Title: Vegas Odds
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #4.4, Cassandra Palmer World #14
In: Strange Brew (P.N. Elrod)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
5th sentence, 74th page: They hit the floot to avoid the bullets Cyrus was letting fly, making them perfect targets for a second potion – one designed to induce unconsciousness.
From the very first sentence of this short story, you are thrown into the middle of the conflict. Lia’s self-berating and gradual realisation of the culprits in her attack help to add to this immediate sense of drama and action. The twists and turns of the plot are impossible to predict as her inner strength and moxie are revealed. To me, this is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story – once the cause of one point of conflict is revealed, a number of other problems quickly arise.
The idea of Lia as a half-breed and the subsequent stigma and segregation which she experiences is a great reminder of that which anyone who is different tends to experience. In some cases, people who come from two starkly different cultural and racial backgrounds aren’t fully accepted by either group of people. The pain and discomfort that Lia feels in her lack of acceptance, and even her inability to fully trust her boyfriend (who obviously loves her) to accept her speaks to the pain which such a discrimination can cause a person.
The showiness of this story beautifully matches what I picture of Vegas, at least as much as I can on the other side of the world. Even the Trials by which the war mages must take their new place in society is a showy affair with lots of drama and flash to make a simple point and test. The subterfuge throughout the story helps to match this, and even Lia’s own personality seems to fit into the idea of show and flash throughout the tale.
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