Three years ago Cassandra Palmer betrayed the vampire mafioso who killed her parents, to the human authorities. According to a cryptic computer message her past has finally caught up with her and it's time to run again. However, when escaping is no longer an option, she has to turn to the Vampire Senate for protection, but their help doesn't come for free.
Karen Chance can tell a rollicking good story. Her characters are fantastic, her dialogue is witty. And she is very good at building up sexual tension.
She starts off with a great first line:-
"I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the obituary. The fact that it had my name on it was sort of a clue."
The story powerhouses from there.
Some of it is hysterically funny. Possibly my favourite section of the book is when they're trying to get Jimmy out of the cage. It's like a textbook example of things rapidly going from bad to worse. And when Cassie initially possesses Tomas and is telling Louis-Cesare to shut up, and LC thinks it's Tomas (not understanding it's Cassie in there), is just hilarious. Karen Chance pulls this three-way conversation off brilliantly.
I love how all her characters are individuals with their own little quirks. Pritkin in particular. It's a great name and fits him to a tee. He reminded me of a banty rooster with apoplexy whenever he came on-page.
However, even though I loved the story I did have a few problems.
The author often stops in the middle of the action to infodump - whether it's on magical wards during the first fight scene, why people become ghosts, or magical theory. It's annoying. Yes, I'm interested in this stuff if it's going to be important to the story, but not halfway through some major action.
The number of times that other characters say to Cassie either that she belongs to the Silver Circle, or that she is a sybil. And she just ignores them. The reader has clearly heard the comments but somehow they pass Cassie by. This happens not once, but on several occasions. She doesn't question this 'til page 223. It's as if she has selective deafness.
Things happen and I wasn't always clear about what's going on or who's present. Cassie needs to pay better attention to her surroundings so it's not so confusing for the reader. You wouldn't know people were in the same room as Cassie until they started talking or fighting, then it's like `Who are these people?'.
Finally the ending, which I think in another story might have annoyed me. There isn't really a conclusion as such. Do we assume that the good guys won the day? Cassie left Mircea in the past, we never come back to the future, so we don't know for sure what happened. But somehow this ending fits with the rest of the story. I wasn't disappointed I just wanted to get onto the next book.