Dark Illusion

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Review featured at www.books-n-kisses.com

First I consider Christine Feehan as one of the best paranormal authors of our generation and most times I love her books. This one I am on the fence about. 

I liked the story itself. But I had a problem with Isai. He was really an abusive jerk who after seeing him through the first few chapters I never was able to connect to him. 

And Julija just never seemed to be anything more than a doormat. Yeah she has times of coming into her own but again maybe because of the first few chapters I couldn’t connect with her either. 

Now that being said, the story itself was interesting. I enjoyed the danger that the characters went through and of course the writing is really good. 

Just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy this couple. 

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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The Carpathian series is one of my favorite paranormal romance series. I love the way Christine Feehan builds out her characters although I will say the leading man and woman here are frustrated me in the beginning. By the end I was rooting for them and can’t wait for the next installment!
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Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro

Carpathian Elisabeta and Mage Julija were able to escape their captors during the events of Dark Sentinel, and now both are on the road to recover both physically and mentally. But Julija has a mission to complete and that is finding Xavior’s spell book, a powerful book mages can use to destroy Carphathians. Julija isn’t sure of the book’s location but she is drawn to the person who took it to protect it. In order to find the book, Julija has to leave Elisabeta behind knowing that her friend needs all the support she can get at this moment.

During Julija’s journey she encounters Isai, one of the ancient Carpathians from the monastery who has come to the United States to help hunt the vampires. Isai finds in Julija his life mate and although they don’t have the same perspective of what a life mate means to them at first, they soon come to understand each other while on the search for the book.

I was really curious about Julija during the previous book, she had been taken and was a prisoner along with Elisabeta, but unlike her, Julija was a mage. Julija’s background story turned out to be a really interesting one, so much that I had to draw a family tree to keep track of her lineage. Julija is trying her best to show herself as more than just a mage to the Carpathians. She is going against her mage family because she knows that what they are doing is wrong, such as torturing animals and other living creatures. I was really surprised to know where she comes from and who her parents are, not to mention the other family she is related to. I still have questions about her and I can’t wait to see her interaction with the rest of the Carpathians in the following books.

I was also very excited to hear the mention of our fierce Dragonseeker women Skyler, Branislava, and Tatijana and how they defeated Xaviero a powerful mage. I am still waiting for more Carpathians from overseas to come and help solve the current problem with the Vampires. My hope is that Josef shows up to help 🙂 

Although Isai is the other half of this book’s couple, I was very much pleased with the story focusing on Julija more than him. She has a tormenting childhood and what she needs now is Isai’s support to overcome her demons. As the story progresses, Isai becomes more understanding of Julija and the modern woman she is, which helps fortify their relationship. 

The carpathians still have several enemies lurking in the shadows not just vampires but powerful mages as well. The last chapters of the books reveal great information, which fans can’t miss along with cool battle scenes. If you’re a long time fan of the Dark series you can’t miss this book! It has romance, vampires, action, magic and revealing secrets!

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
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Another fabulous Dark Capathian book to thrill fans. This is a must-read, a 5-Star fantasy that all fantasy fans should devour!
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This is book number thirty three in Feehan’s Dark series. It’s amazing to me that she can keep it fresh most of the time. I enjoyed this book more than the last few of the series. The next book promises to be just as good.

Julija Brennan carries the mark of a high mage. She also carries the mark of Dragonseeker. She’s also part Carpathian. Julija is a little bit of everything. Julija is in the mountains looking for a book that could wipe the Carpathian species off the map. While she’s searching, Julija feels sorrow radiating close by. Julija finds Elisabeta, a Carpathian that was kidnapped centuries ago. Julija can do nothing but help set her free. Thus begins her war with her family, a master vampire, and a mage whom she’s terrified of. The book has to be destroyed at any cost, up to and including Julija’s life.

Julija is in the Sierra Nevadas, where she followed a Carpathian who just lost his lifemate to old age. She has no idea of what is to come. Isai Florea has also come to the Sierra Nevadas to find his brother and the book. When he runs into an illusion cast by Julija, he’s almost fooled. But Isai is ancient and not so easy to fool. He’s shocked when he discovers his lifemate behind the illusion and even more shocked that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him.

Julija was raised to be afraid. She’s afraid of Carpathians, but especially of the lifemates. She’s lived her life wondering if everything was an illusion. Her father and brothers always played tricks on her. The teacher that became her friend was an illusion as well. After being in the care of his torturous hands, Julija wants nothing more than to end her life. When she meets Isai, she instantly rejects him. Then her father comes at her viciously, through a psychic attack. Julija can do nothing but turn to Isai.

While he’s ready to leave her after their first meeting, he ends up deciding to help Julija find the book, hoping they will find his brother as well. They quickly get to know each other and Isai realizes how wrong he was to judge her. Now Julija and Isai are in a race to find the book before her father or Sergey, the master vampire. They both know that they can’t fail.

I really, really liked this book. It was so different that some of her past books. Julija was terrified, but she fought it and came out the victor. Having Isai by her side make her realize that together, they were virtually unstoppable. I loved watching Julija come into her own after meeting Isai. He had a big part in that. I loved that Isai was willing to let Julija be who she was. He helped her gain so much self-confidence. Self-confidence that was beaten out of her by her family. She’s a survivor. If you like this series, I think you’ll really enjoy this book. If this series sounds interesting to you, the first book is Dark Prince.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.
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I was a little wary going into this book. I took a break from the Dark series for a while when things got weird with mages. The spells and magic and million rules really bog a story down for me. But I've loved the last few books in the series so I decided to have faith. Unfortunately, I just didn't click with this book.

Isai is an ancient Carpathian who has been living with his brethren in a monastery until recently. He finds Julija, a mage looking to warn the king of the Carpathians about a plot to kill him, and realizes she is his lifemate. They team up to destroy a dark mage book.

First of all, this book is dark. And ok, yes, this is the Dark series, and CF has never shied away from going there with the violence, but some of the things that have happened to Julija were very hard to read. It made the way Isai acted at the beginning of the book even worse for me. 

Now listen, I have read almost every single book Ms. Feehan has ever written, so I am no stranger to her uber-alpha heroes but Isai was mean at the beginning of the story and I was not here for it. Our first real introduction to him, he berates the heroine without any knowledge of her or her background. It completely turned me off from his character and I never really got to a good place after that.

I mentioned the spells earlier but I think it bears repeating. There are WAY too many spells. I skipped over almost every single one when I realized they were weird and childish nursery rhymes and missed absolutely nothing. The whole Dragonseeker aspect of this series has never interested me and, although I tried to really invest in this story, that same fact held true in this book. Most of the story I felt like I was slogging through way too many repetitive and convoluted details. I almost DNF'd this book around 72% in but I kept reading for the series arc. 

Overall, as a huge Feehan fan it pains me to write this review, but I am sure the next book will be stellar! Her recent releases, for the most part, have been excellent. I am dying for Elizabeta's book. I really hope she's next!

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**
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Christine Feehan continues her Carpathian novels with Dark Illusion.  Julija Brennan is Carpathian and Mage, but she is fleeing both communities.  Then she meets  her lifemate, Isai Florea, a Carpathian warrior who she refuses to accept.  Between seriously sexy encounters and deadly faceoffs with vampires, Julija and Isai have to resolve their relationship and find a book that threatens the Carpathian race.  Great romantic fantasy read.
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Julija comes from a mage family with direct ties to the villainous triplets: Xavier, Xayvion, and Xaviero. Brainwashed and brutalized her entire life, she is still able to break away from her family and a man named Barnabas to warn the Carpathian people. Julija is also a mistress of illusion.

Isai is on the trail of his blood brother. On his hunt, he finds Julija who he recognizes as the lifemate he has been searching for all his long life (he is an Ancient) and has restored color and emotion to him. His biases and her scars make for some firework level clashes as these two learn to work together despite coming from contradicting life philosophies. They also save and take on three pairs of mated shadow cats, adding them to their “family.”

Dark, with plenty of excitement with the battles between the evil mages and Barnabas using magic to fight both Julija and Isai, along with the shadow cats, there is a certain mold for the Carpathian series. This has broken that mold a bit, with the mages, even Juilia being as strong as Isai and he accepts that. If you enjoy romance, especially the spicy, erotic kind, in vampires, the paranormal, wizards and sorcerers, all set in our modern times, you will enjoy this novel.
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Isai is ½ mage and ½ Carpathian, she has broken free of her evil mage family and is trying to save the Carpathian people by destroying Xavier’s spell book. On her quest, she runs into Julija, who is a Carpathian ancient and just happens to be her life mate.

Julija has a lot to over come in convincing Isai that they should be bonded life mates. Isai has been tormented and tortured, flat out brutalized, her entire life by those who should have protected her.

The story is dark, the circumstances behind Isai’s life would be upsetting to anyone. Her family was straight up evil.

First, I have to say: I loved the shadow cats, they are an excellent new addition.

There is no denying the chemistry between life mates and Feehan makes it sizzle.

I’ve been an avid Feehan follower and have read every book in all her series. The Dark: A Carpathian Novel series was my first series to follow and it holds a special place. I must admit over the years I’ve started to feel blasé with the similarities in the plot repetitions. Dark Illusion has broken that mold wide open. Yes, it is a little bit of circling back to the origins of the series, but the mages are back, and they are out for Carpathian blood.

My Rating: 4 stars
Written by: Christine Feehan
Series: Dark
Sequence in Series: 29
Print Length: 430 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1984803468
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Illusion-...
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*4.5 stars*

Mage and Carpathian meet… and it’s FANTASTIC!

The Dark series never fails to surprise me even after dozens of stories. Each story sees a new couple connecting and building onto the tangled web that is the Carpathian existence. This time out, I felt the strength of the Dark family, and saw glimpses of them, but Julija and Isai had to rely on their own strengths and courage to dal with their life-threatening situation. What was real and what was magic? It was almost impossible to tell…

Julija’s character was this wonderful blend of confidence and insecurity, even as she fought fiercely for those she loved. Be they Carpathian, human, or cat, all creatures deserved love and compassion and she had that in abundance. Isai was an ancient warrior, hanging on for centuries for this moment. His moment. Their moment. When their first meet up fizzled like a cliché’d first blind date, it was hard to tell if that rocky start was actually the end…

Thank goodness there was a lot more! Their courtship was one of trust-building in a trial by fire unlike anything you could imagine. It was sweet and sexy and full of heart-pounding suspense as they battled each other and their enemies…

This story consumed me with its emotion and unpredictability, its magic casting a spell on me as well. If the ending was unexpectedly quick and almost quiet, that just spoke volumes about what came before it. And it was all FANTISTIC!
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Ever heard the one about a mage, a Carpathian warrior, a book of evil, and the love of a lifetime? Dark Illusion is such a delicious story and I can't wait for you to meet Isai and Julija!

Isai's an honorable man who has spent centuries looking for his lifemate while defeating the forces of evil. He's handsome, honest, considerate, fierce, loyal, intelligent, strong, fearless and genuine. I cannot adequately describe the many ways I loved this hero. He was unreal! His patience with Julija knew no limits, which thankfully came in handy because she tested mine.

He would divide his attention, risk his life, even his soul for her. He might think he was wholly dark, but he had honor. Integrity. He was a man who walked in light even when he didn't see it around him. - Julija

Julija was a little hard to connect to at first, but in the end I adored her too! She came from a family of evil and yet she retained her light. While trying to save an entire race by destroying an evil book of spells, her family is hunting her down. Are they trying to kill her or do they want to recapture their pet? Her abusive ex, an extremely powerful mage, is also out there hunting for her, wanting her back in his control. However, Julija has much more power than even she expected and with the faith, love and guidance of Isai, she just might come into her own. After living a life ruled by fear and doubt, Isai has encouragd her to take charge, find her confidence, and to truly believe in herself. I'm in love with this man!!

Have I tempted you yet? If you love your paranormal romance full of action, incredible world building, impossible to resist characters, and yummy steaminess, then you definitely won't want to miss out on this book!
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✦Review & Giveaway: DARK ILLUSION (A Carpathian Novel, Book 33) by Christine Feehan https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-bg4
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna
Rated 4 Stars 

I enjoyed this installment – for the most part. Do I dare say that they are becoming repetitive? Nothing new except the characters themselves? 33 stories have pushed this romance series to its limit? I rated it a 4 because I like her writing style, and I get sucked into the Carpathian saga. Granted, I was rather worried at the beginning that I would not like Isai at all. His behavior when they first met pissed me off. Thankfully that changed and I understood him more. Julija’s motives and actions were also believable with her background, so nothing jumped out at me and I’m glad they got together and found their love. I sadly found myself almost speed-reading through the many spells and over-abundance of pages to describe one action. If you love the Carpathians, you will enjoy this book and how it leads into the next one…leaving some unresolved issues. It’s not a cliff-hanger, just readying the readers for what comes next.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

~*~*~*~
Kindle $13.99 https://amzn.to/2T2nmVy ‬
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The beginning and end of the book were fantastic, but the middle was tedious with what seemed to be the same conversations repeated over and over. I also did enjoy the appendixes showing the history of healing and language in the carpathian and how it ties to present day. So I’m so-so with this book. It was an enjoyable read, but it did lull a lot in the middle.
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I will admit I have missed a few stories in this series but it's like I missed nothing. I have loved this authors stories in the Carpathian world and this book reminds me why. 
Julija comes from a long line of evil mages namely Xavier. Although a master of Illusion herself she isn't quite as evil as her lineage. We get many facets and beings in this story. 
Loved the chemistry between Isai and Julija. And I do hope Elisbeta gets a story. 
A fantastic part of the series and I highly recommend it.
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DARK ILLUSION is the thirty-third book in Christine Feehan’s “Carpathian” series. Although characters from other books are referenced, I believe DARK ILLUSION works as a standalone novel because the author adequately explains her world and the character dynamics. Julija Brennan is a woman on a mission. She’s pursuing a man she hopes will lead her to a dark book of power – not unlike the Necronomicon from the EVIL DEAD films. Instead, Julija finds the brother of the man she was following, and he turns out to be her fated lifemate. When Julija and Isai Florea first meet, sparks fly – but not in the best way. At first, I thought this relationship would be a constant battle of wills, but that’s not the direction their relationship went in. Although this relationship started off rocky, Isai and Julija did some emotional sharing and grew to like each other. I love how helping and caring for some shadow cat creatures were the initial glue to this relationship.

Julija is a mage who comes from a family of mages and she’s been abused by them and their evil friends. Trust, for her, is hard to come by. Her one friend, that she communicates with telepathically, is Elisabeta – a woman who also knows what it is to suffer. Given her history, it’s no surprise that Julija isn’t super excited to have some alpha male stranger claim her as his. It’s good that Christine Feehan tells this story from alternating perspectives and allows readers to get a better understanding of both main characters. I like that it didn’t take too long for Isai to figure out what motivated Julija and who she was at her core. He realizes that his initial snapshot impression of her was wrong and he works throughout the book to try and make her realize her true power, and be at peace with both halves of herself. That Isai also helps the magical yet warped “shadow cats” that Julija has a soft spot for is a huge mark in his favor. In the end, what Julija struggles with is not whether she can trust any man after having been mistreated by those closest to her, it’s more fundamental than that. After so many small and large betrayals and seeing how easily evil men could use their mage skills to create cruel and realistic illusions, Julija occasionally wonders if Isai and the happiness she’s found with him is some illusion.

DARK ILLUSION is an epic fairy tale with warriors, evil mages, true love, and a heroine who saves the day by realizing her power. I loved this makeshift family of badass mage/Carpathian hybrid heroine, warrior monk, and spooky shadow cats. I look forward to Christine Feehan’s next “Carpathian” novel to see who else finds their lifemate.
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Christine Feehan is still the reigning queen of paranormal. Another great addition to the Carpathian series but also can read as a standalone.
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4.25 stars--DARK ILLUSION is the twenty-ninth instalment in Christine Feehan’s  CARPATHIAN  / DARK erotic, paranormal, romance series. This is ancient Carpathian Isai Florea, and mage Julija Brennan’s story line. DARK ILLUSION can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous instalments is revealed where necessary.

SOME BACKGROUND: All Carpathian males must find their lifemates before they turn vampire or greet the dawn. Without a lifemate, the males no longer see in color, feel pain or experience emotions. A lifemate is the light to their dark. She is the keeper of his heart and the keeper of his soul. As the unmated Carpathian male ages, the darkness begins to envelope his soul.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Julija and Isai) DARK ILLUSION continues to focus on a group of ancient Carpathians, nearing the end of their search for a lifemate who have isolated themselves away from the world in a monastery high in the Carpathian mountains.  As his search for his younger brother Iulian takes him to the Sierra Mountains, Isai comes across a woman he discovers to be his fated lifemate. On the run from her family and her past, Julija Brennan believes herself to be an enemy of the Carpathian people due to her family’s attempts to destroy them all. What ensues is the building relationship between Julija and Isai, and the potential fall-out as our couple come under fire from some very powerful mages.

Julija Brennan doesn’t believe she is worthy to be a Carpathian mate, and immediately refuses Isai attempts to claim her as his own. Having struggled through the abuse and captivity of her earlier life, Julija battles between head and heart when Isai is willing to walk away without a fight. Isai Florea knew immediately Julija Brennan was his lifemate but her stubbornness amounted to silence in an effort to protect the man with whom she would fall in love.  As Julija and Isai search for Isai’s missing brother, our couple find themselves the target of Julija’s past, and the family that is determined to imprison her, once again.

The relationship between Julija and Isai is one of immediate attraction but our heroine believes she is an enemy of the Carpathian people. Unable to resist the pull between one another, Julija and Isai will complete the bonding but to both their surprise Julija is so  much more than a powerful mage. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and passionate, without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

 DARK ILLUSION is a revealing story line, one that begins to reveal the history and back story of one of the Carpathian’s most hated enemies, an enemy who was and is determined to take down a race of people using any means necessary.  Christine Feehan has pulled from one of her more successful story line arcs where the Carpathian people had to fight and discover the truth,  in order to survive.  The premise is engaging, entertaining and edgy; the romance is steamy and seductive; the characters are strong and determined but there is limited interaction with any of the previous story line characters.

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I have read all of Christine Feehan's Dark series and I usually love them. That was not the case with this one. It just fell flat for me. I could not get a good feel for the characters and it could not keep my attention. I kept feeling like I was missing part of the story. So much so I looked to see if I had missed a previous book. 




I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Julija Brennan has no idea how powerful she really is.  She’s been utterly destroyed by her father and the cruel men that surround him. They think that she alone could never gather the strength to find and destroy the one book that they desire above all else.  They are so wrong.

Isai Florea is searching for his brother.  Iulian, an ancient warrior, disappeared shortly after obtaining a book of spells rumored to be powerful enough to wipe out the entire Carpathian race. What he finds instead is a beautifully broken young mage who is not only headstrong beyond anything that he’s ever encountered – she’s also his lifemate.

Together they must find a way to blend the magic of the mage with the strength of the Carpathian if they are going to win this war.  But their bond is brand new and Julija’s traumatic past is ever present. Will their love end before it even has the chance to really begin?

“You have to stop. I can’t think when you’re staring at me like that.” 
“Like what?” 
“I don’t know. A hungry wolf. You look as if you might devour me any minute.” 
He flashed a small enigmatic smile at her. “It is a possibility.” 
“I’m sorry I doubted you, Isai. Or even acquainted you at all with the likes of Barnabas or my father. I should have believed in my own ability to tell truth from lie.” 
“Do not apologize to me, my little mage. They conditioned you to doubt everything. You will soon believe in yourself again and in us.”

In Dark Illusion, Christine Feehan once again introduces us to a lifemate who is just as fierce as her fated Carpathian! Julija is a study in contrasts.  She embodies the kind of strength and vulnerability that makes her the perfect equal to a hardened warrior like Isai.  The push and pull between them is an actual living force.  It flows flawlessly from tentative beginning to satisfying ending.  And fans of the Dark series – both old and new - will fall completely under its sensual spell…
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It's amazing that Ms. Feehan is 33 books into the series and by all indications is definitely planning many more stories to come. While there have been some books along the way that I could have passed it's books like this one that keep me vested in the series.
Ms.. Feehan matches a woman who is a mage and a dragon seeker Carpathian a descendant of the evil mage Xavier with an ancient warrior in search of a life mate. While this book has it's share of heat and action that is typical of this series, it also offers a history lesson giving readers answers to questions they might not even realize they have while introducing a host of new characters who all have stories waiting to be told. Julija is in the Sierra mountains of California on the trail of a Carpathian warrior who has Xavier's spell book. In the wrong hands this book can do untold damage. Isai is on the hunt as well seeking the same warrior and the same book.  Of course the moment Isai spots Julija, he can see in colors but it's definitely not rainbows and flowers from that point on since Julija has a lot of baggage that causes her to reject Isai.
Despite their rough start and professed desire to resist the mate bond the two join up together to hunt the book and the Carpathian warrior while themselves being hunted by evil mages who want the book for their own nefarious purposes. As the two stay one step ahead of the enemy and subvert the animals that Julija's brothers created to do their evil they spend a lot of time talking about both their histories and indulge in sexual pursuits.  The main body of the book is similar to most books in this series as the two seek blood, complete the necessary blood exchanges and consummate their life mate bonds. What I really enjoyed is their conversations as Julija shares her history she helps answer a lot of open questions from past books in the series.
Will the two find the spell book ahead of the mages? Can they safeguard the book? are questions dear readers you'll have to grab your own copy of the book to answer. I will tell you that there are some great battles between the mages and Carpathians also given that Julija as it turns out is Carpathian but very much a mage.  I really did enjoy how the story unfolded and am definitely interested to see how Elizaveta's romance turns out. Then of course there are all those other ancient warriors who still have to find their life mates.
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