Okay, Vampire Series. We need to talk.
We’ve been together for three novels now. Dark Prince, which was alright, Dark Magic, which was creeptastical, and I just finished Dark Challenge, which was just boring. I’ve got a good handle on your verse, and I’m seeing some issues here.
Let me break it down:
The Carpathians are a race of vampire-like immortals that mostly live in Romania. They were hunted back in the day when people believed in vampires and are dwindled in number. If the males live a few hundred years without ever finding their soulmate they start to lose their humanity: colors, feelings, etc. Eventually they lose it completely and become evil and a real vampire, reeking havoc on the human race. There are less women than men, so many men wander the earth for hundreds of years without finding a soulmate. When or if they do, though, they get all their colors and feelings back and are mated to this one person forever.
Oookay, not bad. Every vampire story has to come up with a mythos, and the whole “poor, misunderstood immortals” bent is a common one. The soul mate thing, a little heavy handed, but we’ll go with it.
Where it gets a little creepy is the way they find their mates. So far, the way a Carpathian knows his mate is that colors and feelings and desire flood back to him at first sight of her. No such metamorphosis happens on the female side, except a bit of “damn he hot”. He goes after her full force, and is like “hi my name is Your Soul Mate, you are mine now.” She is understandably confused, and resists, or at the very least tries to get to know the guy. No such luck. He just bites her, gets the mating ritual over with and then they are bound together forever.
I mean, I’ve read my share of possessive vampire romances, but damn. Doesn’t it bother anyone that his love for her is a chemical reaction that in itself saves his life? He gets A LOT out of the relationship, and she gets… What now?
Oh, yeah. NOTHING.
In Dark Challenge, there are two unattached Carpathian women who have managed to hide from the immortal society and live 300 years without getting a mate. They did not lose colors, feelings, or general humanity. They have special powers of healing and other girly shit. The guy who just found out about them was blown away by their special powers; he’s older than them and had never seen a female do that. From frequent attacks, child birth, and low female birth rate, he just didn’t know any Carpathian women that old.
So wait a minute. Carpathian women don’t have any downside of getting older unmated? They in fact get stronger and develop special powers. And yet the man who says they should get married for their own safety also has not met a woman of his race as old as the unattached females he just met.
And oh, yeah, let’s talk about soulmates.
Once they are mated, they can’t be far from each other for very long. They are psychically connected all the time. There is a suggestion that one would die if the other died. The males are combatative, possessive, controlling. They regularly hunt the bad vampires, putting themselves, and therefore their mates at risk.
Basically, a Carpathian female is looking at a shorter lifespan if she gets mated to these dudes.
Man, it blows to be a Carpathian woman. I mean, you get a sexy vampire man, and kids, etc., but that’s a lot to give up for the D. They are watched by possessive males from birth to adulthood, and then are mated off immediately at 18 to an equally possessive partner. If they don’t mate immediately, they run the risk of being hunted by the crazy bastards who have lost all humanity. Meanwhile, males travel the world for hundreds of years, get their kicks with human females, and only under duress of losing all humanity, do they find their soulmate. Which is all chemical, by the way. He doesn’t know her, she doesn’t know him, neither have choice in the matter at all.
If one of them dies… then what? I haven’t seen it played out yet in the series, but the way it’s written, they kinda go insane and lose their will to live. So the men engage in risky, violent behavior and the women just, what, throw themselves on a pyre if their lovers die? In the paraphrased words of Jane Eyre, when Rochester sings her a song about a woman who commits suicide when her lover dies, “I ain’t signing up for that shit.”
It reminds me of the statistic that men live longer if they get married, but women don’t [enter citation I was too lazy to look up] [enter citation that previous citation is unfounded].
I was hopeful for you, Vampire Series. You have so much of what I like: magic, vampires, star crossed love, steamy scenes, men driven crazy with love…
And yet, I find you creepy and lacking.
I was excited about it because I liked a few other books by Christine Feehan: Water Bound and Spirit Bound. They were fun. Why can’t you be fun like them?
The Bound series is kinda funny because it’s about these six women witches in a small coastal town who each have a connection to a different element. One after another, they meet guys who all happen to be Russian supersoldier brothers. I mean, sounds a little risky, right? Imagine if Jason Bourne settles down in, like Eugene, Oregon, and then his five other actual brothers–Jared, John, Jake, Jesse, and Jackson Bourne–came to the exact same place and just stay. And it’s fine. The Russian government super soldier squad must be hella stupid if they can’t find all six rogue soldiers in the same place.
“Woopsie, another one’s missing. Should I check Eugene again, sir?”
“Nah, they wouldn’t be so stupid.”
….OR WOULD THEY?
Anyway, it makes me laugh because typically a romance series has a boy band type roster of male protagonists to go through: the bad boy, the funny one, the mysterious one, etc. But the Bound series just has one type–supersoldier– over and over again. I mean, if you have a niche, go for it.
I had suspected that using the same type over and over again was a little unoriginal, but I let it go. There is variety in the women, after all. They all have different elements! See how little it takes to appease me? If this were a real novel, I’d be pissed that the characters are so two dimensional, but since it’s not, I’m like, “ooh, the next element is fire!”
I should have been more worried. This vampire series is the same thing over and over again. The men are exactly the same. The women are exactly the same. The plot is exactly the same. And none of it is altogether that interesting.
There are a lot of hyperboles in the character. The men are unfailingly strong, the women are unfailingly sweet, feminine and delicate. And everything is molten! Eyes, desire, need, feelings, hair, heat, heart, blood, certain feminine and masculine parts… These Carpathians are just little walking volcanoes, let me tell you.
There is nothing I love more than the give and take, the push and pull of two characters. These characters are too perfect to the point of boredom. Where is the conflict, really?
After three books, the banter is getting to me.
Guy: “you are a mouthy, independent female.”
Girl: “you are overbearing and old fashioned.”
Guy tells girl what to do. Girl does it.
End of banter.
Vampire Series, despite the fact that there are 11 more audiobooks available to me on OverDrive, I believe it is time we part. Perhaps we shall meet again another day. When I’m more bored than usual. I will miss your incredibly ridiculous cover art.
Keep rocking those ponytails,