Title: Touch the Dark
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #1
Pub. Date: June 2006
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance/Paranormal/Time Travel
From Goodreads: In the hot-blooded vein of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake saga and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, Karen Chance’s debut novel is a contemporary dark fantasy revolving around a gutsy female protagonist with supernatural abilities that blends mystery and romance with hair-raising horror. Cassie Palmer, a powerful clairvoyant who works part-time at an Atlanta club reading Tarot cards, is finding it difficult to escape her past. Orphaned at a young age and brought up by the undead, Cassie has the ability to communicate with the spirit realm, and her powers were abused time and time again by a ruthless master vampire named Tony. It’s been three years since Cassie — a self-described “ghost magnet” — has been free of the centuries-old bloodsucker, but now he’s back and eager to reclaim his human possession. Forced to turn to the Senate (a group of “really old vamps” who make laws for the supernatural community) for protection, Cassie is thrown into a complex conflict where control of the entire supernatural world is at stake. Rasputin (yes, the Mad Monk himself), a power-hungry vampire, is killing off the Senate members one by one. Aided by some impressive allies — including Dracula’s older brother, Mircea — Cassie must use everything in her paranormal arsenal to fight the encroaching evil — and somehow stay alive. Fans of authors like Hamilton, Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, and Charlaine Harris will undoubtedly enjoy this fast-paced, blood-sucking romp through the supernatural underworld — yet another noteworthy addition to the ever-growing subgenre of fantasy/romance/mystery hybrids. Paul Goat Allen
My Reveries and Ramblings: The Cassandra Palmer series is really interesting. Karen Chance does a wonderful job of combining paranormal with mystery and romance. Touch the Dark starts with the protagonist, Cassandra Palmer, nicknamed Cassie, living in hiding. She has been on the run for three years from her vampire “master,” Tony. He killed her parents and took her in as a clairvoyant when she was a little girl. Now, in her 20s, Cassie works as a tarot card reader at the same club as her roommate, Tomas. One night Tony’s men come to find her, and kill her. She manages to escape, thanks to a mysterious tattoo and Tomas. Cassie is now in the hands of the vampire Senate and Lord Mircea. All Cassie wants to do is be free-she doesn’t want to belong to Mircea, Tony, or the Senate. Simply running away isn’t going to help. Those who don’t want to control her, want her dead because she has inherited the powerful pythia’s power.
Touch the Dark is filled with time traveling, sexy men and vampires, and a lot of action scenes. Cassandra Palmer has one goal in mind-to get her father’s ghost from Tony and be free. Everything she does is to get that done. She doesn’t want power. She doesn’t want to be under the protection of Mircea and the vampires. By inheriting the pythia’s power, Cassie finds herself thrown back in time. This is mostly because Myra, the girl who was supposed to become the next pythia, has decided to mess with the timeline.
Lord Mircea, a very sexy vampire, has appointed himself as Cassandra’s protector. He knew where she was when she “ran away.” I’d love to believe that he loves Cassandra, but I’m not sure. His actions show that he does. But at the same time he’s a first class manipulator so I’m not sure. Same thing with Tomas, I think he has feelings for Cassandra, but at the same time, not too sure.
Karen Chance made sure the reader is never bored. There is so much going on that you feel like you ran a marathon by the end of the book. The only problem I had was that I felt thrown into the middle of everything. There were so many action scenes, I would have loved it if the story slowed down for bit. The time traveling scenes were a bit confusing, but still quite interesting to read. The series is quite interesting-mixing mages/magic, vampires, fey, and even historical figures into a series of books. I will definitely keep reading the series.