The latest additions to two established paranormal romance series are sure to add a bit of bite to your reading pile. Christine Feehan's Dark Song and Maria Vale's Season of the Wolf don't just share characters with fearsome abilities; they also share a thematic interest in exploring how women handle trauma, whether it's being experienced personally or by someone else. These two authors are deep, dark and daring as they create and celebrate their complex heroines.
Dark Song marks the 30th title in Feehan’s Carpathian series and brings together two Carpathians (ancient beings who fight against vampires, for the uninitiated). Elisabeta Trigovise’s life has been nothing but centuries of torture and pain at the hands of an ancient vampire. It isn’t until she’s rescued and brought to a secure compound that she finally feels peace, though she fears it’s only temporary. Ferro Arany, a stoic, fabled warrior who is one of the oldest Carpathians, is surprised to learn that Elisabeta is his life mate. It’s a connection that doesn’t quite fit in either of their lives, but both are compelled to respond to its call.
Elisabeta is a fragile heroine. Hundreds of years of abuse have left her mind warped, and she doesn’t believe she deserves a mate like Ferro. It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see her wracked by fear and PTSD. While Feehan is known for her domineering alpha heroes, Ferro is attuned to Elisabeta’s pain and provides firm, unwavering support when she needs it.
For readers who prefer a romance that feels like an epic, hard-won love story (don’t worry, there’s a happy ending!), Dark Song will easily fit the bill. Longtime fans of the series will not be disappointed as they finally discover Elisabeta and Ferro’s romance. New readers, I dare you not to dive right into Feehan’s backlist after finishing this one.
It is impossible to overstate how highly the Legend of All Wolves series should rank on a paranormal reader’s bookshelf. Vale’s writing brings to life the isolation of pack life and the harsh wilderness that surrounds the community in Season of the Wolf. If that isn’t a strong enough selling point, please meet the Great North Pack’s Alpha (yes, an Alpha heroine), Evie Kitwanasdottir.
Evie doesn’t have time to deal with her own personal baggage when she has a pack of wolves to watch over and must also maintain her position from those who hope to usurp her. She’s allowed Shifters into the Great North Pack's territory, an unprecedented decision. The alliance between the wolves, who remain in their animal form during the full moon, and their Shifter enemies, who transform at will, is tenuous at best.
Constantine is a Shifter who most wolves view as the greatest threat; he becomes Evie’s personal responsibility. To call this an enemies-to-lovers romance would be apt, but that label feels slightly shallow given the dangerous, bloody history between their people. Constantine’s presence makes Evie question the laws she’s lived by her entire life. She begins to realize that even family can find a way to betray you and that your greatest foe can give you strength and love.
This entire series is beautiful and immersive. Each book just gets better, and readers who love complex world building and mythology will be over the moon. Vale’s romances are a treat to be savored.