Dark Carousel, by the great Christine Feehan, is a paranormal romance that features lifemates as its overarching trope.
It is a thrilling paranormal romance filled with smoking sex scenes and lots of psychological tension.
There is so much I want to say about this book, but I think this is as good a place as any to start.
What is a lifemate?
For me, it is a bond between two souls, in which neither have very much choice.
The two interlocked souls are lost without the other.
This paranormal romance is all fantasy. But I believe in soulmates in real-life.
You can see it in elderly couples.
They hobble along the streets slowly, helping each other along.
When one of them dies, it is not long before the other follows. Their heart breaks. They’ve lost the other half of themselves.
There isn’t anything they can do about it. They suffer until they eventually follow the other.
I know what you’re going to say. I’m being idealistic. They’re old. They are going to die anyway.
Not true. When we give our hearts, it can’t be taken back. The other person takes it with them. It is both a wondrous and terrifying thing.
Lifemates feel the connection in their bones. It is not a conscious decision. They think of their mate whether they’re awake or asleep.
A deep spirituality links them together.
Neither soul can resist it. And that is how it is for Charlotte and Tariq.
The Warrior Woman
Charlotte Vintage has no problem facing danger, even when she is not completely sure of the nature of the peril.
But rest assured, as Charlotte can see into the past just by touching an object, she usually has a pretty good idea.
Together with her friend Genevieve and her niece Lourdes, she has been running from danger for too long.
All three of them are doing the best they can to protect themselves, until they meet Tariq.
The predator who cannot feel until he finds his lifemate
Tariq is Carpathian. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, but if you haven’t either, then you don’t need to worry.
Everything is explained.
A Carpathian without his lifemate slowly descends into darkness the longer he spends looking for his lifemate. And as more time passes, he loses his ability to experience emotions. What a horrible existence!
So when Tariq sees Charlotte in his nightclub, experiences her familiar perfume, and knows in his bones that she is his lifemate, he is more than eager to claim her.
But there is one problem.
Charlotte is a woman running from men who would use a woman, abuse her, kill her, and throw her away. She’s also the type of woman who can’t be ordered into obedience, as a Carpathian lifemate should expect to be.
So there are a few teething problems along the way, but slowly Charlotte realizes that there is absolutely no one else in the world for her except Tariq.
Tariq is very sweet, but when all the niceties are swept away, he is Carpathian and he is a predator.
There are a few points in the story where Tariq is quite rough with Charlotte.
If you’re the sensitive type, I would skip over some of the sex scenes.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with this as long as it is consensual, and at all times, it is. So, for me, rough play is just that, rough play.
But again, it depends on your tolerance.
Changes in Point of View
I found Feehan’s book to be impeccable.
Romance is one of the few genres where some think that head-hopping is acceptable in fiction. I disagree.
But I wouldn’t describe the changes in point of view (POV) in this book as head-hopping or a POV breach.
Feehan changes POV within scenes intentionally.
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When the change occurs, she could have easily put in a scene break, and this would have been perfectly acceptable, but Feehan only uses a scene break twice in the whole book.
For the most part, she changes point of view and continues without breaking. I suspect that she is trying to avoid interrupting the reader, who is immersed in the scene.
I wouldn’t describe this as unintentional head-hopping, which might be characterized by one sentence or paragraph being written in one POV and the next being written in another, before changing back again in quick succession.
In the worst cases, head-hopping occurs within the same paragraph or even the same sentence.
I didn’t find this in Feehan’s work. It feels as though the point of view changes are controlled and intentional.
I guess, critics of romance use this to argue that romances are poorly written.
I argue that when these POV changes are done well, the writer avoids interrupting the reader, who feels as though they are experiencing a movie without breaks.
I’ll stop gabbing about POV now.
If you love the idea of falling for your true love quickly and hunting vampires, this is the book for you.