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.Shatter the Earth by Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #10
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Author on February 4, 2020
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also in this series: Tempt the Stars
Also by this author: Tempt the Stars , Reap the Wind, Ride the Storm, "Black Friday", Brave the Tempest, Masks, Queen's Gambit
Tenth in the Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series and revolving around an unwanted Pythia who’s learning on the job. The focus is on Cassie, the new Pythia (for the past six months); a powerful gorgeous vampire, Mircea Basarab; and a half-incubus/part-human/part-fae — and very scary war mage — John Pritkin.
Trust — a really big deal for Cassie and Pritkin — is the underlying issue.
“Two guarded, mentally messed up people who had long ago learned to hide their hearts away, finally daring to trust.”
Meanwhile, Mircea is succumbing to the vampire curse, obsessing over personal matters when he should be concentrating on the war. This obsession will find Cassie chasing him throughout time to prevent his changing the timeline. And, hoo boy, what a lot of adventures this leads to!
Chance spends quite a bit of time with info blurbs on the past, although it is handy for the refresher course. It’s a bit of a relief to know that the Wallachians of the day were getting fed up with Vlad’s entertainments. Chance also provides plenty of foreshadowing that finally resolves itself near the end. I still don’t understand how it ended up happening. There’s also a sneaky twist about Elena — actually a number of twists!, and Chance sets us up to continue the series.
It’s rather annoying. Mircea has his excuse for his obsession, but Cassie, using first person protagonist point-of-view, is so obtuse in this. Why does she keep denying that Elena was kidnapped? Isn’t she curious about why?
Who’d’ve thunk Horatiu would come up with such words of wisdom? I loved how he pointed out that if it works for the goose, it works for the gander as well, lol. Then there’s Tami handing out some danged useful advice as well about delegating and prioritizing. Gertie has her own points to make to Cassie about how Cassie is using the power. And she’s right too.
Crack me up! That scene where Cassie needs to be “certified” to use the Silver Circle library was so hilarious, and doesn’t say much about some of those war mages’ intellects.
“His actions spoke volumes, all on their own, whole libraries of thought and emotion.”
It’s been awhile since I read the series, and I received Shatter the Earth before I had a chance to re-read Ride the Storm and Brave the Tempest, so I’m rather clueless about what’s been happening. After all these stories, it’s weird to find Cassie and Pritkin as an item. As for Cassie’s vampires all being emancipated?? Huh??? Oh, man, the courting, ahem, that Cassie’s been surviving. Oh, boy.
It’s definitely been a fun series to read with Chance’s take on the magic world and how the vampires, magic users, and fey interact. Lord knows, there are plenty of factions in each of the three groups as well, which only adds to the fun. The leaders of various factions all want a piece of Cassie and even the “allies” on the good guys side don’t necessarily like each other. The witches certainly have good reason! They all want to control her and do not like her being such an independent cuss.
It’s so sweet that Cassie’s tiny little acolytes adore Marco, and that they in turn give him purpose. Yep, we finally get back history on Marco. We also get more back history on Rhea, and do her mommy issues ever pour out! Then there’s Pritkin’s confession. Jeez.
The court is a bit of a frat house what with midnight strip poker parties and sneaking food. Mostly because Cassie wasn’t brought up at the Pythian Court and could care less about protocol and primping.
It’s Gertie who gives Cassie the dirt about the role of Pythia being that of a servant, although Gertie does turn it around on itself and note that getting dirty (as a servant) is the most fun part of the job. Oh, that memory Gertie’s grandmother made for her is so sweet. And sad all at the same time.
That is one of those points that no one seems to get, that the power chooses where it will go. Just as the power will do whatever it likes with these new abilities Cassie is getting from the Lover’s Knot spell. Gertie certainly sees the power as being independent. I do like that new one that allows Cassie to page through someone’s life like a book.
On the negative side, there were sections that left me clueless as to how we got there, and Chance needs to talk to her proofreaders. Oy.
I gotta say, I’m exhausted, cold, and I really need a long, hot shower after reading Shatter the Earth. Just reading of Cassie’s adventures will do that to ya. I mean, who’d’ve thought libraries could be so scary!
Oops, seems that Lover’s Knot spell Mircea had put on him and Cassie is evolving in some very unexpected ways with powers zipping back and forth between them.
And Pritkin’s demon half is getting stronger.
Cassandra Palmer is a time traveling, ghost whispering, chief seer of the supernatural world who broke up with Mircea two months ago. You could also describe her as a “demigoddess foundling raised by vampires”. Some of her “new” powers include VampVision. Billy Joe is an Irish gambler murdered back in the 1800s whose ghost is now Cassie’s friend.
Elizabeth O’Donnell, a.k.a., Artemis, who had been a goddess who kicked out all the other gods and then slammed the metaphysical door on them, later became Agnes’ heir, until she ran off with Roger. Seems Artemis had been a huntress, only she’d been hunting demons and not deer. Roger Palmer had been a necromancer con artist who had ended up working for Tony Gallina, one of Mircea’s masters. They’re also Cassie’s parents. Eugenie had been Cassie’s governess.
John Pritkin is one scary war mage, and he’s in a relationship (about time) with Cassie. In the demon world, he’s known as Emrys, because he’s Rosier’s son. When Pritkin first came to earth, he was known as Myrddin (we’d know him as Merlin). He’s made Cassie her very own war mage coat. God knows she needs it!
Senator Mircea Basarab has been a vampire since the 15th century, developing some strong mental powers over the centuries. A one-time prince of Wallachia and Cassie’s “husband”, now he’s a diplomat for the North American Vampire Senate and has been appointed the commander of today’s army. Elena had been Mircea’s peasant wife back then, who discovered her pregnancy after Mircea was Changed. She had a daughter, Dorina, a dhampir. Horatiu had been Mircea’s trusted servant back in the day, and even now as a vampire. Vlad III “the Impaler”, a.k.a., Dracula, was Mircea’s older brother.
The Pythian Court
Agnes had been the previous Pythia. She’s the one who “arrested” Roger Palmer back in the 1600s. Gertie was Pythia before Agnes; she’s also Hilde’s sister. Their grandmother had been a touch clairvoyant as well. The current court consists of sixty-one people including initiates, bodyguards, acolytes, Tami’s adopted kids, coven witches, and war mages.
Rhea is Agnes’ previously hidden daughter with Jonas and is Cassie’s chief acolyte and heir. Other acolytes include Annabelle; Hilde, who’s no longer retired; the stern Milly; and, four-year-old Amelie.
Tami, a null witch, is Cassie’s friend and self-appointed life manager. Françoise is a French witch from the 17th century and is now Cassie’s appointment secretary. Augustine is a part-fey clothing designer and Cassie’s court designer…and what I wouldn’t give to have some of his outfits!! He’s also creating some amazing weapons for the war mages. Reggie is the Silver Circle liaison to the Pythian Court. The Coven liaisons include Vi, the female version of Marco, and her lover, the punkish Saffy.
Marco, a vampire who had once been a gladiator, is Cassie’s chief bodyguard. Turns out he’s done some work as an investigator. Rico, who’s interested in courting Rhea, and the food-lovin’ Fred are more of Cassie’s vampire bodyguards. Turns out they’ve been assigned to her as a punishment, lol.
The Silver Circle is…
…an organization of the supposedly good magic users with underground headquarters in Stratford, England. Jonas Marsden, a mage, is its current leader, who’s bummed that he can’t control Cassie as he’d intended. Emma Lantham had been a librarian until the enemy invaded. Tom is what Cassie will name Mrs Lantham’s cat. Tobias is a chef at HQ and a knowing friend of Pritkin’s.
The War Mage Corps is the police unit of the Silver Circle where Caleb is a formidable war mage and a friend of Pritkin’s…and who also knows his secret. More war mages include the snotty Simpson, Benson, Sato, Jenkins, Thompson, and McKennon.
The Black Circle is…
…the bad magic users, who include Jonathan, a truly evil mage who’s been alive for centuries. Jo, a necromancer, had been a Pythian acolyte who went rogue.
The Blarestri, a.k.a.,
…the Blue Fey, are led by Caedmon.
The Svarestri, a.k.a.,
…the Black Fey, find their power base in earth and disdain all humans. Aeslinn is their king.
The Alorestri, a.k.a.,
…the Green Fey, have kidnapped human women for years for breeding purposes.
Adra is the head of the demon council. And what Cassie learns about why they cursed Pritkin will make you so mad! Rosier is Lord of the Incubi and wants Emrys to help him hold onto his throne. A rahkschalt demon is a world shifter, one who can travel freely between worlds.
Lover’s Knot, a.k.a., Nodo D’Amore, is a spell that allows Mircea and Cassie to share abilities. Abilities that are evolving and merging. Chimera is a technique that allows the user to inhabit two places at once. The Tears of Apollo is a potion that gives Pythias extra stamina. The god, Apollo, was the original source of the Pythian power. The chrono cells are the Pythian jail cells, set outside of time. The Golden Lotus is a salon for the supernatural set in Chelsea, London, that Rhea recommended.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a chilly range of blues with a snow-covered forest in the background, a royal blue sky with a full moon centered at the top. Cassie is in profile, her long blonde hair floating in the breeze, and making me cold looking at her in her cropped black tank top and what appears to be a filmy, multi-layered skirt blowing in that same breeze. The title is in yellow and centered over Cassie’s hip with an info blurb in white below it and the author’s name immediately below that, also in white. I do wish she’d put the series information on the cover…
The title is mostly Cassie’s world, for events Shatter the Earth where nothing can be okay again.