Book Review: Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance

September 11, 2019 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #9
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Berkley on July 30, 2019
Pages: 576
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

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Also in this series: Tempt the Stars

Also by this author: Tempt the Stars , Reap the Wind, Ride the Storm, "Black Friday"

Ninth in the Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series (and fourteenth in the Cassandra Palmer World) revolving around Cassie, a clairvoyant necromancer who became the untrained Pythia who is based in Las Vegas. There’s been so much going on that I can’t believe Cassie has been Pythia for only four months! If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Cassandra Palmer books on my website.

My Take

OMIGOD, there is so much going on here — action-packed with battles of all sorts — Mircea is taking away Cassie’s bodyguards! As for characters? Ha-ha-ha. LOLOLOLOL, oh, yeah, there are definitely some crazy characters in Cassandra Palmer.

The revelations about the current and past Pythian Courts — disclosures about Agnes and how her behavior contributed to her downfall. The truth about the Court as a coven…and Cassie with and against other covens! Wait’ll you read Cassie’s bluff against them and Rhea’s part in provoking it!

We learn a lot more about Cassie’s power and that it’s not all Pythian. Who knew?? The hidden info about those coven witches along with more of their back history and war with the Silver Circle. It’s amazing how much the covens have kept, um, covert *grin*.

Of course, Cassie has also seen the other side of Agnes, what her court never saw. And it does help that Chance uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Cassie’s perspective.

Of course, there’s always going to be the Pritkin element, only there is so much more about how their relationship is affected by who their parents are (Chance keeps releasing more and more about who and what Cassie’s mother was!), how their powers combine…and that longed-for lovemaking that is just too weird and too easy. It all combines to make Cassie and Pritkin the perfect team. And the perfect threat. Who’d’ve thunk?

The power-mad Mircea has his unexpected obsession that also explains why there aren’t too many milleniums-old vampires. It doesn’t help how unsupportive the other master vampires are in the war efforts…and doesn’t Mircea let them know it! As for Jonathan, I feel as if the real threat of him finally comes out…and it’s dang scary!

The conflict is set up early in the book with the battle between Cassie wanting to give her young acolytes a childhood and Hilde insisting on training the children. Cassie is also determined to be a neutral party, no matter what the Silver Circle, the covens, or the vampires want. That attitude as well as the lecture about appearances plays up Cassie’s good heart AND her naïveté. It’s part of Cassie’s ongoing education, and she’s starting to push back, like a real leader. Hoo, boy! While I did love Cassie’s invasion of that meeting, it was confusing.

Naturally, there is no such thing as a group whose members all adhere to the same principles. It allows for plenty of confrontation, especially when Cassie calls the covens on their insularity and intransigence.

Chance reminds us of Mircea’s underhanded reasons for “romancing” a potential Pythia, as well as Cassie’s fury over it. It definitely seems that we’ll be getting a tenth Cassie Palmer story… And, and…and! Mircea and Cassie FINALLY have the Talk.

Oh, man, Augustine — we learn something really horrible about Augustine’s past! — is being asked to design things for the military…I can’t wait! Then there’s that revelation about the creation of the Dark Fey! The original Fey!! Those rumors about Caedmon!

It includes a recap of events in Tempt the Stars, 6, and Ride the Storm, 7.

Um, I was confused over the loss of three centers of vampire power (actually I was confused at various points in the story). Did those losses really happen? ‘Cause Chance sure didn’t raise up any drama or tension over it.

Awww, Dorina is blissfully happy, or as much as she can be with Louis-Cesare missing. Seems Louis-Cesare is/was happy too, as he’s always wanted to belong. Now if we only knew where he was…?

That cocktail party at the end…lolololol…

The Story

Cassie intends to change how the Pythia and her court are viewed, only…there’s too much she doesn’t know and meanwhile, the war is worsening. Cassie’s bodyguards are being pulled. The other vampire courts are sending — and pulling back — fodder that is totally unsuited to be soldiers.

And then Pritkin: “I was going to go slow.”

The Characters

Cassie Palmer is the Pythia, the chief seer of the supernatural world, a touch clairvoyant and necromancer. Artemis/Hel, the goddess, the Great Huntress who had been her mother, but a diminished goddess when she had Cassie. Billy Joe is a ghost tethered to a garish necklace Cassie wears.

John Pritkin is a powerful war mage, half incubus, a quarter fae, and a quarter human, Merlin, and Cassie’s bodyguard, partner-in-crime, and reluctant lover. Ruth had been the wife whom Pritkin drained.

Cassie’s security people consist of mostly Mircea’s vampires, including the hulking Marco with a need to protect the young, the red-headed Roy, Daniel is an idiotic newbie, the food-obsessed Fred, Rico Marino named himself for his origins as a fisherman, the sweet-faced Emilio, Paulie, Lorenzo, and Santiago who is a Spanish master ticked off because Cassie wasn’t invited. Reggie, a.k.a., Jug Ears, is the lone Silver Circle mage assigned to Cassie’s security. Stimson, another mage, shows up once a week or so.

The Pythian Court blew up…
…in London, and Cassie has them in Las Vegas now at Dante’s hotel and casino. The timid Rhea Silvanus, the unacknowledged daughter of the former Pythia and Jonas, is finally an acolyte. The London acolytes include Emily; Ophélie; Anaïs; and, Belvia, a.k.a., “Belle“, who is one of the oldest acolytes, at twelve. Turns out that Hilde, who came out of retirement, is a fail-safe. Abigail is another fail-safe. Gertie, an 1840s Pythia, is Hilde’s sister.

Tami, the crazy orphan lady, is a null witch and Cassie’s best friend who is the major domo for the court, an upgrade from when she used to break out kids from the Silver Circle’s special “schools”. Jesse is Tami’s son. Jiao is one of Tami’s kids.

Agnes Wetherby, Lady Phenomoe, was the previous Pythia; the traitorous Myra had been Agnes’ heir. Jo Zirimis is a necromancer and former acolyte who’s gone rogue, working with the Svarestri. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Warrender is the last of Agnes’ rogue acolytes still alive. Berenice had been the Byzantine Pythia.

Augustine is half Svarestri whose parents were ashamed of him. He “kidnaps” a tiny creature from the witches who have been using him like third world labor.

The Vampire Senate
Cassie is technically married to Mircea, a former vampire diplomat to the North American Vampire Senate, who is now the Chief Enforcer of the new über Vampire World Senate based in New York with members from the world’s six vampire governments. Gerald is Mircea’s new assistant. Dorina is Mircea’s crazy dhampir daughter. Louis-Cesare, the dueling champion of the European senate, is Dorina’s now-missing husband. Elena was Mircea’s first (human) wife. Marlowe is the consul’s spymaster.

The consul of the North American Vampire Senate had been Cleopatra and still likes her snakes. MAGIC had been their HQ in the desert outside Las Vegas. Until it was destroyed. Ismitta is quite the badass, challenging Cassie. Anthony is the European consul. Ming-de is the East Asian consul. Parendra is the South Asian consul. Riacus, a.k.a., Roberto, had been a wealthy man who ran Genoa in the fifteenth century.

Raphael (the Renaissance artist) is NOT dead. Lucas is one of the conscripts.

The Covens use…
…wild magic. Saphronia, a.k.a., Saffy, has pink hair and is a real badass. Beatrice claims Cassie is coven. Evelyn, Zara “Jasmine” (the youngest of the coven leaders), the tattooed and pierced Violet, and Fern are on Cassie’s side. Ingaret is one nasty, manipulative witch who doesn’t care how she gets what she wants.

The Silver Circle is…
…the world’s leading magical organization, which traditionally guards the Pythian Court. Their magic also involves capturing the magical energy of the earth, part of which is used to support Artemis’ ouroboros spell intended to keep the gods out. Jonas Marsden is their current leader, the Lord Protector. The War Mage Corps is the military police branch. Mage Talbert.

Faerie
The covens’ portals are routed through Faerie. Lord Caedmon is a king of the light fey; gryphons are the sigil of his house. Tristram is Caedmon’s usual spy who wears a dragon skull. Lady Nimue is said to have had a goddess for a mother. Claude, who is/was Anthony’s couturier, has way too much magic as well as a spell not seen in five centuries: Nodo D’Amore, an incubus-based spell. Spriggans are used as spies. A vargr is a sort of fey seer.

Aeslinn is king of the Svarestri, the Dark Fey, presumably created by the gods.

The Black Knights, Black Circle??, are…
…a group of powerful dark mages, the elite of the magical underworld. They are majorly addicted to magic which they steal to increase their abilities and get high. Jonathan is the worst of them, alive at least since the twelfth century.

Demons
Lord Rosier is an incubus and Pritkin’s father. Pritkin’s mother was falf-fae, half-human. Rian is one of Rosier’s. The Allû are guards for the demon high council, spirits in armor-like suits. Adramelech, a.k.a., Adra, is a trans-dimensional being of immense power, who prefers a glamor of a slightly portly, middle-aged schoolteacher — and is head of the high demon council. The Shadowland is the demon realm used as a neutral zone for meetings, marketing, etc.

The Great Dangers are…
…also known as Ancient Horrors, descendants of the eleven children created by Tiamat (Babylonian), a.k.a., Tethys (Greek), who seems to have experimented with various demon species, including the Apkallu. Gaylord is a right nasty rotter, trapped in a book.

Decimus had been part of Marco’s squad in Roman days. The Badlands is the location of the prison for time travelers. It was Fat Tony‘s court where the young Cassie was raised. Manlikans are humongous creatures, elemental constructs that require a rider. The Spartoi had been demigod sons of Ares, the god of war. Chimera is a spell that splits the soul into two or more pieces, allowing an adept to operate in multiple timelines or more than one place in a single timeline.

The Cover and Title

It’s a tempest of a cover with a background that starts with a black sky descending into the orange, rust, and grays of the storm sparking around Cassie’s blonde hair, lightening into a smoky, still-sparking cloud cover which descends into a deep royal blue. It’s Cassie who takes up the bottom three-fourths of the cover in a black dress with spaghetti straps and a sweetheart neckline, her light blue eyes staring out at us. At the very top is an info blurb in white with the author’s name right above Cassie’s head, also in white. The series information is in a much smaller size to the right and above Cassie’s shoulder. The title is in a pale yellow, which crosses Cassie’s chest and midriff. At the very bottom is a testimonial in white and pale, pale orange.

The title is indeed a whirlwind of action, as Cassie must Brave the Tempest of war, politics and love.

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