Touch the Dark ~ Karen Chance

  • Title:  Touch the Dark
  • Author:  Karen Chance
  • Series:  Cassandra Palmer #1
  • Genre:  Urban Fantasy
  • Format:  audio book
  • Source:  Overdrive library
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  3 out of 5

Description:  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….

Review:  ***Warning*** there be spoilers ahead.

Sometimes it just isn’t fair to review a book. This book is just full of things I don’t like. Starting with vampires. And, then, sex scenes. And, ending with historical figures and retooling of histories and time travel. Therefore, I begin my listen already predisposed to NOT like it. I suppose the fact that I didn’t hate it speaks volumes.

First of all, Alexandre Dumas being one of my favorite authors of all time – so much so that I have a collection of his works in highlighted position in my library (ok, honestly, they are the only actual books that still reside in said library other than cookbook) and my eldest son was much loved that he survived his destruction of at least 2 of these books – I recognized the Man in the (not) Iron Mask immediately.

When it comes to time travel, I agree with Kathryn Janeway. “Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet captain I swore I’d never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes – the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache.” Okay, I’ve never been a Starfleet captain, but you get the idea. I typically do not enjoy “let’s go back in time and see how we can re-do things” stories. I prefer an all original idea (of which I realize there are precious few) to a re-telling of other stories – no matter how many you pull together in a tale.

Vampires. The more I read about them, the more I hate them. A recent discussion topic helped me to clarify why. And this book just cemented it. Politics. I flat do not have the time or patience to deal with politics. Vamps are all about politics. Who is besting whom – who is meaner than whom – who has more power than the other guy. Just. Not. Fun. Don’t like it. But, as I listened to this, I wondered if part of the fascination besides the sexiness (which, frankly, I don’t get – it always seems like a hostage situation to me) is the age. Most vampires seem to be born around Victorian times – do we still romanticize those times.

Anyway, I digress. Touch the Dark. Sex scenes. As regular readers of my reviews know, I do not enjoy sex scenes. They make me feel like a voyeur. Typically, I skim over them just enough to follow the story without actually immersing myself in the scene. Couldn’t do that here. Because, well first of all it was an audio book – hard to skim over those – though I have been known to press the skip button. But, mostly, because the story is wrapped around and through the sex scenes. Very important information is being doled out while Mircea is trying to convince Cassie that sex is a good thing. And, imperative. So, I couldn’t skip it. Bleh.

In addition to the inability to skip them – they irritated me. Cassie has sex several different ways – as a man when she time shifts into Louis – and as a woman when she time shifts into his lover with Mircea who time shifted into Louis – and she and Mircea come so close as to be good enough. Yet. She still tries to pass herself off as a ‘virgin’ and not able to take on the duties of ‘Prythia.’ I call shenanigans. I think this was biggest eye rolling part of the entire story to me. It just made me mad – all those sex scenes that were forced onto me (yes, forced I say!) and they ultimately have no meaning. Psh.

Lastly, the reader of this book was not among my favorites. You could probably place her at the other end of the spectrum, though I am trying to be nice. Her voice constantly switches back and forth between her head voice and her chest voice – the tenor of her voice kept changing – and I found it very distracting and uncomfortable. Her expressions and accents were decent, but I couldn’t get past the tone. And, if I heard the word douchaka one more time, I think I might have screamed.

So, what did I like. A very good question. The pace of the story is very good. Cassie is well spoken and extremely snarky. Her humor kept me in the story. As did the mystery itself. Why did she keep going back in time? Who were her parents? What exactly was Mircea up to? Who was the pixie? So many questions. Ultimately, to me, the ending was a bit of a let down. It felt like many of the questions were answered in one brief chapter and poof – the book was over. We were not given the information to deduce the answers – the answers just arrived in a flash of smoke. The fun in a mystery is working out the solution. If I don’t have the means to work out the solution, the journey itself had best be outstanding. Or, don’t present a mystery.

So. I gave this book 3 stars. It was OK. Really not my kind of book – but I finished it. I even have the 2nd book checked out. While there were many, MANY things I did not like – it still entertained me. That is not an easy task.


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