“Embrace the Night” by Karen Chance is the third installment in the Cassandra Palmer series and like the previous two books, shows us a day in a clairvoyant’s life, who yet again manages to get stir riots and tangle herself in a web too closely knit to even cast a warding spell.
This time we find Cassie in a rather larger mess than the usual. Her to-do list involves an ongoing series of suicide missions to stay alive, while her list of arch nemesis keeps growing and growing. After the news of Cassie’s claiming the title, powers and responsibilities of the Pythia, ultimate clairvoyant and a big thing in the magical community, a power play erupts with fractions from the Circle of mages, the Vampire Council, the Dark Fey Court and even the gods wanting her either dead or under their control. Determined to maintain independence Cassie solves her problems by making deals, which cost her a lot and may shorten her live indefinitely. The search for the Codex Merlini to break the geis spell set by Mircea, which mutated into an uncontrollable force threatening to kill both, plunges Cassandra into a very dangerous to the time line time traveling, where a lot of secrets are revealed. The myserious past of her guarding and always pissed off battle Mage Pritkin is revealed as well as ambushes and people from Cassie’s past appear she never expected. A novel with a major boom in the story department.
As usual Miss Chance has vacuumed insane quantities of story arcs, which can never be interpreted fully in the reviews, ever, but as a whole I have to say that once the chess table has been set, the players and strategies introduced, it’s a lot easier to follow what happens and by now the readers are expecting the fast pace. The major strengths in the Cassandra Palmer series are ever present. We watch Cassandra struggle with each task at hand. Each new deal she closes opens a new one, which pushes her to her limits and beyond, forcing her to grow. The theme in “Embrace the Night” is maturing, showing Cassie gradually acting as the Pythia rather than experiencing the power burst. The story progresses by itself without something ever being forced. The choices she makes and the consequences from them no matter how viewed are the only ones to make, thus offering us a real organic feel and a domino effect on nitroglycerine. Since the series deals with time, we finally glimpse into Cassandra’s life on the streets, thus adding another dimension to her personality. The same goes for Pritkin too, who suddenly picks up importance and is revealed to be so much more.
But the biggest treat comes during the adrenaline scenes, when we the readers are treated to a more thorough look through the magic of this alternative world. The limelight falls on time traveling and manipulation as the main power of the Pythia. Time is all not that simple and messing with it can be tricky. Cassandra learns that the hard way. Ley lines make their appearance here as well and an ancient spell, which can mean the doom of humanity. On the funny side though, we get to share a laugh with a wicked fashion designer’s enchanted dresses and Cassandra’s miserable attempts to reconcile with her inner grace.
“Embrace the Night” is definitely a tangled novel, unlike any other so far in the urban fantasy genre and a worthy sequel to the first two in the Cassandra Palmer series. I had a really great time, the point I wanted to write fan fiction. Giving the series a try is essential.
Priginally posted at Temple Library Reviews