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4.6 out of 5 stars
29
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2009
I adored this book. The humour was really spot on and the wacky antics of Cassie, Pritkin, Mircea, Tomas and the like were racketed up a notch.

Claimed By Shadow sees Cassie coming to grips with her issues that surround the position of Pythia; what it would mean for her to take this position and indeed, if she is even capable of taking on such a role? Lucky for Cassie help arrives in the shape of Pritkin: the bad tempered blond, British renegade war mage who was somewhat hostile towards her in the first book. Pritkin is willing to let bygones be bygones in order to help solve both their mutual difficulties -- Myra the Pythia's other heir is causing havoc with the time line and it's up to Cassie and Pritkin to haul her in. What follows is some truly zany, amusing, colourful, heartfelt, and just plain weird situations; one could almost hear the music to the Wizard of Oz playing in the background as Cassie and friends prepare for a trip into Faerie.

Cassie and Pritkin's dynamic really sparkles. Their interactions were the greatest strength of the book. Thanks to his involvement we also learn a lot more about mages in general here.

There are a few new characters introduced, such as Casanova the flamboyant incubus/vampire hybrid and Mac, the Aussie tattoo artist (who is also a war mage). I liked these characters and the world building that went on here -- the part of the book where Cassie was reading out rude Latin phrases painted on the wall of Dante's was hilarious. I did have trouble making heads or tails of some of Cassie's decisions in this book. But I felt that ultimately, she made good progress at the end there -- she's also got a nice shiny ally. Much more than she had before this.

Highly recommended.
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on 8 May 2007
This is the second in the Cassandra Palmer series and is as good as the first (Touch the Dark). If you enjoy Laurell K Hamilton, Christine Feehan and the like, you will enjoy these. It took me a while to get into it but once I did I just had to keep reading. Cassie is a great lead character- she is resourceful, with out knowing everything- she manages her way through all the bad stuff without suddenly getting extra magic powers right at the end-a flaw in Hamiltons work- both "Merry Gently" fairy books and "Anita Blake" vampire ones.

In this second look she is still trying to get out of perminantly becoming the "Pythia", the worlds cheif clairvoyant. She has to deal with the "hands off"/love spell that Mircea put on her when she was 11 that has now blown up in both their faces- they can't keep there hands off each other- and Cassie can't get together with anyone else as the spell burns anyone she gets to close too- like Pritkin, the Mage assisin whom she has formed an uneasy truce with while she searches for Tony (bad Vamp) and Myra (Would be evil-Pythia) to stop them from killing her or Mircea. A fun time travelling vampire/witch tale. I reccomend it to you- but only after you have read Touch The Dark first!
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VINE VOICEon 24 April 2007
I loved 'Touch the Dark' and have been dying for the next installment to arrive. Fortunately, it didn't disappoint!

The plot traces Cassie's journey from partial Pythia to the real deal, while acquiring some new problems in the form of a malfunctioning geis and a quest for a book of Merlin's spell - and she's still looking for her vampire nemesis, Tony. The ongoing war that pitches the Vampire Senate and the Silver Circle against Rasputin and the Black Circle is rumbling on, but is not central to developments.

The plot meshes beautifully with the previous novel, with little strands being picked up and developed.

The author's style is fluent and highly engaging. The book is written in the first person from Cassie's perspective and it works really well.

It's also extremely funny in places.

The descriptions in the book are wonderful. Scenes such as Dante's casino are vividly described, but so are the action scenes - and there are some real gems like Mac's tatoo parlour.

Most of the characters from the first book return and there are a few lovely new characters.

Cassie is a great lead character, with lots of personality and her conflicted feelings about her new powers and the motivations of those around her are nicely pitched. Her relationship options get a bit complex, with her getting intimate with one character, desperate to get in the same position with another and rather alarmed to discover another one apparently rather likes her. This is all well handled and the differing responses to each make sense.

Mircea returns and is still enticing although he doesn't have a lot to do apart from respond to the geis and help Cassie out.

We also get to meet Mac, a retired war mage. He's a lovely character and rather uniquely 'good' person in the book.

But the standing ovation has to be reserved for Pritkin. He is such a fantastic character - one of those that just spring up of the page with the force of their personality. He's as aggressive as ever, but occasionally shows some other facets to his personality. Most of my favourite bits of the book had him in.

I can't wait until the next installment.
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on 4 June 2012
(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
This is the second book in the Cassandra Palmer series, and kicks off 1 week after the events in book 1 - `Touch the Dark'. **Warning** possible spoilers for book 1.
We catch up again with Cassie at Dante's - the demon club/ bar/casino in Vegas, run by the demon possessed Vampire - Casanova. Cassie is after a couple of things; 1 - to get revenge on Tony - the vampire who held her captive for so many years and killed her parents, 2 - to retrieve her father's ghost from wherever Tony has hidden it, and 3 - to deal with the other pythia heir who is trying to kill her.

What follows is such a complex, action filled book that I'm not sure where to even start.

Firstly Cassie has managed to somehow release some Greek demi-goddesses from a magical trap/box, who she is now stuck baby-sitting, until she can work out how to put them back.
The war mage Pritkin is back, and she's not sure whose side he's even on anymore, and whether he's there to kill her or save her, and she's also become aware of a spell that has been cast on her called a `geis' which protects her virginity, by preventing her from having sex with anyone but the person who authorised the spell.

And it just keeps rolling on from there. Once again Cassie seems to be constantly running for her life. Along the way there are vampires, mages, gargoyles, pixies, ogres, zombies, weres, dark fey, fairae kings, spirits, demi-goddesses, and even a trip to faerie. The magical weapons are more varied and explosive than ever, and there are even magical moving tattoos (which I loved).

While it is entertaining though, the amount of stuff happening in this book is also one of its draw backs - it is at some points really difficult to keep up with exactly what is going on, and even who is speaking in parts. It also takes place over a short time frame again (about 36 hours), so you have to be really paying attention to what you are reading or you will miss stuff!

I thought that the storyline was good, and poor Cassie just always seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The pacing is fast, and the action furious, and the skips between different times an interesting twist to the story. The characters are also different and entertaining, and the new romance angle is pretty hot without dominating the story.

Overall, this is a complex, entertaining tale, though in my opinion; best if you can read in as few as sittings as possible!
8 out of 10.
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VINE VOICEon 14 July 2007
I loved 'Touch the Dark' and have been dying for the next installment to arrive. Fortunately, it didn't disappoint!

The plot traces Cassie's journey from partial Pythia to the real deal, while acquiring some new problems in the form of a malfunctioning geis and a quest for a book of Merlin's spell - and she's still looking for her vampire nemesis, Tony. The ongoing war that pitches the Vampire Senate and the Silver Circle against Rasputin and the Black Circle is rumbling on, but is not central to developments.

The plot meshes beautifully with the previous novel, with little strands being picked up and developed.

The author's style is fluent and highly engaging. The book is written in the first person from Cassie's perspective and it works really well.

It's also extremely funny in places.

The descriptions in the book are wonderful. Scenes such as Dante's casino are vividly described, but so are the action scenes - and there are some real gems like Mac's tatoo parlour.

Most of the characters from the first book return and there are a few lovely new characters.

Cassie is a great lead character, with lots of personality and her conflicted feelings about her new powers and the motivations of those around her are nicely pitched. Her relationship options get a bit complex, with her getting intimate with one character, desperate to get in the same position with another and rather alarmed to discover another one apparently rather likes her. This is all well handled and the differing responses to each make sense.

Mircea returns and is still enticing although he doesn't have a lot to do apart from respond to the geis and help Cassie out.

We also get to meet Mac, a retired war mage. He's a lovely character and rather uniquely 'good' person in the book.

But the standing ovation has to be reserved for Pritkin. He is such a fantastic character - one of those that just spring up of the page with the force of their personality. He's as aggressive as ever, but occasionally shows some other facets to his personality. Most of my favourite bits of the book had him in.

I can't wait until the next installment.
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on 18 October 2009
I love this book. I prefer it in a way to touch the dark as it didn't cease to make sense and become confusing in some parts like the first book did and now I know what all the stuff I didn't get (eg. Pythia, Sibyl, Pythia's office is). Everything you could want in book is in claimed by shadows, real characters, humour, passion, a nice steamy sex scene, plot development, surprises, imagination.
The only thing I was a bit upset about was *spoiler alert* that Thomas performed the ritual and not Mircea. It didn't seem like a very special event either. I'd liked to have seen a lot more of Mircea although the parts that he is in are - in search for a better word - brilliant and will leave any female readers lusting after him, wanting more.

I would say to read touch the dark before this though so that it makes more sense.
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on 12 August 2010
I found the first book in this series a bit messy and problematic with far too many characters and too many explanations slowing down the action. I had hoped the second book would improve. I have to say, I found it much the same. This time the book focuses mainly on Cassie, Billy and Pritkin. An interesting choice as Pritkin is by far the least sympathetic or interesting character from the first book. The story gets off to a very slow start introducing yet more characters and more explanations (this time mainly to do with wards and the mages). It really doesn't get interesting at all until about 180 pages in. Before that point it's very slow and there is one conversation between Cassie and a new character Mac that goes on for pages and pages with very little respite. This time Cassie is trying to avoid her destiny as Pythia and deal with a spell Mircea has put on her.
Cassie's relationship with Mircea is the only thing I found interesting about this book to be honest and the scenes between them both in the past and the present were much better written than the rest of the book. There was also one scene, once they had entered Faerie that I found really unpleasant and unnecessary as it really didn't advance the plot in any way. My other complaint is the really cheesy way that a lot of the minor characters in the supernatural world are actually major figures from history. It's just distracting and leads to more unnecessary explanations.
It's a shame as there is potential in some of the characters- Cassie, Tomas, Billy, Mircea, Rafael (although he doesn't feature at all this time) but they are drowned out by the endless stream of other characters that whizz by at an amazing rate.
If the series were to continue with fewer characters and focus more on Cassie and her close relationships plus just one or two adversaries, then I would be interested in reading more. As it is, it's rather unsatisfying hard work to read the books.
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on 4 June 2010
4.5 stars

Whew. Poor Cassie - that girl needs a nap more than anyone I've ever met! I read a review on Chance's web site that said something along the lines of this series sort of poking fun at the genre a little bit, and I think that's true. There is so much non-stop action in these books it gets a little ridiculous. But man is it fun!

I was not fully convinced by the first book of this series. I liked it, but it had a lot of issues and so I wasn't compelled to pick up book 2 right away, I waited awhile.
Well, this book was leaps and bounds ahead of book 1. All of the problems there have been fixed. This book was exciting and action packed, but never (well, almost never) confusing. It was pretty easy to follow, and Cassie felt a lot more like her own character and not a bland composite of other urban fantasy heroines. The pace was break-neck, and fun to read. It was fairly easy for me to just go along for the ride and not feel the need to flip ahead to see where things were headed, which I typically have a compulsion to do.

And my has she done a makeover on the character of Pritkin... I was vaguely intrigued by him in book 1, but he has made the complete transformation into full on hottie and ambiguous hero. I'm very excited to see where that goes.

I'm not quite ready to give this book 5 stars, but if the next book stays on this same track, I think this series will move into "favorites" territory.
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VINE VOICEon 9 December 2007
Having been enthralled by the book previous to this, Touch the Dark, I dove straight into this one when I finished it. And I'm very glad I did. It was definitely better to read the two books back-to-back as the plot is complicated in places. I think Claimed by Shadow will be much easier to follow when the first book is still fresh in your mind.

Anyway, onto the action. We left Cassie Palmer as heir to the role of Pythia - an immensely powerful magical being whose job it is to travel back and forth in time to solve problems and eradicate any rogues that are trying to alter history. The only problem is, Cassie doesn't want the job. If she becomes Pythia, she will have every type of magical creature after her (even more than usual) to either eradicate or use her power for their own devices. She already has an immense amount of this power due to a chance meeting with the old Pythia in the previous novel. But Cassie doesn't dare to use the power because she's not entirely sure what will happen. Cassie just wants a quiet life, but unfortunately for her, this is never going to happen.

The narrative continues with Cassie desperately trying to get out of trouble without using her power, but she is endangering other people in the process. If it wasn't for the fact she was still chasing the vampire Tony to avenge her parents, she probably would have disappeared without a trace by now. But with the mage Pritkin by her side, she is still attracting trouble from every direction. And to add even more problems to Cassie's list - it appears that the vampire Mircea has put a geis on her - which basically is a spell that makes her "belong" to him. If any other man got close to her then the spell would prevent anything from happening between them. This also has the additional effect of making the two very attracted to one another. And the geis appears to be working whenever they meet, in whatever time, which certainly complicates matters.

Cassie is less than impressed that everyone is trying to control her and her life. This is the reason she doesn't want to become Pythia, because the Fey, mages and vampires alike will all be trying to tell her what to do in that role. So she decides to fight back, and go against expectations of her and how she should behave. Oh, and try to stop her rivals killing her, of course.

I did really enjoy this book, but I don't think it was as good as the first one. Given the way the first one ended I was expecting literary fireworks with the second. It did start off really action-packed and exciting, but I think there was potential to add to this. The whole thing about Mircea and the geis was exciting... and the sizzling-hot passion between Cassie and Tomas certainly got me hot under the collar, but I almost felt this book was simply "padding" to make way for the next book. But I'll still definitely be getting the next one, I'd love to see what happens next.

Don't let this review put you off though. It's still an excellent book that had me hooked. I love the characters (particularly Cassie, a true modern-day heroine) and the supernatural elements, but I thought there would be more loose ends tied up than there were.
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2009
This story hits the ground running with non-stop action from start to finish. While I found the first book in the Cassie Palmer series a little confusing, everything is clear as glass in this one with the scenes all set. It's exciting, unpredictable and full of really gripping characters so that once you start reading you don't want to stop and you slow yourself down to make the final chapter last as long as possible. Cassie has two men/ vampires - and possibly Pritkin as well- vying for her attention and the romance elements are very well handled.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have ordered all the rest of the series.
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