I remember the first book in the Cassandra Palmer series finished on something of a cliffhanger and I admit here to only having a vague memory of Book 1 when I started Claimed by Shadow. I do remember having a problem with some infodumping in Touch the Dark (Bk1) and that Karen Chance is very good at writing first lines.
The first line situation is still the same
"Any day that starts off in a demon-filled bar in a casino designed to look like Hell isn't likely to turn out well."
But the info-dumping? Gone. Or at least become so much smoother and integrated into the plot that I didn't notice it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even though I spent a fair bit of time confused about what was going on, especially at the beginning - mainly because Claimed by Shadow does not pick up smoothly from the end of Touch the Dark. However, I do think on a second read through things will gel together more, and I'm a big fan of books with high re-readability.
Essentially Cassie is still trying to clean up the mess from the end of Touch the Dark. Still not completely in control of her powers she's pursuing Tony, attempting to keep her friends safe and trying to stop Myra from messing with the timeline, without making things worse than they already are.
The plot itself, starts with a bang and doesn't let go. This does mean that moments of internal reflection are few and far between. Some terrible things happen and Cassie doesn't really get a chance to process them, she just has to cope with each impending crisis as it looms. So this is something of a rollercoaster ride, leaving you frantically turning the pages wanting to know what happens next. But it works. Cassie is a character (not dissimilar to Kate Daniels) who things just happen to. She's almost like a magnet for bad karma.
The book is chock full of snappy banter and quotable dialogue. And though some characters only appear briefly they have a big impact on the storyline. Claimed by Shadow made me smile, made me teary and made me hungry for the next book. Highly recommended (I think Ilona Andrews fans would like this series, if they aren't reading it already).
Book 1 - Touch the Dark Book 3 - Embrace the Night Book 4 - Curse the Dawn (April 2009)
Karen Chance has a new series set in the same Universe.
Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1) October 2008.