Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance – review

By on October 22, 2013


I have been following the Cassandra Palmer series since the first book, Touch the Dark, came out in 2006.  I was immediately captured by the unique vibe of the story – dark, yet with a walloping sense of humor. In a publishing world where the number of urban fantasy books on shelves is increasing dramatically, it can be hard to find a story that is not overdone or trite. I am pleased to say that Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance is neither of those things.

The author has given readers another trademark Cassie book: fast-paced, full of fighting action and comical situations. Without giving too much away about what happens, here is a hint: think Aladdin, but with guns.  For those of you new to the world of Karen Chance, Cassandra Palmer – Cassie to friends – was working as a tarot card reader when the supernatural communities’ chief seer (called the Pythia) died. The power of the Pythia picks the person who wields it, and in this case, it skipped over the assumed heir and landed on Cassie.

The first few books in the series deal with Cassie’s rise to the position of Pythia, and with the reactions of various supernatural factions. There are vampires (some of whom Cassie like a lot, and others not at all), mages (of two varieties at least), ghosts, faeries, and witches. Tempt the Stars picks up quickly following the events at the end of book 5. Cassie is now on a mission to re-claim her war-mage protector and friend (or more than friend?), John Pritkin, from the demon kingdom of his incubus father. Oh, did I forget to mention there were demons? Well there are, and now Cassie has to figure out how to get inside the demon realm, get her friend, and get out, hopefully without ending up dead.

As I said, I have been following this series for some time, and while every book had its spectacular scenes and was solid overall, at times I felt that it was too much a roller coaster. Cassie seems to spend 80% of her life being shot at, blasted with spells, or targeted by angry gods. Oh, did I not mention the gods and the fact that her mother is one? Oh, well. Read the books to get the details. Sometimes there would be chapter after chapter describing battles between various supernatural creatures, and Cassie was mostly getting her ass kicked. I was getting tired of reading about a supposedly powerful figure acting like a whiny eight-year old. The fighting didn’t give me favorable view of the main character and sometimes made the story drag.

Tempt the Stars, however, did not get stuck in the same spots as the previous books. The action was well-placed and spaced out, so it was always exciting. There was more dialog in this book than in many of the others, and it helped me to connect to Cassie as a character. Not only do we get to see progressions from the whiny eight-year old personality, we get to see Cassie using her power and authority, and doing it well. There was an especially touching scene with her ghost side-kick Billy that reveals Cassie’s motivation to enter hell and return with Pritkin, while also hinting at things to come. The scenes with Pritkin were heart-wrenching, and all of the things they didn’t say to each other had me squirming in my chair. I was greatly entertained while reading this book and burst out laughing at points when the repartee just got to be too much. A solid 4 ½ star effort by Karen Chance, and we can all look forward to book 7, titled Reap the Wind, coming in 2014.

If you liked this, try these: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, Something Secret This Way Comes by Sierra Dean, Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

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