Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer Series #1)

Touch the Dark - Karen Chance Though Karen Chance is quite prolific, I had not heard about her until I came across a post on Tumblr raving about her Cassandra Palmer series. I can't say what exactly spurred me to read one of her books, but I didn't go into it with great expectations, and so I suppose that there was nothing to let down by.Touch the Dark, is the first book in the Cassandra Palmer series. Cassandra is a time traveling, clairvoyant, and as you might imagine, time travel lends itself to various timelines. When a writer chooses to go down this road, the plot must be clear and easy to follow. At times I had to go back and re read because I lost the thread of the story entirely. To give you an idea of the potential to be confused, take a look at the time line created by Chance, to help the reader follow her story.I suppose time travel encouraged Chance to introduce historical characters in her fiction. So far we have met Baby Face Nelson, Jack the Ripper, Vlad the Impaler, The Man in the Iron Mask and Rasputin. Of all the historical figures mentioned, I think that Rasputin makes the most sense, as he was notably hard to kill; however, it quickly became laughable, as I found myself wondering if Chance planned on making every notable person in history a vampire.As protagonists go, Cassandra was not prone to spunky agency, and seemed to determine to hold onto what was in her best interest, despite the pressure to choose sides in a war she wanted no part in. However, she is yet another protagonist with dead parents. I simply do not understand why urban fantasy writers cannot allow their main characters to have normal childhoods or parents. In Cassandra's case, her parents were killed when she was four years old, and she was raised by Tony, a vampire mobster - the same vampire who had her parents killed. Tony keeps Cassandra a virtual prisoner in his home, because he wants to use her talents to his advantage. When she does finally leave him, we learn that her life on the streets was rough, but no great details are given.No matter where Cassandra turns in this story, someone wants her for a purpose. Men continually lie and manipulate her, in order to force her to do their bidding. It turns out that Cassandra may potentially be The Pythia, the chief seer of the supernatural community - a being of immense power. You see, the old Pythia is dying and Cassandra's heritage makes her the next choice for the magic. Pritkin, the war mage sees her as unclean due to her close ties to the vampire community, and his assumption sexual is long and varied history. Just by looking at her, he determines her to be a whore. It turns out that Cassandra is indeed a virgin, because she simply has not trusted anyone to be physically close. Throughout the story, virginity is both seen as a prize, and as something to slough off if it blocks the path to power. The idea that a woman's virginity should mean so much, is based solely on a patriarchal construction of womanhood and female sexuality. Fortunately, this idea does not persist to the end of the story, but to tell you more would ruin it for you.Read More