Mini Review: Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

October 1, 2009 Review 3

Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, Book 1) by Karen Chance


imageBook Blurb: 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…


Mini Review: Anyone who knows a thing or two about Greek mythology would instantly be intrigued about the heroine of this series because Cassandra Palmer is a seer.  Urban Fantasy Land asked Karen Chance about the mythological inspiration for her character:

UFL: As far as my Greek mythology knowledge goes Cassandra is one of the most talented seer back in her time. As the myth goes she was cursed by the gods to make the greatest premonitions and yet no one to believe her. Is there some parallel between this Cassandra and your Cassandra?

KC:Quite a bit, in fact. Cassie came by her position in a roundabout sort of way, and as the series begins, few in the supernatural community are willing to accept her or pay much attention to anything she has to say. Also, the original Cassandra wasn’t cursed by the gods so much as cursed by a god, the lover she’d spurned. He’d given her her ability and expected to control her, although that didn’t turn out quite like he’d planned. Something similar happens to Cassie, who also tends to be rather independent minded. (click here to read the entire interview)

I’m a huge Greek mythology buff, so right out of the gate, I was psyched for this book (plus I still think the cover is beautiful).  And in terms of the character of Cassandra, I wasn’t disappointed.  Cassie is brave and resourceful, if a bit foolish and occasionally whiny, and I mostly understood her motives.  But the problem for me was that I wish that the author has shown a bit–okay a lot–more restraint in the plotting of this book.  As it is, there is so much going on in this book(ghosts, time-travel,  paranormal senates, magical tattoos, body possession, vampire mafia, mages, witches, talking shrunken heads, Greek mythology etc.)  that is hard to take in.  In this first book alone, there is more than enough plot for an entire series.  Not that the story or the supernatural world that Cassandra lives in isn’t interesting, quite the opposite.  But as a reader, I didn’t get to enjoy it very much because I was constantly being crammed with plot, plot, and more plot (except for the abrupt and extremely graphic–and long– sex scene that seemed very out of place given the tone of the rest of the book).

I would have liked to become more slowly immersed into the world rather then getting thrown in and never being allowed to come up for air.  I would have read the rest of the series if the former had been true rather then the latter, assuming that the over the top graphic sex scene hadn’t been included.  Maybe Cassandra would have fared better too. Oh well.

Sexual Content: Two sex scenes (one of which is extremely extremely long and graphic).

3 Responses to “Mini Review: Touch the Dark by Karen Chance”

  1. Jennynz

    I just finished this series two days ago and totally loved it – I read all 4 books in just over a week. I hope you persevere with the series because it definately improves – I agree there was a lot of information and explanation in the first book, but the subsequent books are easier to follow. Lots and lots of action though, and the whole series is set in a 2 or 3 week time frame so it was easy to read all four in one go.

    There are a couple of sex scenes in each book, but nothing you can't skip if you don't like that sort of thing.

  2. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    Thanks Jenny, I appreciate your encouragement about this series. There was a lot of promise in the first book. I know you're not alone in loving these books, so I'm thinking about picking up Claimed by Shadow. If its half as good as you say, I don't think I'll be disappointed 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    I LOVED all the Karen Chance Cassie Palmer series. Some of them are intense but I would love to see another Cassie Palmer book come out. Karen Chance also wrote Death's Mistriss and Midnight's Daughter, they pack quite the punch and follow some of the same characters from this series. Give it another chance and read on.