So, going into this book I hadn't read a romance novel in several years. I've always found that romance novels are extremely hit or miss. I don't like the contemporary ones at all and the historical/fantasy ones range from tawdry fairy tales with little substance to masterful works that are only seperated from regular sci-fi/fantasy by an overabundance of sex and fewer fight scenes.
My co-worker was an avid fan of Christine Feehan's work, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Dark Gold is apparently the third in the "Dark" series, but my co-worker recommended it as her favorite. Though the setting links the various novels, they can be read independently of each other without confusion. Her latest installment in the series, Dark Symphony, just came out this week.
Each book tells the tale of a particular "Carpathian male" and his future "life-mate" as they find one another and overcome various obstacles on the way to spending the rest of eternity together. In essence, the Carpathians are a race of predatory, immortal humans. Over the centuries, the number of Carpathian women has dwindled and the males have been forced to wander for eons in search of a life-mate. A life-mate is the only thing that can assuage their savage nature and ensure they they do not succumb to the dark side and turn vampire.
Very few human women have the mental fortitude to survive the transformation into a Carpathian, so most of these guys must wait for a long time. Imagine all that pent up sexual frustration! Fortunately for them, they cannot feel strong emotion (or even see in color) until they meet that special someone. In this particular novel, we bear witness to the romance of Alexandria Houton and Aidan Savage.
I, personally, found much lacking in this book. There was a lot of sexual tension and very little plot. They spend most of the book in Aidan's house while Alexandra undergoes her transformation and then Aidan tries to convince her that she is not damned for all time. Very little actually happens in this book. I was bored to tears halfway through it and even the forthcoming steamy sex scenes couldn't completely overcome my apathy.
The characters were one-dimensional. They did not undergo any real growth during the course of events. This is particularly true of Alexandria, who spends most of the book being defiant and then suddenly changes her tune in time for the books climax. Apparently the sex really was that good! Unfortunately, the most interesting character, Aidan's mentor, doesn't appear until the end and is only present for a few scenes.
All in all, there was plenty of sex and much of it was suitably animalistic. Ms. Feehan has a firm grasp on the necessary romance novel terminology; the sexual tension and sexual encounters were well done. Unfortunately, I like a little more substance to my stories, even in the context of a romance novel.