on 24 October 2008
MIDNIGHT'S DAUGHTER is Karen Chance's fourth novel, her first three being of the Cassandra Palmer series, and it is set in the same world with some of the characters we became familiar with in her previous novels.
If you haven't read the Cassie Palmer series, then I would highly recommend it, but have no fear because MIDNIGHT'S DAUGHTER can easily be read as a stand alone novel, although I do think readers of Chance's other work will get more from this novel.
The main heroine is Dorina Basarab, a 500-year old dhampir (half-human, half-vampire). Seeing as dhampirs tend to live very short, violent lives, hated and feared by vampires and humans alike, Dorina has done very well for herself. She's managed to retain her sanity by making sure she unleashes her anger on those who deserve it the most, demons and rogue vampires. The only reason the Senate (sort of Vampire Government) have allowed her to live this long is because of who her father is - Mircea Basarab, the darkly dangerous and seductive vampire lover of Cassie in TOUCH THE DARK, CLAIMED BY SHADOW and EMBRACE THE NIGHT. Now 'Daddy Dearest', as she calls him (just to get on his nerves), needs her help because her uncle Dracula has escaped from prison, and he is renouned for his cruelty and murderous ways even amongst the vampires...
I prefered Dornia as the main protagonist over Cassie, because she can really take care of herself - there are some delightful scenes where she wrestles for superiority and control with Louis-Cesare, the master vampire Mircea wants her to work with in order to capture 'Uncle Drac'. Previous readers of Chance will recognise him from the Cassie Palmer series, and we really get to know more about him and his past in MIDNIGHT'S DAUGHTER. I have to say I found him rather delectable :)
Dhampirs are certainly a lot tougher than humans, in fact one of the few things that can contest Dory's speed and strength is a master vampire. Despite this, however, there is a battle scene near the end of the book and I wasn't sure how she wasn't a corpse of the floor, let alone jumping back up to kill some more bad guys - she is one tough cookie that is all I can say!
In terms of style of writing, it is very Karen Chance - everything that could happen happens, every mythical creature you can think of is mentioned at some point, each a cliche in it's own right (ogres and trolls and beautiful fairies), but with their own Chance twist...very muddled, and yet it all works and comes together perfectly for an exciting, adventurous, unexpected, gory, sexy, funny novel! I think you can tell this her fourth novel, because it has more purpose and direction in terms of plot than her previous three; there is a clear goal set out from the beginning of the novel, and, with some twists and turns along the way, it is wrapped up nicely at the end, and yet it still has plenty of room for a sequal - personally I can't wait!
I would recommend MIDNIGHT'S DAUGHTER to anyone who loved her Cassandra Palmer series, or to anyone who loves fantasy novels with vampires and mages but with a modern feel, and with a good sprinkling of sexual tension and gorgeous lead men to spice it up :)
1. Midnight's Daughter
2. Death's Mistress - Due Autumn 2009
on 4 October 2008
Oh I've been looking forward to this new novel by Karen Chance and I'm glad to say I wasn't disappointed, it's a fabulous read, exhibiting what I've come to expect from Chance, fast pacing, a strong and interesting lead and good development plus complete and utter I'm going to put in anything slightly paranormal, mythical and magical then just throw it all in the air and see what happens mayhem. Brilliant.
Dory was conceived 500 years ago, a Dhampir and daughter to the first level master vampire Mircea, who we have already been introduced to through Chance's three previous books in the Cassie Palmer series. As with all Dhampir's our heroine is an undesirable so to speak, vampire's fear and distrust her because of her tendency to take her ya ya's out on them and anything else monstrous that gets in the way and humans are equally disgusted once she goes into one of her blacks outs. See Dory like all Dhampir's has trouble copping with the strain of having super human powers in a human body...in other words she has periods when she goes stark raving, kill anything in site mad.
Dory carries a lot of anger around with her and her mental state has only deteriorated recently with the disappearance of her room mate Claire, a null who has a calming effect on her. Determined to find her but having no luck does Dory have a choice when her hated father offers his very capable help? But "Daddy dearest" help comes with a price, he'll get Claire back but only if Dory helps track down and stop her deranged and single-minded "uncle Drac". Oh but she'll have help, a certain French swords man, Louis-Cesare, like all master vamps he's arrogant and has a server superiority complex, but could our heroine find something more in her reluctant partner than the usual mistrust and hate that is her lot?
I didn't like Mircea in the Cassie books and was initially annoyed that he would be a major player in this as well, but he didn't bother me at all when not manipulating and cajoling Cassie, although he does try similar tacks with Dory, she doesn't take any of his crap, which was refreshing. All in all the vampires are more fleshed out in this, I always found Louis-Cesare interesting, considering his back story, which was heavily explored in 'Touch the Dark'. The consequences to Cassie and Micea's actions are shown and I thought he's character was developed very well. We're also introduced properly to Radu, Mircea's less stable but much more exciting brother, his flamboyance and eccentricities were delightful.
And as for Dory, I really enjoyed her voice, yes she's strong, powerful and with other attributes that could seem old but she is given so much back story and deals with enough prejudice, pain and loneliness to make her if not a complicated character, one with enough depth and intrigue to carry the narrative and create sustaining interest in her first person dialogue.
If you thought there were an over abundance in supernatural entities in Chance's other books well there's more in this, as well as vampires, mages and weres, there's trolls and mutants and an arms dealing gnome. There's also much more on the fey, that I felt needed more fleshing out, the light and dark always seemed a bit boorish to me. Although there is a touch of mayhem to the plot, it is a lot more focused than her Cassie books, there is a set goal and it's achieved, which was also refreshing.
I would say that you will get more out of this book if you've read not only 'Touch the Dark', 'Claimed by Shadow' and 'Embrace the Night' which are the first three books in Chance's Cassie books but also the short story 'Buying Trouble' in the anthology 'On the Prowl', which is from Claire's POV and details what happened to her. I say this because you will understand more of the war that is mentioned, the characters back stories and be able to appreciate the fact that this is a decent spin off that develops and concludes a plot thread that was started in 'Claimed by Shadow'. I'd also check out 'Day of the Dead' a free short story on Chance's website that stars Thomas (also from the Cassie books) which I suspect is building things up for 'Death's Mistress' the next Dory Book (out Autumn 2009). But this is not necessary; Dory is such a solid and entertaining lead that this can be read as a stand alone.
All in all I loved it and would definitely recommend it, though I know Chance isn't for everyone, I find her writing highly entertaining because she doesn't take herself too seriously and her books always turn out quirky, well developed with a mesh of interesting characters.
on 30 March 2009
I love the Cassie Palmer series so I was a little apprehensive about moving into a parallel story, worried that it wouldn't stand up to the competion or it would start doing retcon on the Cassie Palmer story. Fortunately however it took all the best of Karen Chance and was sufficiently different enough to make it compelling in it's own right. Dory has some of Cassie's traits; humour, sarcasm and strength chiefly, but she has her own problems and ways of dealing with them. It was nice to be re-introduced to Louis-Cesare again, and the sensuality between him and Dory is well-written (and hot!) it was also good to have Mircea as a non-romantic character but find out more about his background and twisted family
on 17 October 2012
This was a re-read, and it's a bit sad that I am to find that after 3 years and around 600 books since my first go, I find I can't in all honesty still give it 5 stars, so I've dropped it down to 4. I still really enjoyed it, don't get me wrong. But I'd be blind not to see that, although I love Chance's writing for its fast pacing and action-filled plts, a lot of it can be too chaotic and confusing with too much going on from too many directions and not enough exposition. For much of the book I was just waiting and hoping that any minute now I'd be told why Dory was doing what she was doing, or going where she was going, and who the heck are those people firing stuff at her now and why are they doing it?
I imagine it all makes perfect sense in Karen Chance's head, but it doesn't always translate perfectly to her audience. It's kind of a double-edged sword, though, because the confusion is a side effect of having such intricate, complex, multi-layered, thought-provoking and detailed plots. She literally fits more plotting, world-building and characterisation into one page than some authors manage in three chapters (or whole books in the worst cases). But unless you're paying absolute, 100% focused attention (which admittedly I probably wasn't this time as I did the re-read as an audiobook) then you'll blink and miss something vital and be all "What the hell just happened?"
But that's enough negativity!
This is my favourite urban fantasy 'world' after all, (although I do prefer the main Cassandra Palmer series over this, the spin-off). So let's get on to what I still loved--The world, the setting, the magic, Dory, the real historical characters, Louis Cesare, the complex and strained relationships, Stinky, the sexual tension, the funny dialogue, Radu, the hot vamps, the hot smexy times, Dory's house that won't let her redecorate or move anything, the intelligent writing, Louis Cesare in a towel.
That's quite a lot still to love, eh?
Dory is a great main character. She has a bit of a bad attitude due to being a misfit and held in contempt by almost all supernatural factions AND humans, and she suffers rage episodes and has a dry, sarcastic sense of humour.
Louis Cesare on the other hand is cool, suave, laconic, honourable and protective. They make a great fighting team, as long as Louis Cesare can keep up, and I look forward to re-visiting them in the next book, which I believe, if memory serves, is slightly less hectic than this one.
Recommended to read after books 1&2 of the Cassandra Palmer series.
4 Stars ★★★★
As I so enjoyed the other books by Karen Chance that I've read, I looked forward to reading Midnight's Daughter. Though it's a separate series to the Cassandra Palmer books, it's set in the same world. Some characters appear in both series, which is a nice link, particularly if you've read both.
This latest book introduces Dorina Basarab, who is half-human, half-vampire - also known as a dhampir. Her kind are rare as they're despised by both humans and vampires and therefore are hunted down and killed by both. What makes them even more rare is the fact they're subject to uncontrollable rages which often result in their untimely and probably violent deaths. Somehow, Dory has survived for 500 years and in that time she's been killing demons and vampires; those that deserve to be killed, that is.
The action begins as Dory's best friend goes missing. Normally one to leave a note when popping out for milk, Claire has disappeared without trace. Naturally, her friend panics and makes it her mission to find her, kill whoever took her, and bring her home. Without Claire's calming influence Dory is even more subject to her manic rages, making this mission more dangerous than it already was. Throw in the escape of the world's most dangerous vampire, the reappearance of her father and an idiotic French vamp, and Dory has her work cut out.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the reappearance of some characters from the Cassandra Palmer series and was happy that Chance had written this book in the same humourous, sharp and easy to read tone as her others. Despite the number of characters of different races, the flitting of the action from one location to the next, and the bonkers character names, the book is really easy to follow. I got into it very quickly and begrudged every time I had to stop reading it when life got in the way. An action-packed, funny, sexy supernatural thriller. Recommended to supernatural/vamp/magic fans.
on 26 June 2009
I really enjoyed this book, it's a spinoff from the Cassie Palmer series by the same author and ties in nicely with the events that occur in those books. It focuses on Dory who is half vampire, a Dhampir. They're a rare breed who live very short and violent lives; as the reader learns pretty quickly with the amount of fighting Dory gets upto! Trouble seems to follow her around, hee. We open to find Dory searching for her BFF Claire who despite having a penchant for note leaving has neglected to tell her where she is, and is thus, as Dory concludes, missing. This is the main thread of the plot and is interwoven with another arc that reach a pretty satisfying conclusion... which was a gratifying change seeing as how involved and open ended the plots are in the Cassie books.
Whilst I liked the more narrow storytelling in play here and adored Dory as the protagonist, I didn't think this book was quite as good as the Cassie Palmer series -- but that might well be just personal taste. Indeed, I found Dory delightful in her cynicism and deadpan wit. I also loved that she apparently hates Mircea... I can't stand him personally, so I enjoyed that she totally saw through his manipulative persona. Having said that he was tolerable, even interesting, here, and I found his dynamic with 'the family' to be curious -- indeed, I thought he worked as a character here far more than in the other books. At any rate there was breadth and scope added to the dynamics.
I wondered what had happened to Lois-Cesare (an undead uptight Frenchman) so his appearance in this novel put to rest that little query. I never found him terribly interesting so I was glad to see him fleshed out a little. He's probably one of the few vampires I actually don't mind. It made me laugh that in Dory's inner monologue she refers to him as 'Frenchie', not terribly politically correct which is why it was funny. Radu also warmed my heart as did Drac. As usual Chance's secondary characters were colourful and quite often, hilarious. I did actually laugh out loud quite a few times throughout the book -- which is no mean feat!
The Fey character was a little blah to me. So Louis-Cesare was a welcome presence with his sweet but slightly 'uptight-at arms length' approach to dealing with Dory. They took no bull from one another and that was way more interesting to read about than how beautiful X character is. Indeed, Dory was good at not falling over herself too much over the males.
Looking forward to the next book, the ending was promising! Highly recommended!
on 21 October 2010
I really enjoyed Karen Chance's other series in the same world feature Cassandra Palmer so I was a little worried about starting this series in case it didn't match up. I'm glad to say it did! As a heroine Dory certainly fits into the strong independent woman who kicks butt and has a dark past mould easily but brings something different. She has a history as long as any vampire and certainly doesn't seem to spend any time weeping and moaning about it. She's driven and cares about her friends - her search for her friend, Claire, wasn't anything that was forgotten about despite Dracula's escape. And her relationship with Benny's wife was actually quite sweet.
The writing is as dense as the Cassandra Palmer series - not difficult to read but circumstances change so quickly, there's no speed reading this book - but you wouldn't want too. This Dory book was more linear than the Cassie books with a beginning, middle and end rather than just a series of events as part of wider story. There are a few cameos and staring roles from the Cassie books but nothing that feels too out of place. Lots of action and a slight hint of romance of Louis-Cesare keeps the pace throughout and I can't wait to pick up the next book - Death's Mistress, which luckily for me is sitting on my book case at the moment...
on 19 October 2008
I really loved this book and am in the process of reading it for the second time. I would even go so far as to say that I think this is better than the Cassandra Palmer series (and I like those books too). If you do like the Cassandra Palmer series definitely buy this book as it will not disappoint.
Dorina Basarab is a dhampier - half human, half vampire. Her father or Daddy, as she likes to call him, is Mircea who is a regular character in the Cassie books. Dracular has once again escaped his prison and it is up to Dory and Louise-Cesare (another Cassie character) to find him. It does not matter that Uncle Drac, as Dory affectionately calls him is as mad as a hatter and just as mean. Not to mention that Dracular is really the only thing is the world that truely scares Dory.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Karen Chance.
on 12 November 2010
Dorina is a dhampir, half human, half vamp, and has fits of uncontrollable rages like all dhampir. She's unusual in that she has managed to stay alive for over 500 years by channeling her rages into killing non-human creatures. When Daddy dearest shows up, Dorina knows it's not good news. When Daddy dearest asks her to go after Uncle Drac (yes, that Dracula!), she's sure he's only sending her on this suicide mission to finally be rid of her once and for all. Especially seeing the vamp he intends to be her partner...Louis-Cesare. It doesn't take long for both Dorina and Louis-Cesare to butt heads and become the targets of just about every other supernatural faction out there.
Very complex. Very intense. Very dark. I sucked this down like a vamp with O negative. This is really a dark urban fantasy with heavy emotional and relationship threads. Just about every character in this book could use the services of a good shrink (I'm thinking Lynda Hilburn's Vampire Shrink) and you can forget about trying to predict what will happen next! I loved it. I want another Dorina book soon so I can see where she and maybe Louis too are headed.
on 25 April 2011
I'd read the first 4 books of the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance and really enjoyed them, so when I was searching for something else of the same genre and this popped up I just had to give it a try. I must say I really enjoyed it and would truely recommend it to others.
This booked is linked to the Cassie Palmer novels, but it's seperate enough that you don't need to read one to make sense of the other, which has been the case in some of the other books I've read. The story line is strong with lots of little twists and turns, both in the main plot as well as the sub plots, to keep you guessing and the little romance going between the 2 lead characters is wonderful to watch unfold. Throw in some magic and fight sequences and you've got a very fast moving, interesting and very well constructed book that had me hooked very quickly. Now that's saying something as being a 20 something year old dyslexic with a severe short term memory problem to find books that move quickly and hold my attention is rare. This was a throughly good book which I think everyone who enjoys this genre should read.