Book Review: Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance

Posted November 9, 2013 by Stormi in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Tempt the Stars 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.

Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Penguin, Signet Select Pages: 418
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also in this series: Blood Trade, Closer to Home

Being a goddess is a lot less fun than you might think. Especially when you’re only a half goddess, and you only found out about it recently, and you still don’t know what you’re doing half the time. And when you’ve just used your not-so-reliable powers to burglarize the booby-trapped office of a vampire mob boss.

Yeah, that part sucks.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Cassandra Palmer, aka the Pythia, the freshly minted chief seer of the supernatural world. After all, Cassie still has to save a friend from a fate worse than death, deal with an increasingly possessive master vampire, and prevent a party of her own acolytes from unleashing a storm of fury upon the world. Totally just your average day at the office, right?

Also by this author: Reap the Wind, Ride the Storm, "Black Friday", Brave the Tempest, Masks, Shatter the Earth, Queen's Gambit

Reviewed by: Kathy Davie

Sixth in the Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series revolving around Cassie, a clairvoyant witch who inherited the title of Pythia. Not that it’s done her much good in the past three months.

My Take
I gotta say that Karen Chance has one heck of an imagination. Too much of one sometimes. She has definitely given the whole magic world/demons/witches/vampires genre a major twist which I do adore. Now if only Cassie herself wasn’t such a ditz. Then again…I hadn’t realized that the events of the past six novels (including Tempt the Stars) has taken place in only three months. Considering that Cassie had no idea about her abilities or powers (other than the clairvoyance), she’s actually handling things very well.

It still doesn’t mean that she thinks things through. Nor does she ever seem to assert herself. Admittedly, again, she hasn’t had a lot of time to deal with the massive changes happening in her life, but you’d think, as Pythia, that she’d do something about ensuring food! For that matter, Casanova is Mercia’s underling, can’t Mercia order Casanova to be sure that Cassie gets food? It just gets irritating that Cassie is always starving from her hotel suite… And since Casanova gets so angry every time she leaves her suite, you’d think it would be extra incentive for him to ensure her suite is filled with food!

Oh, brother, the truth about Cassie’s dad finally comes out, and how very unexpected. It was a bit of a letdown to be honest, although I did think Roger had an excellent point about the difference between his homunculi and Pritkin’s golems. And that’s just some of the side bashing that goes on. It’s like a bunch of kids on the playground: the Silver is better than the Black, the Huntress was a wicked killer of demons, mages are better than witches. And then flop it all back on itself in reverse.

Nor do I understand why the Silver Circle and the vampires insist on keeping Cassie in the dark. Her ignorance is blowing up in her face every time, er, installment, and now the witches are coming down on her. Which I suspect is going to be a very good thing. Even if they piss me off. Their words are certainly firming up Cassie’s spine.

We also discover how Cassie’s mom and Roger met. And the truth about Pritkin’s wife! Whoa…

I am so bummed…I’d hoped to hear more about the debunking-urban-legends TV crew. How they’d explain Dante’s. Instead Chance just leaves us hanging when we could have had a good laugh. Again.

Oh, LOL!! I love it. Cassie’s the Australia of the 1800s.

The chase scenes in this are out of this world—literally and figuratively. James Bond would have problems! Chariots, zip lines, magic carpets, you name it. I loved and was frustrated by them. Loved how much they enjoyed it. Was frustrated by too much action and not enough emotion to it. I expected more hurt (which sounds mean…) and a lot more dirt.

Rosier can’t have it both ways. Either Cassie’s an idiot or she’s a plotting schemer. I know which way I’ll jump.

I did appreciate Chance’s idea of Midgard and how Earth and Faerie are connected with the description of Hells and Heavens and their locations. Very plausible. Mom’s “explanation” for her hunting is also good. A very interesting twist on this world’s facts and past. Who knows what Mom really intends for the future…bwa-ha-ha…

Then there’s that bloody tease of a scene where Pritkin is about to spill his guts to Cassie. And I can’t believe she doesn’t realize that she loves him…?

The Story
Cassie is determined to rescue Pritkin from Rosier’s Hell only to find that she’s landed Pritkin in even worse trouble. The council of demons thinks she’s in cahoots with their greatest enemy and besides, any excuse to hurt Rosier is a bonus in their book.

That’s not the only hurt as Cassie learns way too much about how much she’s been left out of the loop.

The Characters
Cassandra Palmer was raised in a mob vampire’s household—the same one who ordered her parents killed—so she knows all about vampire machinations. Now that she’s Pythia, the world’s chief seer, and supposedly the head honcho for all of MAGICdom, her only real power is in her ability to shift through time and escape. (Agnes, Lady Phemonoe, was the previous Pythia.) Roger Palmer, Dad, is/was/is? a mage with the Black Circle, and his soul is trapped in a paperweight Tony gloats over. Mom’s a goddess, Artemis, the huntress.

John Pritkin, a.k.a., Emrys, is half-demon incubus and half-human. He’s also a war mage who had been protecting Cassie and accepted a one-way ticket back to Dad’s to save her life in Hunt the Moon, 5. Lord Rosier is Lord of the Incubi, and Pritkin’s dad. He’s been trying to kill off Cassie and get Emrys back to Hell and his capital city, Zarr Alim, for years. Did I say years? More like decades…

Caleb Carter is a Silver Circle war mage and a friend of Pritkin’s. He intends to help Cassie rescue Pritkin. Poor baby.

Casanova is a vampire who’s hosting an incubus. I love how Cassie describes him: a “man” used to lying around on silken sheets who took to his first real job with a vengeance. She’s got that right! Part of Mercia’s stable of vampires, he runsDante’s, a gambling casino in Vegas. He also spends a lot of time moaning and groaning about the destruction Cassie regularly works throughout the place, LOL.Rian is an incubus as well, and she’ll help Cassie, Casanova, and Caleb get inside Rosier’s palace.

Marco is the vampire in charge of Cassie’s security in Vegas. Fred is a new, small vampire who is an accountant(!), a very observant one. Jules is the blond vampire who triggers the ward at Augustine’s. Oopsies. Rico is another of the vampires assigned to Cassie’s security. Seems that when one of his vampires screws up, he sends them to Australia, er, Cassie, I mean. If they screw up there, well, who knows what Mircea will do.

Jonas Marsden is the head of the Silver Circle, the largest organization of the magic workers on Earth. The witches who break into Cassie’s suite include Zara“Jasmine”, Beatrice is the pushy little witch, and Evelyn is the Valyrie. They use Druid magic: a combination of human magic—pre-Circle—and fey magic.

Turns out Rhea Silvanus is not one of the witches, but one of the Pythia’s Court, part of Cassie’s coven, with a warning for Cassie. Adepts are an upper level part of the Court, possible Pythias-in-waiting.

Mercia Basarab is her vampire “husband”, and he’s merely mentioned a few times with one past appearance with Kit Marlowe, the spymaster for the North American Vampire Senate. Laura is the five-year-old ghost with whom Cassie used to play when she lived in Tony’s house. Tony is “the Renaissance equivalent of white trash”. Billy Joe is the ghost who lives in her necklace. Augustine is a dress designer.

Daisy, a ghost, is one of the “Tin Men”, a homumculus, guarding Cassie’s parents’ refuge; an ex-marine colonel’s ghost from the Spanish-American War is the other. The Black Circle is the opposite of the Silver.

The Shadowland is a demon world where the demon council meets, a neutral ground. Allû are the council’s personal guards. Unstoppable. Unkillable. TheGatekeeper summons the council if there is need. Adra, short for Adaramelech, is the title for the speaker of the council. Asag of the Asakku is a mass of tentacles and pustules who has oversight of Earth.

The Cover
The cover is true to the title with its galaxy of stars in the skies over a brightly lit Las Vegas as Cassie stands with assurance, hands on hips in her little black dress, blonde hair floating in the breeze.

I’m not sure what inspired the title, unless it’s the council scene, in which stars become demons and and Cassie tries to Tempt the Stars into helping her.

Reviewed by Kathy Davie

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