From now on I will review
flay each individual chapter since this series will be more organized that way. As the title states, this post will cover chapter two but I would also like to include the end of chapter one which I left out in the second post. After Mikhail condones his attempted murder of a man because he put his hand on Raven’s knee, he temporarily replaces the barbaric, murderous part of his nature in favor of a highly manipulative side. When Raven is literally carried to the front door of his home, she “senses” that she is in danger from him.
“She sensed she was in danger, grave danger from Mikhail Dubrinsky. A man with unlimited power, arrogant in his strength, a man who believed he had a right to her.”
Sweetheart, I think the word you’re looking for is mortal danger based on your own description of him.
She tells him she wants to go back and here is his response.
“Go back to what? Death? Isolation? You have nothing with those people and everything with me. Going back is not your answer. Sooner or later you will not be able to take their demands. They continually take pieces of your soul. You are much safer in my care.”
What demands? Is he referring to the police that want her to help track serial killers ’cause that’s the only kind of demand that’s been placed on her so far. You may count Jacob and Shelley wanting her to have dinner with them, but she could have said no instead of going anyway. In fact, she willingly sits with them in a public restaurant so that the emotions of the surrounding people can pierce her mind like shards of glass. Why the fuck didn’t she get up and leave? Oh, yeah. So she can weaken herself to the point where Mikhail has to literally carry her out, which he ends up doing.
In contrast to the demands of her fellow humans, Mikhail demands that she let him own her and to have sex with him. Is this more noble than demanding that she track serial killers and save innocent lives? Doubtful. Oh, and let’s not forget chapter 1 when he simply took what he wanted from her sexually without even demanding. God, I want to kick this hypocrite in the balls. Moreover, his choice of words implies that he wants Raven to be as isolated from humanity as possible. True being around unshielded people causes her pain, but he’s a Carpathian. His knowledge of telepathy far exceeds hers. Why not teach her how to block out other people so she can be around them? If he really cared about her, he would have suggested just that. But instead he wants her to be as isolated from anyone who is not him as much as possible and plays on her vulnerability in order to get his way. He’s well aware that she’s already very drawn to him since she can be around him and not be bombarded by his thoughts and emotions. When they reach his house he even takes advantage of her giving nature.
“He looked so alone, so proud, yet his eyes burned over her with hungry need. He didn’t answer her, didn’t try to persuade her, simply stood in silence, waiting.”
That is persuasion, you stupid bitch. Remember the last time you helped him when
Feehan raised the Golden Cross of Purity you experienced his loneliness? He. Molested. You. Have you really forgotten that or is it that you’re so needy and pathetic that you just don’t give a shit?
“Raven sighed softly, knowing she was defeated. She had never known another human being she could just sit and talk with, even touch, without the bombardment of thoughts and emotions. That in itself was a kind of seduction.”
I rest my case.
So they’re finally in Mikhail’s house at the beginning of chapter 2 and he wastes no time in exercising his dominance once again by trying to force her to drink an herb concoction for her headache. It’s very understandable that she would be reluctant to drink anything a total stranger gives her in his very home so she refuses. But of course Mikhail knows she refuses “just so you can prove something.” After she caves into the pressure, he tips the contents down her throat himself. They then proceed to share some history and play a game of chess, but with lines like this every other paragraph, it’s obvious Mikhail is far more interested in her body than her mind.
“Need slammed into him, hard and urgent and, as painful as the ache was, he reveled in the fact that he could feel it.”
“His eyes drifted lazily, possessively over her alluring curves.”
“The action was an innocent habit, incredibly sexy, drawing his gaze to the perfection of her face, the fullness of her breasts, the smooth line of her throat.”
“He liked her in his home, liked the way the fire burned blue in her hair and the way the shadows clung so lovingly to her face. He had memorized every inch of it, knew that if he closed his eyes, the picture would still be there, the high, delicate cheekbones, her small nose and lush mouth.”
“Her lashes were beautiful and held his attention.”
Also note that the second to last line came directly after she asked if he could talk to animals, the last line came directly after she asked if he really would have killed Jacob, and all of those lines came in less than two pages.
After the chess game Raven wants to leave. She tells him that she won’t sleep with him just because she’s lonely. Oh, are we getting a little self-respect here at long last?
“He laughed softly, low, amused. ‘Is that what you think? That you would be sleeping with me because you are lonely?’ His hands was at her throat again, stroking, caressing, heating her blood. ‘This is why you will make love with me. This!’ His mouth fastened to hers.”
That’s why she’ll make love with him. Because he can force her into it. And because she likes it, that makes it okay. After that bit of noncon, Mikhail takes it further by drinking her blood which weakens her. And what does she say after he commits this disgusting violation?
“‘I’m sorry, Mikhail.’ Raven was appalled, frightened at her own weakness.”
Yes. I agree. Whatever abuse he puts you through is your fault as much as his. And you are pathetically weak.
After that the house is visited by a few more Carpathians and lo and behold, we actually get some plot. It turns out Mikhail’s sister Noelle was murdered by human assassins who believe Carpathians are evil vampires with no regard for human life. Carpathians are also an endangered species: their women are few, children die of some form of Carpathian SIDS, and female children are rarely born. Noelle was killed because Rand, her lifemate, did not provide her with the proper safeguards while she slept in the ground.
That’s right people. Not even fairly interesting plot is safe from sexism. Noelle was killed because a man wasn’t there to protect her. Feehan never outright admits it until a later book, but Carpathian women are forbidden from being trained in combat. Only the men are permitted to be allowed to fight while the women remain barefoot and pregnant. And the reason she gives for Noelle being unable to safeguard herself was because she was so weak from pregnancy. Weak, yes, but not helpless. Had she been trained in combat and to hone her powers to their fullest extent, she could have protected herself. But like all Carpathian women, she is stuck with the mentality that men are supposed to protect her.