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Monday, May 05, 2008

Touch the Dark


**** Touch the Dark by Karen Chance. Contemporary fantasy.









Cassandra Palmer is a clairvoyant who can speak to the dead (or is that a clairvoyant who can see the future? I can never remember the definitions of various psychic classifications, and online dictionaries appear to be just as confused as I am). Anyway, she can see the future and speak to the dead, and she was raised by a vampire after the death of her parents.

She's been on the run for three years, never getting too close to anyone for fear of putting them in danger. But when she sees her obituary on her computer, and knows it's time to run again, she forgets her own rule and waits to warn her roommate Tomas, and they're attacked by vampires, Tomas turns out to be more than he seemed, and she ends up before the vampire Senate, where various supernatural groups are vying for control over her.

I have mixed feelings about Touch the Dark. On plus side, there's a lot of politics and intrigue, and I always love that sort of thing. Give me a good conspiracy over a physical fight any day. And there's a plethora of supernatural types, which keeps things interesting.

On the negative side, there was a plot thread about a required/ritual sex act that felt forced and a little bit juvenile/squicky. Aside: there's just something about the way certain sex scenes are written that feels dirty, and not in a good way, while another author could write the same characters doing the same things, and it would be sexy or hot. It always makes me think the author's uncomfortable with the scene and that discomfort gets passed on to the reader. Maybe it's just me.

Worse was the frequent interruption of the plot for backstory. Every time I'd get caught up in the action, there'd be a long pause for a history lesson. It made it too hard to really become immersed in the story, and too easy to put the book down for a break.

I haven't decided yet if I'll read the second book. I did enjoy the premise, but I'm not sure if it's different enough from all the other paranormal series out there to bother with, and while I understand that Touch the Dark is a first book, series don't always improve with time. If you've read the second book, I'd love to hear what you thought of it, to help me make my decision.


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