Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, book 1) by Karen Chance
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....
“I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the obituary. The fact that it had my name on it was sort of a clue.” - Cassie Palmer
The first time I read that sentence of Touch the Dark I was hooked. Many years, and many rereads later, that line gets me every time. Well, that and one of the single most unique stories—Ok series—that I have had the pleasure of reading in the Urban Fantasy genre. (Also fond memories of being the first book that I waited for the book store employees to put out on the shelf on the release date.) Touch the Dark is one of my favorite blends of magic from Greek mythology to voodoo, satyrs to haunted jewelry, magical warded tattoos to the coolest vampire feeding styles ever! Let's be honest Touch the Dark—basically the whole Cassandra Palmer series—is all kinds of messed-up-totally-awesome-fun-with fantasy and mythology.
The most important part is how totally awesome the time travel plays into the storyline. A lot of time traveling books can over play it to the point where it's boring, or so tedious that it actually doesn’t fit into the story. Cassie also has the gift of Sybil, those able to see into the past and future. Again another thing that rarely gets used well enough in paranormal books. Usually meaning authors use it so heavily it kills the book. Chance is one of the few authors that can use time traveling and foresight so magically! The best part is when Cassie changes the time line and the ripples are immediately seen. Things can have amazing and horrible ramifications.
Touch of Dark does suffer from some bad pacing, but it's not distracting enough to take away from the book. (At least for me.) This book is ambitious, and I have no disillusions on how hard it had to be for Chance to find her rhythm. There's a lot of history here—literally—and in the way of back story. This world is rich. From Cassie's tragic past, to pretty much every character that steps onto the page. It was fun playing guess the famous people. From the man in the iron mask to Eve herself. I have mad respect to any author who would have Jack the Reaper and Shakespeare on the same counsel! Chance does a beautiful job giving enough information to make readers love her characters, but not entering into information overload.
Cassie is one of my favorite characters! It's strange that readers who don't like her say she's whiny, but her humor is simple sarcasm. Which a lot of characters within the Urban Fantasy genre utilize. That humor never failed to make me laugh and put a content smile on my face. Cassie is a character that I'd love to be friends with in real life. She’s a tough independent woman who does what she needs to do to protect said independence. Despite the tragedies of her life she still remains compassionate when she needs to and is smart enough to know when to step in. Unlike many characters in the genre she can muddle with politics of the world. Though she may not be so handy with weapons. She's a different kind of hero. But I still have mad respect for her.
Really I don't think I can fully do this book, or series justice, with words. It's a fantastic blend of a little bit of everything. It's sexy and humorous, reminding me why I love long haired male vampires so much. The time travel here is a great example of why there is a niche in the genre for that kind of thing. Because when it's done right it is: Freaking. Amazing. Not to mention that world history just got a lot more interesting with Chance’s fun twists. The best part is how great all the characters are. Billy Joe is one of my favorite ghosts. Come on who doesn't love an Irish cowboy who's gambling issues led him to an early grave? Mircea is one of the top 10 hot vamps of the genre in my book. And now I know that Chance has the skills to take a character that I actually had hoped would die while reading Touch the Dark—Pritkin—and make me totally-fan-girl-cray-cray later in the series. It's refreshing to have an author who can develop characters as the series progresses. This is a wonderful series to invest in. Even if the first book doesn't blow you away, like it did for me, the next books only get better.
Sexual Content: Sex and sexual humor, clearly an adult title.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
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Touch the Dark (1)