Christine Feehan's Dark Predator: The Return of the Broken Man

If you're a reader of the series before this (and you should be just for the sake of recognizing the names and history that gets tossed about, though not enough to confuse a new reader), and you miss stories about an incredibly broken man like Jacques (Dark Desire)...well, look no further my friends. Zacarias is the kind of character you never knew you wanted to read about. He is superficially an overbearing, dominant male, but, like all good romance heroes, he is in fact more concerned with the woman he loves and how she feels about him than his own ego or needs. 


Well...after a few impressive explosions of vampire-alpha-male behavior that, let's face it, is incredibly attractive from a distance and with the assurance inherent in Feehan's style that he is not, in fact, a crazy abusive misogynist.

A few words about Marguarita: I saw it coming. Marguarita is a character introduced in the previous book who is ultimately silenced by a vampire attack (literally). She's an incredibly interesting character because of her willingness to passively accept Zacarias while still resisting his more dominant tendencies. This is not a case of a "Stand By Your Man" as much as a "let me heal this poor broken vampire." Feehan's best heroes are the ones that are seemingly broken beyond repair.

However, if you're looking for a massive plot advancement in the larger narrative...not quite yet. Though there does seem to be some promising leads to the next book or two or four. Sorry folks, nothing about Demetri and Skylar in this one. Also, there is no big De La Cruz Brother reunion, but you do get a nice little visit with Dominic and Solange.

Now, on to some real problems. As an educated reader, I think it's easy to make the leap from silenced woman and broken alpha male to a metaphor for the majority of relationships where men and women often find themselves navigating old-fashioned narratives they're not even aware they're following. Zacarias is better than some--not particularly violent or enjoying violence beyond his alpha-crazy moments--, but he is still quite broken. Feehan writes Zacarias as a character who has inherited an unending absence of color and emotions without his lifemate's actual physical presence. Whether or not she recognizes the metaphor (I like to think she does as a a woman who is aware enough to craft a world around the idea of the emotional and physical divide between men and women), she's very much creating a story in this book about the Austenian male/female emotion/logic trope. For Feehan, this manifests as a man who cannot feel without his other half and a woman who cannot speak without his blood and voice--really it amounts to the same thing. The problem here is not the message. Well, it's not entirely the problem.

The problem is that most readers can't, don't, or won't perceive the subtlety of this novel or any of her novels. Where her discussion of endagered species is hard to miss (we get relatively beat over the head with lavish and long descriptions of rainforests and disappearing/rare animals), her exploration of gender roles as narratives we follow from our culture and families is easy to be lost in genre. Still, I for one am glad to see the broken man's return. I like a little crazy with my devotion...from the comfort of my couch that is.

(Originally Published on on May 26, 2012)


Dark Predator (Carpathian)
By Christine Feehan

Welcome to the New Books With Benefits Press

Welcome to the New BWB Press. If you're familiar with Books With Benefits or Books With Benefits Press, you've come to the right place! We're now one new and improved site!

In the future, here's what you have to look forward to:

  • Reviews
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  • How-To Guides
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  • Romance Industry Fun and Craziness (and the occasional Cat-oriented post)

As we go forward, we'd love to hear what you have to say about our new and old posts alike.


Love and Sunshine,



Romantic Escapades: The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville

Welcome back to Romantic Escapades! Today I am delighted to give you a review of the first book in Miranda Neville’s The Wild Quartet series. I was lucky enough to receive The Importance of Being Wicked at RWA 2014, and have it signed by none other than Miranda herself! I proceeded to stalk her on Twitter (in the most non-creepy possible), and she is as full of vivacity and good humor as her characters. Let’s dive in!

The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love…

Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…

Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

This is the first of a four book series centered around a group of badly behaved late-Georgian art collectors.

Thoughts from a newbie:

I can list so many things about The Importance of Being Wicked that make it a delightful read. It’s well-written, well-researched, filled to the brim with larger than life characters that you’re dying to see more of. But if you’re a sucker for historical romance like me, it’s what sets the book apart from the rest of its genre that makes it memorable. In the case of Importance, it is the two leading characters and their chemistry that really take your breath away.

The story is delightfully character-driven. You are introduced to the characters that will populate the rest of the series by a protagonist who is wildly different from common historical romance heroines. Caro Townsend is quick-witted, sassy,  and undeniably flawed. She elopes with her late husband in a fit of youthful fancy and defiance, and in the following years never really grows out of that rebelliousness. When her husband passes away and leaves her mired in gambling debt, she is forced to fake it ’til she makes it, and many times takes it too far. She’s vivacious, adventurous, reckless, and proud. But despite traits that may be unappealing at first, you’re inevitably drawn to Caro and her unapologetic ferocity. She’s a heroine you can stand behind. You want her to be happy. You get her.

Another aspect of the book that keeps you on your toes is that you get to watch Caro and Thomas develop together, both as individuals and as a unified existence. Caro is a whirlwind to be reckoned with, and Thomas is basically a wall. Instead of canceling each other out, the two characters amplify each other in the most organic ways. They grow and mature just as a couple naturally would, and seeing these subtle changes is what makes the journey fantastic.

If you’re hankerin’ for a solid historical romance that’s full of pleasant surprises, I highly recommend picking up The Importance of Being Wicked!

Interested in picking up The Importance of Being Wicked for yourself, or a fellow romance newbie?

Amazon | B&N

Follow author Miranda Neville

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What are Romantic Escapades? After a whirlwind affair with RWA14 in San Antonio, BwB graphic designer and reviewer Janice decided to cannonball into the romance world, blindfolded and totally not dressed for this. She will review a book from her Romance for Newbies Kit (put together by the fantastic April O), which includes authors to satisfy the appetites of all romance beginners, such as Julie Garwood, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, J.R. Ward, Sally MacKenzie, and much more. Janice’s Romantic Escapades will be a crash course into the romance world, and for a girl who previously stuck solely to historical romance, the crash should be explosive indeed…

Author Interview: Bianca D'Arc, "Jacob's Ladder" & "Her Warriors"

We cannot be more excited to have Bianca D'Arc with us today for an exclusive Halloween author interview! Author of more than 60 paranormal books and novellas, Bianca's stories center around menage story lines and are filled with every creature of the night imaginable, ranging "from the steamy to the downright scandalous." If you have a taste for shifters and vampires, you'll be more than satisfied with Bianca's books! Happy Halloween!

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