Title: The Day of the Dead
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #3.1, Cassandra Palmer world #6
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: “I challenged you once before,” he said around the mass that had risen in his throat, huge and cold and sickening.
“The Day of the Dead” features Tomas, a character from the Cassandra Palmer novels, who was last seen cooling his heels in Faerie. He’ll show up again in the series, but what about in the meantime? What does a powerful, four-hundred-year-old vampire with a serious grudge against his old mass murdering master to do when he suddenly finds himself with too much time on his hands? Hang around Faerie, where there’s nothing to eat (Fey blood=nasty) just because our intrepid heroine parked him there?
Uh, no. Not so much.
Because Tomas is obsessed, and has been for pretty much his whole existence, with one thing: taking out Alejandro, the aforementioned murdering bastard. In “The Day of the Dead,” he slips back into our world to confront his nemesis, only to find unexpected help in the form of a band of magical mercenaries. Think the A-Team with spells and potions instead of (well, actually in addition to) guns and knives and things that go boom. It makes for a lot of mayhem down Mexico way.
I have had a slight obsession (alright, maybe not so slight) with the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead since I wrote an anthropology paper on it in my Undergrad at University. So reading a story that featured this time of year and festival made me kind of deliriously happy. Alright, stupid happy – I read this story from beginning to end twice in a row to get my fix. And then watched Coco. But that’s a whole other story…
I have only read the first Cassandra Palmer novel, so I don’t fully understand where this fits into the scheme of things. But even without having the background from the rest of the series, I still loved this completely. I vaguely recall Tomas from Touch the Dark and he seemed like a kind, if not slightly misled vampire. (And I honestly never thought I’d write that sentence in my lifetime…) So it was quite fun to read a short story that featured him. And, from the sense of the story, his new beginning and final freedom from the constraints of the slavery and society in which he has found himself.