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