Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer #1)

(Cassandra Palmer, #1)
Urban Fantasy

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....

“Great. I'd been dumped in Hell's waiting room.”

This one was hard to rate - between three and four stars. On one hand I greatly enjoyed the book and couldn't put it down, it was pretty addicting stuff for awhile. On the other hand, I grew bored sometimes, especially with all the time-travel stuff, which is a major pet peeve of mine. I simply dislike time travel stories - whether done in books, movies, or TV shows. I could have let it pass, but it seemed to drift back and forth, leaving my brain lost and struggling to catch up.  The action was almost non-stop, so sometimes it just seemed too crowded in these pages. There were many abrupt changes from setting to setting, scene to scene.

The main character, Cassie, IS likeable but her acceptance of the punishment was a little too nonchalant. This greatly bugged me! Pritkin, the war mage who doesn't trust Cassie, was disgusted at her about it (he's disgusted most of the time with everyone anyway!) but in this case he was right. She passes it off by saying it's because she grew up around it and it has to be done to teach a lesson, but I don't think anyone should be mentally tortured sex-wise either, leaving a permanent scar to teach a lesson like rape victims. I think it lost at least half a star for that, it bugged me that much.

In a lot of Urban Fantasies, the main female protagonist is the love interest of almost all the males. Here Cassie is the interest of the two main ones, but it comes to pass that it's due to other reasons than her attractiveness, which is a nice change of pace. I dug Mircea as one of the main guys. He was intriguing, dark when he needed to be, sensual and mysterious. Tomas surprised me, saw that differently and thought the author was going somewhere else with that character from the start. Pritkin is irritating like he's supposed to be, adding fun to the story sometimes. Billy Joe, her sidekick and hang-along ghost, is awesome! The villains and council were appropriately intimidating.

Overall I found this a mediocre start to the series. The rating is lower from the abrupt shifts that grew tiresome and some of the dullness that crept in with switching. I will keep reading the books, though, as I'm intrigued with what will happen with the rest of the characters. There's clearly plenty of territory left to explore. I especially like the ghost stuff and her abilities are a different take for the genre, there were many fun moments, a lot of yummy buildup and steaminess - super yum with the Mircea bed scene! - and invented legends for the story make sense, producing a good read.

   Book Quotes:

“I was alive, they were not. Go Me." 

“Once upon a time, when I was a child reading fairy tales, I'd ached to have my own adventures. Not that I'd wanted to be some dippy heroine languishing in a tower, awaiting rescue. No, I'd wanted to be the knight, charging into battle against overwhelming odds, or the plucky country lass who gets taken on as an apprentice to a great wizard. As I got older, I'd found out the hard way that adventures are rarely anything like the books say. Half the time you are scared out of your mind, and the rest you're bored and your feet hurt. I was beginning to believe that maybe I wasn't the adventurous type.”

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