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Friday, June 10, 2011

'Hunt the Moon' Cassandra Palmer #5 by Karen Chance

From the BLURB:

Cassandra Palmer recently defeated a god, which you'd think would buy a girl a little time off. But it doesn't work that way when your new job description is Pythia — the world's chief clairvoyant. Cassie is busier than ever, trying to learn about her power, preparing for her upcoming coronation, and figuring out her relationship with the enigmatic sexy master vampire, Mircea.

But someone doesn't want Cassie to become Pythia, and is willing to go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens—including attacking her mother before Cassie is even born.

Two months ago Cassie Palmer was crowned Pythia of the supernatural realm. Now Cassie is seer to every fantastical community in the world today – vampires, mages and fey – it’s Cassie’s job to keep track of the past, present and future for all of them. Sure, there have been a few hiccups along the way – like Cassie’s accidental mating (marrying) to a vampire master of the Senate, her child-hood crush, Mircea. Not to mention that pesky God who tried to kill her . . .

But now all Cassie needs to worry about is her coronation. She gets to wear a pretty dress, smile for the paparazzi and begin her official reign as Pythia. . .

Except that this is Cassie Palmer. The words ‘safe’ and ‘easy’ are no longer in her vocabulary. Even with her ‘husband’ Mircea guarding her 24/7, and her dark mage, Pritkin, on body-guard duty, Cassie still finds a way to get into trouble. This time in the form of a possession – someone or something has control of Cassie’s body, and she’s trying to kill herself. When research into her enemies uncovers ties to Greek, Norse and Hindu mythology, Cassie must stretch her Pythia abilities beyond the limit . . .

‘Hunt the Moon’ is the fifth book in Karen Chance’s ‘Cassandra Palmer’ series.

We haven’t had a Cassie Palmer book since 2009. Unfortunately, Karen Chance had a few medical problems that had her running behind schedule on the series, and unable to promote the books. So 2011 is a glorious return for our girl Cassie – and she has been sorely missed. Reading ‘Hunt the Moon’ is enjoyment unto itself for being such a frolicking, helter-skelter joy ride. . . but more than that it’s just plain wonderful to catch up with these old friends who have been sorely missed.

The ‘Cassie Palmer’ series is always on full-throttle. From book one, ‘Touch the Dark’, Cassie has been on the run. First from her mob-boss vampire guardian, Tony, and then from the many and varied supernatural beings who were unhappy with her new Pythia status. Each book has followed the same peddle-to-the-metal speedy storyline; in fact, there’s a moment in ‘Hunt the Moon’ when Cassie reflects on her hectic life of late, and she states that she has only been Pythia for two months. Two months! From book one to this, the fifth instalment; the entire timeline trajectory has been two months . . . that’s a short bout of time to stretch over five books. But somehow Karen Chance does it seamlessly. Cassie is forever on the run, avoiding death and escaping enemies – she never stands still, but the adrenaline of the series is part of the charm. Everything seems heightened and grandiose in light of all Cassie’s impending dangers. And because Cassie can jump ahead and back in time (one of her many Pythia powers) the timeline feels quite malleable and never stunted (trust me, it was a shock to read that by book five, we’re still only two months into Cassie’s story!).

‘Hunt the Moon’ rides pretty closely on the coattails of ‘Curse the Dawn’. At the end of the fourth book we learnt some interesting factoids about beloved character (and one of Cassie’s romantic contenders), the mage Pritkin. We leant more about Pritkin’s past as Merlin (yes, the Merlin!) and his heritage as an incubus. Following those character clues, this fifth book delves even deeper into Pritkin’s past, and his evolving relationship with Cassie . . . since the beginning of the series Chance has written two very convincing love interests for Cassie. The first is Pritkin, someone who started out prickly and was one of Cassie’s biggest nay-sayers, but who has evolved into a viable love interest for our girl. Fans who are firmly entrenched in Team Pritkin will LOVE this fifth book for the baby-steps she takes in deepening Pritkin and Cassie’s connection.

The second romantic alternative is Mircea – Cassie’s childhood crush and current vampire husband. Now, fans should know by now that Karen Chance likes to keep Cassie’s romance neck-and-neck, so as much as Cassie’s relationship with Pritkin is altering, so too is her relationship with Mircea deepening. In this book Chance keeps Team Mircea happy by offering up some seriously sizzling sex scenes, and a show of trust between Cassie and her vampire husband. But for all that their relationship is coming leaps and bounds, you can tell that a long talk between Cassie and Mircea is long overdue, especially when his protectiveness becomes almost stifling, and Cassie feels like en eleven-year-old under his watch;

"It is not the same! You are this." He gripped my arms, hard enough to bruise. "You are flesh, soft and sweet and yielding and vulnerable. You need protection, but I can't -"
"Mircea! They've been trying to kill me for three days and I'm still here."
"Due to luck!"
I stared at him. "Then I must be the luckiest person alive!"
He just looked at me, and I'd never seen that expression on his face before, like he was really going to lose it. There was something going on here, some issue I didn't understand. But there was no time to figure it out.
"I have to fix this," I told him, as clearly and calmly as I could. "If you want to help me, then help me. Don't shield me, don't protect me, don't bury me alive. Help me."

I must admit that I have always been pretty firmly entrenched in Team Mircea – I quite like that he’s dark and mysterious, suave and seasoned. I enjoy Pritkin as an amusing and combustible character, but I have never been entirely convinced of him as a romantic interest for Cassie. However after reading ‘Hunt the Moon’ I am now utterly torn as to who I want Cassie to end up with. After a certain steamy scene I can now picture Pritkin as a romantic hero; and while I am still smitten with Mircea, I can now more firmly understand Cassie’s future love dilemma.

If I have any complaints about ‘Hunt the Moon’ it’s that there is a lot of action. I mean, a LOT. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that so much kick-butt action means pages and pages of summary. Pages of Cassie describing a fight that takes place on train tracks, and then inside train carriages; running around Piccadilly and a ballroom stampede. Now, I like the action and the storyline certainly calls for such high-octane scenes, but Chance’s action scenes don’t always flow. . . sometimes they seem stilted and clunky and overly descriptive until numerous pages of adrenaline become exhausting to read (to the point that you hope for a nice, quiet scene in which the characters just chat. Maybe have a cup of tea.) To be fair, I only believe this of Chance’s more complex, multi-character action scenes. My favourite moment in ‘Hunt the Moon’ comes early on, when Cassie is wrestling with her possessed body as she tries to drown herself in a bathtub. This scene was nuanced and chilling; Chance wrote it beautifully so that it had a claustrophobic and cinematic quality. Perfection.

‘Hunt the Moon’ is Cassie Palmer’s grand re-entrance. After a year-long hiatus Karen Chance has bought our beloved psychic back; and she’s better than ever. Her love life is complicated, ten-fold. Her body is possessed and demi-gods are out to kill her – so situation normal for our girl Cass. ‘Hunt the Moon’ is a deliciously frantic fight for Cassie’s life as her role of Pythia gets her in trouble, yet again. I have missed Cassie, so this fifth instalment is a welcome return for a beloved urban fantasy author in a series that I hope has no end in sight!

4/5

5 comments:

  1. Great review hon!

    I LOVE this series and Im reading this now as well LOL

    Im TEAM PRITKIN, so Im glad to know that he's getting his moment in this book LOL

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  2. I´M TEAM MIRCEA,HE´S JUST THE PERFECT GUY FOR CASSIE, I THINK THAT AFTER SOME PROBLEMS THEY ARE GONNA ENDED UP TOGETHER AND PRITKIN WILL BE THE JACOB IN THIS STORY.

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  3. fabulous fabulous review I love this series too

    I'm torn about which team to choose because both guys are so fab in their own way and both have elements I adore

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  4. I just finished the book and I really hope that Cassie could save Pritkin in the 6th... And I'm team Pritkin too since the 3rd book in fact X').

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  5. TEAM PRITKIN all the way.... I just feel that Cassie and Pritkin are meant to be <3 (reminds me of Whitney Houston's movie BODYGUARD <3<3)...

    it just seems to me that Cassie trusts Pritkin more than Mircea. Hope they'll end up together in the end...we can't have a vampire getting the girl again in a story XD

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