Cassandra Palmer is hiding from her past. She grew up in a world of supernatural beings and violence. Orphaned at a young age, she was raised in the vampire mafia, who used her clairvoyant talents for their own gain. She escaped, but finds they will not let her go so easily. She is forced under the protection of the Senate, a council of powerful vampires, where she finds a different kind of threat. Her clairvoyant visions begin taking her back in time and she is able to affect events around here-- a definite change. Somehow this is all tied into a rebellious vampire scheming to take over the Senate.
Touch the Dark by Karen Chance is one of those books that straddles genres. While there are vampires and violence, I wouldn't classify this as strictly dark fantasy. There's a bit of mystery as Cassie tries to figure out her visions, as well as the motives of those around her and her place in the future of the Senate. And there's also a bit of romance between Cassie and a certain vampire.
The voice is darkly urban and reminded me a bit of cyberpunk, but without the cyber. A somewhat modernly gothic feel pervades the novel. The plot is fast paced and draws you in quicker than you realize. From being chased by Tony's thugs to being caught up in the Senate's plans, once Cassie's flight starts the action never ends. Cassie is a strong heroine who handles all that is thrown at her with poise and dry humor. Too often female characters become weak in the presence of vampire magnetism, but Cassie is able to hold her own when confronted with seduction. I enjoyed following her story and meeting those around her, especially her sometimes accomplice, Billy Jo, the ghostly remains of an 1880's gambler.
Although I enjoyed Touch the Dark, I was not entirely satisfied with the ending. She is safe from Tony and her mysterious visions are worked out, but Cassie's story is not quite finished at the end of this book. Many questions are unanswered and her future is far from decided. While I see great potential for a follow-up novel, I prefer to see a little more closure in a single story. That said, I would still recommend this book.
Touch the Dark by Karen Chance is an interesting take on the vampire mythos that includes all kinds of supernatural forces and beings. Cassie is the perfect heroine-- interesting and strong. Her story is exciting and will keep you turning pages to see where she is headed. If you like your fantasy a little on the dark side with a touch of romance, this is a great choice. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
Touch the Dark is available at Amazon.com
The author provided my with a free review copy of Touch the Dark