Title: Touch the Dark
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #1, Cassandra Palmer World #3
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance
Publisher: Roc Fantasy
5th sentence, 74th page: Staring at me from the mirror was Louis-Cesar’s face, white with shock.
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…
It’s been years since I last picked up this novel – back when I first read it, I thought it was a standalone story with an off-kilter ending. Now that I’ve found out it’s just the beginning of a series, I thought that I’d pick it up again. See if it was as good as I remember and help me to become reintroduced to the world of Cassandra Palmer. And, if anything, I think that this was a little better than last time. Maybe because I’ve grown older, or maybe I just was in a more appreciative headspace… regardless of the reasoning, I loved this novel and am now keenly waiting for Claimed by Shadow to arrive.
One of the things that I loved about this storyline is the way that Chance approached virginity. I’ve found that very few of my favourite storylines have a virgin as the main character. And, the few stories when there are key characters who are also virgins, this takes up a lot of their characterisation. Most stories I read don’t focus on somebody’s sex life to define them, so it always annoys me when there is a focus on the inexperience levels as well. It puts too much emphasis on the idea that we should be or shouldn’t be… or whichever way, too much pressure. Chance doesn’t do this though. It’s just an aspect of Cassie’s existence, and although it is an important plot driver and point, it doesn’t create the character.
Ever since the Twilight fiasco, I’ve been a little hesitant to pick up any books that directly mention vampires. I’m sorry, but vampires shouldn’t be considered a romantic, sexy creature that you can have a happily ever after with. Their entire mythos is built around the fact that they are supposed to be predators… I know that their overwhelming presence in this story was something that made me pick it up, put it down, and so on for months. But, I was pleasantly surprised – yes, there is a sexual factor about the vampires, and Cassie spends a lot of time with them and lusting for them. BUT, there is no moment in which they are not considered as, and treated like, predators! Which really, is all I want out of a good vampire character…