Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Touch the Dark

I've been reading so much nonfiction lately that I hit my end: I had to read fiction.  So I grabbed Touch the Dark by Karen Chance, a book that I was planning on reading right before I ended up with a bunch of nonfiction library books I had to get through first.  So yesterday I grabbed it for something to read while waiting for my doctor's appointment.  I read a good chunk of it there, then came home and just kept reading, finishing it at like 3 or 4am.

Touch the Dark is the story of Cassandra Palmer, a seer who was raised by vampires.  She's been on the run from the one who raised her for years (she had previously gone to the cops and effectively destroyed his then business dealings and he wants revenge).  Realizing he's finally found her, she's about to run again but this time she wanted to say goodbye to her roommate (this was the first time she had someone else dependent on her and didn't want to leave him in the lurch).  The vampires catch up to her at the club where he works, but he manages to fend most of them off because he happens to be a vampire too (Cassie is right betrayed because she had no idea).  He takes her to the Vampire Senate, where they want to offer her protection in exchange for her help.

From here things get a bit weird for a bit.  Cassie has a ghost helper, Billy-Joe, who tells her the guy who killed her parents is nearby. So she hops out the window to go talk to him (and maybe kill him? I honestly don't know what her plan was here). I thought the guy was a vampire and Cassie didn't really have much luck dealing with multiple vampires on her own, but it turns out he was a satyr (which was extra weird because she had just been talking to the ghost about faerie and how faeries couldn't exist when this satyr shows up, so I don't know).  Anyway, the vampire guardians and this crazy mage find her somehow (magically?  I don't know, wasn't very clear), then there's a showdown in the parking lot with them and Cassandra versus the satyrs who turn out to be part were-rats.  Plus some evil (?) mages show up too.  Cassie and Billy-Joe work some magic of their own, accidentally popping Cass out of her body and into the past.  After she gets back from that adventure, she pops out of her body to possess one of the evil mages.

After that craziness passes, the good made, Pritkin, freaks out because Cassie shouldn't be able to do the things she just did and therefore must be a demon.  He attempts to kill her right in front of the vampires, who don't take too kindly to that (but can't kill him because that would start a war with his mages).  They eventually manage to convince him that Cassie is not a demon (and suggest that he was sent to kill her because he has a one-track mind).

Somewhere around here, it's revealed that Cassie may be the heir to the Pythia, a powerful seer who is sort of the arbiter between the various supernatural factions.  Mircea, a powerful master vampire, tries to have sex with Cassie, believing it's the only way to make sure she is a suitable candidate for the Pythia's power (there's a rumour going around that the power won't go to a virgin).  There's a super long sex scene where he agrees to answer her questions in exchange for pleasuring her (it's kind of weird and goes on forever - over like two chapters).  She's into him, but keeps refusing sex because deep down she doesn't want to be trapped with the Pythia's power.

Before Mircea can actually do the deed, they're interrupted because the Senate is under attack.  Around here, Mircea and Cassie travel back in time because they've figured out that the bad guys are doing the same: they're travelling back in time to change the past so events go the way they want to.  They have sex in the past in other bodies (because why not?) then have a showdown with the bad guys: Rasputin and the missing heir to the Pythia (a seer who was trained from birth to become the next Pythia).  Cassie hopes the missing heir is under Rasputin's coercion, but that appears to not be the case when the heir attempts to murder her.  Time stops and the actual Pythia (who is dying) shows up and tells Cassie that too bad for whatever she wanted, she is going to be the new Pythia (it turns out the whole losing your virginity rumour was just something a seer from the past started because people weren't letting her take a lover. I thought that was funny).  So Cassie and Mircia stop Rasputin and the heir (who get away), and save their future.

As you may have gathered from my synopsis, this book was weird.  Very weird.  I didn't think I liked it too much at the beginning, but then Billy-Joe showed up and it got pretty fun.  Billy-Joe was a gambler who thought he was god's gift to women - some of his banter back and forth with Cassie was hilarious (Cassie was the only one who could really talk to him).  Since no one else could really see him, he made a great spy, but Billy-Joe being who he is, he had a habit of wandering off and otherwise not being super reliable.  He was just fun.

I liked Mircia (he's a master vampire who is related to Dracula) and Louis-Cesar (another master vampire, and the dueling champion of Europe) as well.  The way the two different master vampires were was pretty fun, and I felt like Chance really nailed how Mircia would think of mortals.  Also, putting together Louis-Cesar's past from the snippets of memory Cassie Saw was rather fun.  But outside of this, the book felt like a bit of a mess plot-wise, almost like it needed to be split into two to be more coherent (or just heavily edited to be more coherent?  I don't know).  I read the synopsis for the next books in the series and they didn't really sound too appealing, so I'm probably not going to read any more.  But that's okay.  I'm glad I gave this one a try, and had some fun along the way. :)

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