Book Review: Karen Chance’s Embrace the Night

Posted October 11, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

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.

Book Review: Karen Chance’s Embrace the Night

Embrace the Night


Karen Chance

urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by ROC on April 1, 2008 and has 378 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Curse the Dawn, Death's Mistress, Hunt the Moon, Chicks Kick Butt, Fury's Kiss, "The Gauntlet", "The Queen's Witch", "House at Cobb End", Midnight's Daughter, Claimed by Shadow, Touch the Dark, Tempt the Stars, "In Vino Veritas", Updating Pritkin, Reap the Wind,

Third in the Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series about a hunted Pythia doing her best to stay alive, free her father, and get rid of the geis.

My Take

It’s all fun and games…on the grim side…when you hang with Cassie and Pritkin on this chase through the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Upstairs, downstairs, and through so many chambers, LOL.

The complexity Chance introduces in this world only makes it more fun to read as she brings a different perspective on the interrelationships between vampires and magic-users, especially when its culture is supposed to look up to an ultimate authority, the Pythia, an authority who is only paid lip-service.

The children complicate things although having the kitchen gargoyles help out does take some of the strain off Cassie, even as the Gæae continue their brand of mayhem. But Pritkin seems to have developed a split personality — at least until Cassie discovers the truth — EEK! LOL, then Cassie meets the Pritkin of 1793, and he is so not impressed. Cassie certainly puts her vampire court upbringing to good effect, though. That chase through the ley lines and then Cassie’s “sleight” of feet were too funny, even if I did feel sorry for Pritkin.

Mircea has his own plan of action laid out while we meet with the many facets of Pritkin (and his family!) as Cassie stumbles and leaps from one disastrous adventure to the next always managing to land on her feet even if not always in her own shoes. I must say that the effects of Mircea’s death are a problem I hadn’t considered. It certainly does impart an urgency to Cassie’s actions!

Oh, wow! I love Augustine’s outfits!

I loved the scene when Cassie blew up at Pritkin. And she’s absolutely right. She keeps telling him how she grew up, and he never seems to listen! Then again, she can be amazingly obtuse about danger. But then again, again *grin*, if they’d just tell her stuff, I suspect she’d make better choices. Useful back history on Pritkin — you will not believe it! — and Mircea — why and what happened when he “died”.

I do so enjoy Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series. I mean, how can you not crack up at writing like the following:

“At least I discovered why gun grips are ribbed: so when your palm is sweating with abject terror, you can still manage to clutch the thing.”

Followed by:

“…it was okay as long as I shot only at supernatural bad guys who were already shooting at me. Lately, I’d had to broaden that definition to anytime my life was in danger. I was currently leaning toward a slightly more comprehensive rule somewhere between proactive self-defense and the-bastards-had-it-coming, which, if I survived long enough, I intended to blame on my deranged partner rubbing off on me.”

Then I loved this particular thought:

“I needed to clear a few things off my to-do list before I had to start keeping it in volumes.”

There is never a dull moment in Embraced by Night with all the chasing and revelations. The complexity of the spell, of Pritkin’s paranoia, Rosier’s fears, and natural vampire politicking is enough to keep everything moving at the speed of light! Terrifying as Rosier is, he is funny.

“‘I knew you,’ he repeated. ‘Therefore I knew how it ends.'”

The Story

It’s a dangerous treasure hunt that Pritkin and Cassie are on, desperately searching for Codex Merlini for the counterspell to that deadly geis. And it’s a hunt that leads through and under a famous Parisian cemetery, a djinn’s terrifying message, but knowing she can trust Pritkin is a big help.

Until she learns she can’t trust him at all. She’ll just have to find another way to breach a dark mage stronghold. In 1793 Paris.

The Characters

Cassie Palmer is the Pythia, and John Pritkin, a deadly war mage turned rogue from the Silver Circle, is doing his best to keep her alive. Billy Joe is her ghost ally who is supposed to keep an eye on things. Eugenie was the governess who taught Cassie so many useful skills. Nick is another mage with a preference for research.

Mircea, a first level master vampire, placed a too-adaptable dúthracht geis on Cassie when she was a kid, only he didn’t take time travel into account. Rafe is one of Tony’s vampires who has devolved back to Mircea. A vampire, he was Raphael, a great artist during the Renaissance. Now, he’s struggling to deliver a message. When Tony committed treason, Mircea confiscated everything Tony owned, including Dante’s and Casanova, an incubus who possessed a vampire. He’s interpreted Mircea’s order to assist Cassie in his own special way. Randy is an incubus who works at Dante’s. Horatiu, Mircea’s manservant, is a mistake made in gratitude.

Alphonse is Tony’s right-hand man and chief thug with some scary hobbies. Sal is his moll with very definite ideas about how Cassie projects herself. She does have a position to fill, after all.

Kit Marlowe was a famous Elizabethan playwright before he was turned. Now he’s the Consul‘s spymaster. Empress Ming-de heads up the Asian senate.

Saleh is a djinn who caught the wrong person’s attention. Apollo is anxious for Herophile to obtain the Codex. Augustine is a dress designer who creates the most marvelous designs: constantly changing embroidery, colors that change to reflect your mood, and more. Françoise is a witch from the 1700s who survived her death and slavery, and much prefers hanging with Cassie.

Tami’s Misfit Mafia
Tamika Hodges ran her own homeless shelter for magically endowed kids, which is how Cassie met her. Jesse is her fiery son; Jeannie is clairvoyant; Astrid is a null which helps calm the kids’ powers down; and, one of ’em’s a necromancer.

Radella is a pixie whom we first met in Touch the Dark, 1, and again in Claimed by Shadow, 2, when she helped free Cassie and troupe in exchange for a precious rune. Now she’s the Dark Fae king’s liaison, there to ensure Cassie and crew look for the Codex Merlini as promised. She also intends to drag Françoise back into slavery.

Manassier is a grandfatherly looking mage with a map. Lord Rosier is lord of the incubi — and Pritkin’s dad! The Vixen Vigilante is busy helping imprisoned children escape and blowing up prisons.

The Silver Circle is a group of light magic users who want their own tame Pythia. And if it takes killing off the current Pythia? Well, they’re cool with that.

The Black Circle are dark magic users with no scruples about how they obtain what they desire.

The Cover and Title

The cover is another street scene in Las Vegas with Cassie in a black halter top that bares her back and showcases the ward. She’s in tight pants this time and the Strip is lit up in front of Cassie.

I suspect the title is another metaphor as throughout the story, Cassie does Embrace the Night.…especially that last scene!