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.Ride the Storm by Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #8
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Berkley on August 1, 2017
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also in this series: Tempt the Stars
Also by this author: Tempt the Stars , Reap the Wind, "Black Friday", Brave the Tempest, Masks, Shatter the Earth, Queen's Gambit
Eighth in the Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series (eleventh in the Cassie Palmer World) and revolving around Cassie, the Pythia they all want and all ignore.
I was going to give this a “4”, but in going through my notes, it has to be a “5”. Chance has done such an incredible job of playing with history and mythology, creating such marvelous tension amidst all the humor — and such descriptions!
It’s all about the greed for power, and it’s not confined to the bad guys! All seen through Cassie’s perspective in first person protagonist point-of-view, which makes sense, as it is all about Cassie, and it’s her struggles that make the story.
Back history! Omigod, there is so much back history given out! All those twists and turns about what happened with Cassie’s parents will tweak your brain, and it all finally makes sense. The twists involving those fey artifacts will have your head spinning.
It’s an eye opener with Rosier as well, as we learn the back history on King Arthur and what led Uther’s actions. Rosier’s discoveries about being a father, and what Rosier continued doing just as his father did.
Rian provides back history on Carlos, a.k.a., Casanova as well. Why he’s so ambitious. And she explains why Mircea is so focused on this one thing. Rian also explains Marco and Rosier, using the same theory, one that makes a whole lotta sense.
And Cassie learns that there’s no black-and-white, but multiple shades of gray.
Chance does insert some interesting conflicts. That Pythias throughout time can interfere with the Pythia of Cassie’s time. Rosier can’t use his demon power because of the demon council, and he loses his body in this one. Oh, man, the descriptions of what he, ahem, looks like as he re-grows his body…ick…lol… Supposedly Cassie carries her mother’s god powers, but she’s always using them up, but I can’t do my usual whine about it. ‘Cause Cassie genuinely tries to get food and rest but there’s never any time. How’s that for a trick of Fate? The vamps believe Cassie is theirs to command, and Mircea can be pretty clueless for such a master manipulator. There’s that minor issue of the consul’s concerns over Mircea’s growing influence and power.
It does get tense dang quick. It’s bad enough with Cassie trapped by Gertie, but then that hostage situation at Augustine’s…and Rhea’s sacrifice followed by that incredible battle. Being sold into sex slavery. Surviving the Badlands and King Arthur’s court and the battle after that…and on and on.
It’s been a fascinating hunt for Pritkin these last few books. Cassie keeps coming across the Pritkin of that time in each timeline she falls into, but he always “gets away”. From the fae in Wales, Nimue, the fae armies, the encounter with King Arthur and his Court, and each time a more mischievous Pritkin emerges.
Oh man, Cassie’s dad is reminiscing about his “courtship” with her mom. We also get a bit more of Cassie’s mother’s back history, including the damage she did to Rosier, er, rather, Rosier’s dad, and why she was so important. Hoo, boy. There’s more back history with Rosier, and it seems that he and Cassie have a whole heckuva lot more in common that she’d’ve thought. As for Mircea. Whoa, there’s a pivotal desire in Ride the Storm that finally explains why Mircea took such care with Cassie!
Then some of those minor funny asides with the most important being Carla Torres and the other journalists ragging away! Oh, YES. And it. Is. About. Time. Jules’ story about that sneaky Don and getting around vamp rules, lol. Sneaky boy!
As for the Graeae, I do love them. They’re a hideous comic team that add mayhem. Sorry, I should have said “adds MORE mayhem” to the story and quite colorfully, lol. There’s more fun with Chance’s poking fun at the paparazzi.
It’s a good message that Cassie adds in, that power is not good or bad, but what you do with that power. She also lays down the rules, lol. Yep, Cassie is starting to get the hang of ruling.
Argh!! That ending. That cliffhanger of an ending, as Chance teases us with how Cassie might respond…!
Cassie and Rosier are desperate to intercept Pritkin’s soul as it hurtles back to Hell, courtesy of a demon curse. And Gertie has slapped a “serious threat” label onto Cassie.
It’s a dance and a half, as Cassie tries to evade Gertie throughout time and battles and ignore Rosier’s snark, while hunting for Pritkin. All while trying to keep the ancient gods from getting through.
Cassandra “Cassie” Palmer is the world’s Pythia, the supernatural world’s chief seer and time traveler. Mom, Elizabeth O’Donnell, a powerful clairvoyant — and former god — being groomed to be Pythia, ran away. Dad, Roger Palmer, had been a powerful necromancer who had dealt with ghosts and had been part of a guild of time-traveling utopians trying to improve the world. Dad’s a ghost himself now, but imprisoned in the Badlands, a nothingness, a cemetery for ghosts. Daisy is Roger’s ghost-possessed golem. A second ghost is the colonel.
John Pritkin is a war mage, and Rosier’s son. Ruth is Pritkin’s ex-wife and part demon. And it turns out that what happened to her was her own fault! Caleb was a war mage and Pritkin’s friend.
Today’s Las Vegas is…
…where Cassie and her Pythian Court is based these days in Dante’s hotel and casino, which is owned by a possessed vampire, the whiny Casanova (formerly Juan Carlos). Rian is the girlfriend/incubus who possesses Casanova. Billy Joe is Cassie’s ride-along, a ghost who lives in a necklace. Rhea Silvanus is Cassie’s acolyte, and Jonas and Agnes’ daughter who had been part of the old court. Tami is a null (cancels out magic) with a belt in ju-jitsu and Cassie’s best friend. Tami’s on her own mission to save children, of whom Jiao, a young necromancer, is one and her son, Jesse, is another.
Marco is a six-foot-five-inch hulk of a vampire and now chief bodyguard to Cassie. The other bodyguards include the red-headed charmer Roy; the portly Fred, a former accountant with some amazing power(!); and, the suave Rico.
Françoise is a witch working at Augustine’s these days. The ghastly appearing (and mannered) Graeae — Deino, Enyo, and Pemphredo — were supposed to have been a myth. Nope, and they truly do share one eyeball and one tooth. Augustine is a half-fey fashion designer to the supernatural set, and I want some of those garments. They are soo amazing!
The witches who finally show up include the fail-safes: Abigail (Pink Hair) and Hildegarde von Brandt (White Hair); Hildegarde had been a member of Gertie’s court and her sister.
The Vampire Senates number…
…six and they control the vampire world. They’re eager to control Cassie and part of that strategy was Lord Mircea, a 500+-year-old vampire senator, first-level master, and second-in-command to the North American consul as well as chief advisor, the go-to ambassador, and miracle worker, marrying Cassie. He’s now the Senate Enforcer and General of all the senates. Dorina is Mircea’s dhampir daughter with his beloved Elena. Horatiu was Mircea’s longtime servant. Raphael, the Renaissance artist, had been a vampire in Tony’s court and a spy for Mircea.
Jules Fortescue (his real name was Jimmy Tucker) used to be a vampire whom Cassie turned back into a human, which gave the Senate the wrong ideas. Now he’s the vampire liaison with the new vamps. Roberto loves to torment the new guys. Louis-Cesare is a new senate member. Kit Marlowe, a.k.a., Argus, is the consul’s chief spy.
Anthony is the current European consul and has lots of enemies.
The news media includes…
…Crystal Gazing (the equivalent of the National Enquirer), the Oracle (Grafton was the reporter), the Witch’s Companion (think home dec, lol), and Graphology, of which Carla Torres is the senior editor (think New York Times).
The previous Pythian Court had…
…Agnes, Lady Phemonoe, as the Pythia before Cassie, and Agnes had been Gertie’s acolyte. Myra was Agnes’ heir, but she went rogue. The acolytes in Agnes’ court include Elizabeth “Lizzie” Warrender; Amelie; Johanna “Jo” Zirimis, a political appointment who is missing and seems to have more power than she should; and, the rest are dead.
The 19th century Pythian Court is in…
…London with Gertie as this time’s Pythia, Lady Herophile, and has she got a burr up her backside about Cassie! Lydia is one of her acolytes.
Another Pythian Court outside Paris where…
…Isabeau is Pythia.
The Pythian Court in Paris
Bezio was a friend of Mircea’s, since their days together in Venice. It was that response from Eudoxia, that time’s Pythia, that made Mircea reflect. Her acolytes included Athenais and Gwenore.
The Pythian Court in the time of Vlad was…
…based in Constantinople with Berenice, Lady Aristonice, its Pythia. Eudoxia was her chief acolyte.The last emperor was Constantine XI.
The Silver Circle is…
…the leading magical organization (the good guys, supposedly) and led by Jonas, the new Lord Protector. Saunders had been their old, corrupt leader. The War Mage Corps are their soldiers and include Jug Ears and Red Face.
The Black Circle is…
…the antithesis of the Silver with their own horrifying war mages, magic addicts and crazy with it.
King Arthur’s Court in…
…Caerlon, Wales. Uther is the battle name for Ambrosius Aurelianus, a.k.a., Riothamus, “king of all the Britons”, who was actually a war chief trying to hold Britain together after the Romans pulled out. Igraine was the daughter of the Lady of the Lake, Nimue (the sea witch), but with little of her mother’s magic. Igraine was wife to Gorlois, Prince of Cornwall. (Gorlois and Igraine had a daughter, Morgaine le Fey, Emrys’ mother, one-quarter fey, and Arthur’s half-sister who chose the fey side of her heritage.)
Rosier was in Arthur’s time as Myrddin which was Latinized to Merlin, a role Pritkin took over later. Mallt is the laundryman’s wife. Pona is a servant at the castle. Xanthippe had been a lion tamer’s assistant back in the day. Dyrfrig is one of the guards.
…just what you think, and not a good place for magic users, as it blocks their powers — but not vampire abilities. It’s also where the leaders who want the gods back, including Tony, are holed up. The Alorestri, a.k.a., the Green Fey, are of the forests. The Svarestri are black-armored and hate humans, and they’ve stolen the staff Cassie is after. Their king is Aeslinn, the King of the Wastelands. The Blarestri, a.k.a., Blue Fey, wear blue or gold with Caedmon as their Sky King. Budic is a slave trader.
…actually worlds of hells with a wide range of creatures. Rosier is one of ’em, a demon, lord of the incubi, a master of illusion, and Pritkin’s father. Adra, short for Adaramelech, is the title for the speaker of the council.
The gods include…
…Ares, now that Apollo is useless. The Spartoi are sons of Apollo, demigods.
Seiðer is a communication spell designed by the gods to talk to each other between worlds. A Pythian Court is actually a coven with the Pythia, a bride of Apollo, holding a bit of Apollo’s power. That power chooses the next Pythia and guards the timeline with her help. The Tears of Apollo is a rare potion designed to help Pythias access their power. Dhampirs are the bogeymen of the vampires. Laura had been Cassie’s young ghost friend when Cassie was growing up in Tony’s court, and Eugenie had been her governess. A triskelion is a magic-using person with three elements.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a raging storm with lightning flashing through the author’s name (in white at the top below an info blurb) and ripping through the right centered title in red. It’s Cassie to the left of the title in a three-quarter profile in a black cap-sleeved dress with a round neckline split by a deep slit at the front, hand on hip. Her long, wavy blonde hair is floating around her with the energy of that storm. Below the title is the series information and a testimonial, both in white.
The title lets Cassie Ride the Storm of all that time travel with Rosier, as well as the storm of that last battle…and it’s a doozy.