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…
Lia is a really good, fun character, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting in Vegas Odds. So it was nice to revisit her in Skin Deep with an amazing new tattoo to boot. I also enjoyed the way that her relationship with Cyrus had developed further from that outlined in their previous novella.
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.
I loved the setting location for The Queen’s Witch. Following on Gillian and Kit from The Gauntlet, they travel through Victorian England and try to find a way to save the queen. The semi-historical setting gave the story a unique feeling from the main Cassandra Palmer series, and (I’m assuming) context for the later storylines within the series.
I loved the way that this novella flicked between two different points of view – the vampire and the witch’s. Although originally it is easy to take the witch’s side, it quickly becomes possible to not only see the blossoming romance between the two, but also why each acts as they do. No matter how odd and absurd riding across a battle on a keg may seem.
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.