I wanted to give this story less stars because of the repetitive use of adjectives, the redundancy, and the plain cut and paste fight scenes (the fight scenes more so in this book then others), and the over use of sex (okay maybe not so much in this story as in some of the others). The repetition is the worst offense though as far as I'm concerned, with the redundancy coming in second (it comes across as padding to cover a lack of material). I mean I get it, Savannah has blue-black hair and Gregori's eyes turn to molten mercury (Don't get me started on this metaphor); that it's like white-lightning when they drink each other's blood; and any other number of over-told descriptions.
I'm also not a fan of overly-macho men, but I can over look that to a degree as long as I sense some respect from the man towards the woman (which I did feel more from Gregori then some of the other of Christine Feehan's characters *cough* dark secret *cough*). Yes, I know that the men supposedly gain respect over the length of the novel, but it doesn't always come across that way in this series. And I thoroughly dislike when a woman starts out as perky and becomes some simpering stupid girl (Again *cough* dark secret *cough*).
The reason I gave this story as many stars as I did, is I happened to like the story (mainly the concept) and the characters. I liked how Gregori evolved, how he became more "human", and I liked the rhythm he and Savannah got into. Hell, I liked the fact that the man gave her five years to do whatever she felt she needed, despite the fact he was so close to turning. Now, I didn't quite like the feeling that Savannah was making excuses for him in the beginning. BUT I'm not sure that's exactly what Christine Feehan was going for, I think she was trying to have Savannah come across as the compassionate person the Carpathian women are supposed to be, and that she wanted to show Savannah coming to understand the sacrifices Gregori made for their people. But I've only come to this conclusion, what CF was trying to get at, after long discussions with my mother after she's read each of the books.
I'm going to go off on a bit of tangent here. From the earlier novels, I came to the conclusion that when Raven discovered she was pregnant she had been a Carpathian for 25yrs, then add the 18yrs of Savannah growing up before she left and I want to know what the hell was up with Mikhail not having straightened Raven out (man I hate saying it like that) on how things were? Seriously, I think that was enough time for Raven to understand how the men fanatically protected their women (almost to the point of negating the women's abilities, powers, etc...). Raven did a major disservice to her daughter because of her refusal to understand just what the Carpathians were going through. Yes, she wanted her daughter to be independent thinking, which is fine and I applaud her, but at the same time she let Savannah think that there was actually some choice, which with the way CF has written her characters and story, there wasn't and never would be.
And that last thought leads me to this opinion: I don't think that CF has a complete handle on how to tell the story she wants to tell. I think she has a great concept and the characters are interesting which is why I have continued reading the Dark Series despite my earlier complaints (which I have for all of her books--some more then others. And in the later ones she doesn't seem to have a handle on her time line). In the end though, I think this series could be a lot better if the repetitious adjectives and the redundant explanations were to be eliminated.