Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series (a series of urban fantasy novels) really grabbed me hard a few months ago. (see the “Last 5 Books I’ve Read” section here.) I read the entire thing straight through really fast (because they all continue into each other, and I had to see what happened!) – and then, at the end, I went back to the beginning and have been re-reading them since, more slowly and carefully.
As I’m pretty much always reading more than one book at any given moment, I’ve been also interspersing some of Karen Chance’s other books around the re-read: some short stories…and then there’s her other, newer, novel series, following the character of Dorina Basarab (of which I just finished the first one.) Karen Chance writes all of her books in the world of the Cassie novels (at least, everything I’ve ever found from her) – so even when I’m not reading the series that directly follows Cassie, I’m reading about some of the same events and people from other perspectives. Which I’m finding interesting!
They’re fun books – fun in the crazy, fast-paced way that a well-done action film or thriller is fun (one imbued with vampires and werewolves and witches and ghosts and other supernatural elements!) That style of book (or movie) is like a roller coaster. It pulls you completely out of your own life and thrusts you into somebody else’s – and holds you there via all of these adrenaline-inducing and life-threatening problems that need to be solved.
I’m not always in the mood for that kind of reading – but I apparently am right now (and have been for the last few months.) And these are very satisfactory that way!
Being urban fantasy, with a decided romantic bent, that “action/thriller” element means that when Cassie (or Dorina, or whoever else) isn’t battling for her life (or her friends’ lives…or for, like, the world), she’s dealing with the aforementioned supernatural elements (which Karen Chance handles more entertainingly than almost any other author I’ve read in this genre) – not to mention her chaotic love life. Added to that, Cassie’s main power is the ability to shift through time – which means that there’s a historical ambiance sometimes as well, which I enjoy. An interesting take on mythology too. And Dracula. And the King Arthur legends.
If this is beginning to sound as if these books are crammed FULL – it’s because they really, really are! But somehow, it comes together.
Again, it’s fun reading. It’s pretty much perfect reading for the poolside – those times when I’m sitting in the sun, minding my swimming kids (and being interrupted a lot to do things like time them for how long they can hold their breath, or referee whose turn it is to use which inflatable toy.)
I don’t want to put my head into stories that are dark or depressing when I’m simultaneously juggling moments like those – and these novels aren’t that. But I also don’t enjoy frivolous fluff reading much either. Karen Chance hits a good balance.
Cassie particularly is on something of a traditional “hero’s journey” – coming to know herself as she works to basically save the world. She’s been thrust into a role that almost constantly tests her and, as such, is forcing her personal growth. It lends deeper levels to an ongoing story that is predominantly entertaining.
I like the way she (Cassie) throws herself into new things and learns as she goes – even when nobody things she’s capable. She gets frustrated with that and she doubts herself – but yet she grits her teeth and keeps going. And she grows.
I think that (watching her work through things…experiencing all of that along with her) is kind of speaking to me right now – and has been, for the last several months. I think that’s a large part of why these books have sucked me in.
That – and of course the fact that I just really want to see what happens next!