Touch the Dark: Try Chance’s later series instead

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book reviews Karen Chance Touch the DarkTouch the Dark by Karen Chance

Touch the Dark is the first in Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series. Cassie is a seer; she can foretell the future and speak with ghosts. Later, she learns she has another power too: the ability to travel back in time and change events in the past. The time-travel element is unusual in urban fantasy and lends some freshness to what would otherwise be a pretty standard plot about a young woman embroiled in the politics of gorgeous, Machiavellian vampires. It’s a promising blend of story elements — but it’s tripped up by the execution.

The biggest problem is the infodumping. The narrative screeches to a halt in the most unlikely places so that Chance can explain the history and magical rules of her world. For example, during a combat scene early in the book, a ward is activated, and the fight is interrupted in favor of a lecture about wards. Another example: later in the book, Cassie and her love interest discuss big chunks of backstory during a sex scene… and somehow, this doesn’t seem to break the mood at all, even though one of the topics is the murder of Cassie’s parents.

It’s also irksome that so many historical figures are cast as vampires. It seems like everyone who was ever famous was actually a vampire, and the use of so many famous people feels like a shortcut around actual character development.

Touch the Dark is also confusing at times, and the prose style is too reminiscent of Laurell K. Hamilton’s. Try Chance’s more recent Dorina Basarab, Dhampir books instead.

Cassandra Palmer — (2006- ) Publisher: Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits — talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The ghosts of the dead aren’t usually dangerous; they just like to talk… a lot. The undead are another matter. Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking Mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she’s forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection. The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire — and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay…

Karen Chance Cassandra Palmer 1. Touch the Dark 2. Claimed By Shadow 3. Embrace the Night 4. Curse the Dawn Karen Chance Cassandra Palmer 1. Touch the Dark 2. Claimed By Shadow 3. Embrace the Night 4. Curse the Dawn Karen Chance Cassandra Palmer 1. Touch the Dark 2. Claimed By Shadow 3. Embrace the Night 4. Curse the Dawn Karen Chance Cassandra Palmer 1. Touch the Dark 2. Claimed By Shadow 3. Embrace the Night 4. Curse the Dawn Karen Chance Cassandra Palmer 1. Touch the Dark 2. Claimed By Shadow 3. Embrace the Night 4. Curse the Dawn 5. Hunt the Moonfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsBrave the Tempest (Cassie Palmer Book 9) Kindle Edition by Karen Chance  (Author)


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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