sandu finds her at her tarot reading shop and confronts her, she tries to send him away to keep him safe, but he's not going anywhere, and he's not going to let her get hurt by anyone.

Adalasia has a special tarot deck that has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Her family are gatekeepers, and her deck of cards has magical properties that these other people know about and want. Four gatekeepers keep a beast locked away somehow. When Sandu and Adalasia talk and he finds out she is in danger, he knows they have to run, and she knows it too, so they do. It's right away that Adalasia finds out that he is more than human and because she has some idea from a legend she's heard about him and his people, she's not quite as shocked as someone else might have been.

Not only are they on the run from the people who want her and her tarot deck, but they want to find out more about Sandu's family and childhood because somehow, Sandu and Adalasia are linked in a way that they can't explain.

After talking to other Carpathians about Sandu's childhood and his family because he cannot remember anything about his family and childhood, they decide to seek out other Carpathians that might have come across his family when he was a child. In doing this, we get to re-visit some of the beloved characters from other books in this series that readers have come to love over the years.

A lot happens as they gather more and more information, and the danger they find themselves in gets greater. This book kept me on the edge of my seat right up until the end. I never knew what would happen next, and I really enjoyed the role that Adalasia's tarot cards played in this story. There's a lot more magic in this book than in other books from this series, and I liked the slight twist that the magic brought to the series. After reading this, I know that we'll be seeing more of the ancients from the monastery, and I'm glad about that.

I give this book 5 sheep!

Mary Kirkland
Dark Thoughts Blog

Adalasia moved in Sandu’s arms. It was subtle. She didn’t lift her head from his chest, but she did shift as if she might try to put distance between their bodies.

You didn’t say if you can bind me to you. There was real fear in her mind.

You did not ask this question. You stated that I can bind elements. I asked if your cards told you this. You did not answer me. He had distracted her. He felt her frown.

The magician card is always present in my readings for myself or for you, but no, it is there in the history. We are playing word games here, Sandu. Can you bind me to you in some way?

You already know the answer to that question, or you would not be trying to scare yourself, Adalasia. You are the keeper of my soul. Are you aware that you are?

She was silent for so long he wasn’t certain she would answer him. He let her be as he moved away from the sprawling city. San Diego was deceptive in that it didn’t appear to be as large as it was. He preferred the mountains, and he especially preferred to be as far as possible from cities.

The San Bernardino National Forest was three hours away by car, but far less than that when flying straight and rapidly. Eight hundred thousand acres of forest and cave systems gave Sandu a feeling of being home. He could set up safeguards and protect his lifemate from any trouble—human, vampire or otherwise—while he slept beneath the soil.

I am not sure what you mean.

There was both truth and untruth in Adalasia’s carefully guarded words.

Have you heard the term lifemate? Was that used in this history you refer to that is no more than a legend?

Again, she fell silent for some time. I am going to open my eyes. I don’t want to continue this conversation right now.

She was honest enough to avoid something that was upsetting to her. He much preferred that to her lying to him.

We are in the air. Fairly high up and moving quickly, heading for the San Bernardino National Forest. Your enemies will not easily find you there. We can make our plans for our journey and how best to start it. Let me drop lower and slow down so you won’t get dizzy. I’ll tell you when it is safe to open your eyes.

Her fingers tightened around his neck. I can’t believe we’re actually in the air, but I can feel the wind rushing around me. I can hear it. Why don’t I feel cold?

I would never allow you to be cold.

His assurance seemed to buy him more trust with her. The fingers at the nape of his neck began to knead into his skin like a cat, but there was a wholly intimate component to it. Just as there was an intimate factor to speaking mind to mind. Each time she spoke to him, her voice brushed that whisper into lonely places he thought would never be filled. His soul might still be torn in half, the blackened remains tattered and filled with holes, scarred in too many places to count, but already he felt lighter just having her close.

“Try now. If the wind is too much, let me know and I will shield you more.”

She shifted just a little bit more, one hand curling tightly around his neck, anchoring her, the other fisted his shirt while she turned her body, careful of her satchel. Sandu!

For a moment he was seeing out of her eyes, a dark world streaking below them, passing too fast. She shifted her gaze to the stars above and gasped again.

It’s beautiful. Scary but beautiful. She clutched his shirt tighter and dug her fingers deeper into his skin. Is this real? I feel as if I’m in a dream.

There are many things I wish to show you, ewal emninumam. The earth is a beautiful and exciting place.

He had forgotten the beauty of the night sky until he saw it through her eyes. He wanted to see the forest and the caves, gemstones and waterfalls, so many places he’d traveled that had all been colorless battlegrounds to him. He would view them so differently with her by his side.

From DARK TAROT published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Christine Feehan.

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.

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