Finally! I cannot tell you how happy I am to finish this book. Instead of 10 hours, the audiobook felt like it was twice as long and I had it in 2x speed for most of it.
I can imagine that when this book came out in 1999, it was fresh and groundbreaking. If I had read it back there, I would have definitely been intrigued. But as a 2011 PNR reader, I can only tell you that this book bored me beyond tears and I couldn't stand the dumb characters and an overwrought dialogue that would go on and on repeating the same things.
Let's start with the heroine, who has the distinction of being the most TSTL heroine I've ever read about in my life. Why, you may ask? Just select an option from the ones below (contains some spoilers):
A - Left the hero's house when he was disabled to spend the day in the same place as the evil villains
B - After being told that a woman is murdered, she wanders on her own in the forest and falls sleep
C - Decides the hero is not for her even though he's the only man that can touch her (she's telepathic and can read minds just by touching normal people)
D - After almost getting killed, she wanders the forest at night half naked and strikes a conversation with a guy she doesn't know
E - Tries to sacrifice herself several times to save the hero even though everybody and their mother has told her that if she dies, he dies too.
F - All of the above.
Believe it or not, the answer is F: all of the above. This woman doesn't have the brain God gave a mosquito and I just wanted the villain to crack her skull and put us out of our misery.
Then there was the asinine plot. Villains would come out of nowhere and they caught the very powerful Carpathians with their pants down Every.Single.Time. You would think that such a powerful race would be prepared to be hunted and would keep safeguards in place but the villains basically did everything they wanted and the Carpathians couldn't stop them.
The prose is affected and over the top with gems such as "velvet sheath of fire." Over and over, we learned that "Carpathians women were the light to the male's darkness...his other half. Without her, the beast would slowly consume the man until he was complete darkness." If I had been doing a drinking game every time the work 'darkness' showed up, I had been roaring drunk by the end.
Overall, all I can say is that I'm glad that it's over.