Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance

Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance (Published April 2007)

Why was this on my TBR pile? WHY!!! Apologies for any SHOUTING in this review and the overuse of the word love.

Well I seem to remember the first book finishing on something of a cliffhanger and I also have book 3 in my TBR pile so I was probably not wanting to get caught in the same cliffhanger twice. (Well different cliffhanger but same problem). Books like this are what TBR Wednesday is all about - finding that hidden gem you've somehow forgotten about.

I have to admit here to only having a vague memory of Book 1 when I started Claimed by Shadow, though having read Book 2 most of it has come back to me. I do remember having a problem with some infodumping in Touch the Dark (Bk1) and that Karen Chance is very good at writing first lines.

The first line situation is still the same
Any day that starts off in a demon-filled bar in a casino designed to look like Hell isn't likely to turn out well.
But the info-dumping? Gone. Or at least become so much smoother and integrated into the plot that I didn't notice it. If Karen Chance wasn't already an author I knew, I would add her to my breakout author list for 2008. This book was that good. Even though I spent a fair bit of time confused about what the hell was going on, especially at the beginning. Mainly because Claimed by Shadow does not pick up smoothly from the end of Touch the Dark, as you may have gathered from the first line. However, I do think on a second read through things will gel together more, and I'm a big fan of books with high re-readability.

I can't really think of anything I didn't like about the book. (Except maybe another cliff hangery ending :(, but HAH! I have learnt my lesson on that score and Book 3 is ready on the TBR pile).

So quickly onto the things I loved.

PRITKIN! OMG I love Pritkin even more after this book. He and Cassie have such chemistry and mutual dislike and secret unspoken (probably never to be acted on) attraction.
I couldn't recall Pritkin ever believing anything I said; it kind of made me wonder why he bothered talking to me at all.
Methinks they both protest too much. I love the way his temper explodes at inopportune moments and narks Cassie off. And he gets his shirt off and gets a tattoo in this book...

Mircea. Now I love me some vamps. And in any other story (that didn't feature Pritkin) Mircea would be far and away my favourite character. He has such a dark sensual presence, :sigh: if only I weren't such a Pritkin fan. I very much like that the relationship between Mircea and Cassie is an ongoing thing, rather than it being easily resolved.

There is a little Macbeth theme going on here as well. I love Shakespeare, so this appealed to me. I don't know how much of it was intentional and how much happy accident. But in a couple of places I picked out quotes from the play. They also visit a performace of Macbeth and the Graeae are referred to as the weird sisters. Makes me wish I was more familiar with the play, in case it was intentional.

The plot itself, starts with a bang and doesn't let go. This does mean that moments of internal reflection are few and far between. Some terrible things happen and Cassie doesn't really get a chance to process them, she just has to cope with each impending crisis as it looms. So this is something of a rollercoaster ride, leaving you frantically turning the pages wanting to know what happens next. But it works. Cassie is a character (not dissimilar to Kate Daniels) who things just happen to. She's almost like a magnet for bad karma.

The book is chock full of snappy banter and quotable dialogue. And though some characters only appear briefly they have a big impact on the storyline. Claimed by Shadow made me smile, made me teary and made me hungry for the next book. Highly recommended (I think Ilona Andrews fans would like this series, if they aren't reading it already).

Book 1 - Touch the Dark
Book 3 - Embrace the Night
Book 4 - Curse the Dawn (April 2009)

Arrggghhh April is too far away and I may crack and read Book 3 sooner than that.

But, looks like Karen Chance has a new series set in the same Universe.

Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1) October 2008. :)


Nicole said...

I really want to read the first one, and this review (skimmed to avoid spoilers) makes me want to read the whole series. Cool - and thanks!

LesleyW said...

Nicole - I have a review for the first one as well, somewhere back in the past. Will tag them as Cassie Palmer. Bear with the info dumping in the first book, 'cause this second book rocks.

Carolyn Jean said...

That is so funny that you complained about the info dumping in the first book. That feature made it a total DNF for me. Maybe I need to skip to the second. Can I do that?

Bridget Locke said...

I really enjoyed this series as well. Don't know a lot of people who have read it, but I try to recommend it whenever I get a chance. :)

DonnaB said...

I know I read the first book of this series and this one is on my TBR shelf. The fact that it's still there means I had a problem with book 1, but not enough of a problem to write off book 2.


Maybe I should push this one higher on the TBR pile.

Naomi said...

I found Touch the Dark really hard work, and don't plan to read the next one, but Midnight's Daughter looks really intriguing. I know I'm going to pick it up, and I'll just hope the problems I had with TtD don't crop up there!

kmont said...

I have had my eye on this series almost every time I'm on Amazon shopping for books. Good to know about the info dumping, which has turned me off a couple of books this year. Still, the series sounds worth checking out. Thanks!

LesleyW said...

Carolyn Jean - I'd give a reserved yes. The info-dumping (I had a problem with that in book 1 as well) is gone. There is no stopping mid-action to explain something, or to give us a history lesson. Everything is much more seamless and integrated into the dialogue and action. If you need an easy breakdown of Book 1 I can give you one. :)

But I remembered very little of what happened in Book 1 before I started Book 2, so I think you can probably pick up stuff as you go along.

LesleyW said...

Bridget - I would recommend it based on Book 2, which as I think everyone could tell - I loved.

Donna - Yeah, push it a little higher up that TBR pile. I must admit if it wasn't for TBR day I probably wouldn't have got round to reading it, but I'm very glad I did.

LesleyW said...

Naomi - I found Claimed by Shadow a much easier read, so I think Karen Chance has settled into her writing more. Midnight's Daughter looks to be an offshoot of this series - so more sexy vampires. :)

KMont - I'd almost recommend that you read Book 2 before Book 1. One of the things I forgot to comment on in my review was how we don't find out until page 200 and something that Mircea made it back from the past at the end of book 1. Maybe we were just meant to assume that he was okay at the end of Touch the Dark but I thought he was stuck back there.

li said...

Oh, Karen Chance is one of my fave authors! And book 3 is even better :-)

And it's funny, but I remember reading the 1st book and getting completely lost, and then on a whim, doing a reread and loving it (maybe because I actually understood what was happening!).

The info-dumping didn't bother me that much in the 1st book - it was more the breakneck pace of the plot (which has been fixed in the next two books, IMO).

Leslie said...

I've got the first 3 on my TBR pile. Looks like I need to get to them sooner rather than later.

Great review!

Liviania said...

The third is even better on being non-confusing. There's a review of it on my site, either in April or May.

I adore Pritkin. I agree absolutely that Mircea would be my favorite except for him.

LesleyW said...

Li - I've just ordered Midnight's Daughter. I get the feeling I have to read the third book of the Cassie Palmer series before I start that one. Anyone who knows differently please let me know.

Leslie - Glad you liked the review. Yep you've got three good books to look forward to reading. I had problems with the first but I'm glad I stuck with the series as I just loved the second book.

Liviana - Prikin fans unite! I will check out your review of the third book, it's going to be a few weeks before I get to read it, as there are other books that I've got to read first. I'm determined to be organized for October and have my TBR review ready to go for a change.

Anonymous said...

Great review. I knew you'd love this book, because of the Pritkin aspect. I've got to get Midnight's Daughter...

LesleyW said...

Scooper - I have Midnight's Daughter but I'm determined not to read it until I've read Cassie Palmer Book 3. So many books and not enough time!