Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A scavenger hunt through time

Cassandra is running out of time to break the geis that was placed on her years ago. Mircea, the vampire who was one of her only friends throughout her lonely, difficult childhood, is also effected by the geis, and is now on the precarious brink of losing his sanity. The risk of a master vampire running amok means he will be cruelly imprisoned in a way that will probably push him permanently over the edge.

Her challenge is to find the Codex, a book that was written hundreds of years earlier, supposedly by Merlin himself. There's a little problem, though: the codex is spelled to unwrite itself over time, so unless she can pinpoint its exact location in the past, far enough back that the spell she needs still exists, it won't help her. Oh, and there are a few other problems as well. There are others who are after the Codex as well - dark mages, war mages, vampires, beings from ancient religions. Many of them also want Cassandra dead. Many of them only want Cassandra dead.

To complicate matters, a group of children show up on her doorstep, refugees asking for Cassandra's help. People she thought she could trust turn out to have a different set of motivations altogether. But Cassandra does have some friends willing to stand by her - to make it, say, rain frogs if a diversion is needed. Unfortunately the forces they are up against are greater in power and number. Cassandra must learn to understand and learn to use her powers as the Pythia in her race against - and through - time.

This series had me from the first book. The complex, detailed back story gives Cassandra's life a depth and breadth that make it stand apart from the many other vampire and supernatural fantasy series that are currently popular. Events are well set up and, as the story progresses, apparently unrelated pieces fall into place seamlessly and unexpectedly. The characters are complicated and well rounded, never stereotypical, and their interactions are believable, often humorous, with dialog that brings everything vividly to life.

Books in the Cassandra Palmer series:

1. Touch the Dark
2. Claimed by Shadow
3. Embrace the Night

Karen Chance was Penguin's guest blogger last week, and she's writing some fascinating things over there - check it out!

And here is something kind of interesting - it's a video trailer for the book! I like the idea, but having just finished the novel, it seems to me that whoever made the video never actually read the book - it has a completely different mood and atmosphere. But I still like the idea!

Embrace the Night (#3 in the Cassandra Palmer series) by Karen Chance (Roc, 2008)

Other blog reviews:
Darque Reviews
In Bed with Books
Literary Escapism

21 comments:

  1. I've read an anthology with this author and I really liked it and I've been meaning to pick up this series since.

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  2. I think I know the one you mean - did you review it not too long ago? I seem to remember looking for the anthology at my library, but we didn't have it. :-( I think that you'd really enjoy this series!

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  3. I like Patricia Briggs's series as well, although I prefer her Hurog books to the Mercy ones.

    Great review, and I'm going to that Penguin blog link now. ^_^

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  4. Liviania - thanks for stopping by! I have not yet red the Hurog books, but I'm looking forward to them even more than before, after hearing that you like them even better than the Mercy ones. I recently read When Demons Walk and enjoyed it very much (but still prefer Mercy).

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  5. I am really looking forward to starting this series this year. It has had some great reviews and I love it when the rest of the series are just as good as the first one.

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  6. Rhinoa, you are going to love these, I just know it! You'll wonder why you waiting so long to read them. Then you'll wonder if you can stand the wait till the next one is published. :-)

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  7. Yeah I'm pretty sure it was the one I reviewed. The only other anthology I've read recently is My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon and I'm working on a post for that now.

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  8. the book doesn't seem that appealing to me, but i'm terribly fascinated by the trailer. i'm surprised no one has thought to do something like that sooner.
    as far as the trailer looking like the trailer makers didn't read the book - they probably didn't. i'd bet money that they were given a week - maybe two - to put it together and with only a synopsis. they may have shown it to their client who suggested they make this or that change to make the book more appealing regardless of whether it was actually reflective of the book.

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  9. Ladytink - I'm going to have to track that anthology down, one of these days. The one you're working on now sounds like fun!

    Molly - that was exactly my feeling about it, too - it seemed entirely removed from the book, but it was still kind of intriguing. There were other reviews at that site, too - did you watch any of them? I haven't had a chance. I'm so far behind in classwork! Sigh.

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  10. I loooooooove this series! I think it's so wonderful - I couldn't put it down - Do you know if this is it for the series or if she's coming out with another book?

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  11. Emily - I don't know officially, but I'll see what I can find out about that. This book does conclude one major storyline, but there are lots of new elements introduced, and things that still need to be dealt with, so I'm thinking there will be more to come. At least I hope so!

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  12. I really loved it. I could barley tear myself away from it at night. And I'm still hoping on Pritkin ;-)

    It'll be torture waiting for the next book !

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  13. Denise - I'm glad you loved it, too! I hate the waiting - I'm with you. Have you tried the first one in her new series? It might help to tide you over... :-)

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  14. No, I haven't tried it yet. I guess that I'm a little afraid that I won't like it.. It's been like that with other authors.
    But if you recommend it, perhaps I'll give it a try :-)

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  15. I was reluctant at first to try it for the same reason - I really wanted Cassie! I went in a bit skeptical, but it won me over. Plus there is crossover of characters from the Cassandra books. My review is here if you want to take a look. There is a short story you might want to read first, which I mention in the review. Let me know what you think if you take the plunge!

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  16. I'm reading the 4th book now. And loving it, of course. Can't wait to finish it, but don't really want it to end.
    Great characters and background story, as usual. If you haven't read it yet, I hope you do soon :-)

    Jumping to the anthology you recommended after this..

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  18. I'm sorry if my comments are doubled, something is wrong with this computer.. :)

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  19. Denise - thanks so much for the heads up on that one - I hadn't realized it had already been released! I nipped over to my library's website and put it on hold. Unfortunately there's a bit of a waiting list, but it's not as though I don't have a huge pile of books to read in the meantime. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it!

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  20. I know, I thought it wouldn't be out until April. But then I just found it, and guess if I was happy :-D
    Now I've finished it and I'm pretty sure that a fifth one will come - because it didn't feel like an ending...

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  21. That's great to hear - I'll be very sad when the series is over. I can't wait to read it! I hope my copy comes in soon.

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