Claimed By Shadow Mass Market Paperback – Apr 3 2007
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"A fair maiden tough enough to kick [vampire] butts."-Rebecca York, USA Today bestselling author Shadow of the Moon
"An engaging heroine."-Kelley Armstrong, USA Today bestselling author of Broken
About the Author
Karen Chance has lived in France, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, but always comes back to America. She currently lives in Central Florida, the home of make-believe, which may explain a lot.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After finishing Claimed by Shadow, I was a little annoyed to find that I was pretty much in the same fix. Cassie has a new and unwanted power, the sexy love interest is still off limits, she's still running from things that go bump in the night. It may be too soon to judge, and I will read the next book in the series, but I'm sensing a pattern here.
Claimed by Shadow does introduce more fascinating aspects of the world she has created, but her new powers are still unexplained, and likely to remain so for some time. Whipping through history is interesting, but can she do anything else with the title of Pythia? Charging into situations she doesn't understand, with "allies" that have shown themselves to be less than trustworthy in the first book is also interesting, but seriously makes me question her basic common sense. Worse, I no longer know who the good guys and the bad guys are. Except for Tony, everyone seems to have reversed roles. As for the Geis... big sigh, annoying and becoming redundant quickly.
Either I'm losing it (always a very strong possibility), or the author is losing me, I'm not sure which. I'll hang in there for another installment, but if this doesn't start going somewhere soon, I might just as well get on my treadmill for entertainment rather than brave the elements.
Success is hard to follow. The singer Joni Mitchell once said, "No one ever told Van Gogh to paint Starry Night again," but that's not necessarily true. When an audience comes to expect a certain style from an artist, they're disappointed when the creator doesn't deliver.
In that vein of thought, a second novel should be very much like the first. Wooddavis' review stating that the novels are running in place is spot on thematically. Both novels have the same plotline with some variation.
The problem is, in my opinion, the second novel was not quite up to the standard of the first. Most writing instructors and editors will advise newbie writers not to use flash-forwards and flash-backs at the beginnings of their careers. While these devices are very useful and evocative, they can often lose the reader. While Cassie's time-shift capability was an interesting new development, Chance did not handle these episodes with the same finesse that author C. E. Murphy uses in her Walker Papers series when Joanne goes vision-questing.
The time-shifting skill is definitely an interesting talent in conjunction with clairovoyance. Aside from the paradoxes Cassie can create, she can also effect her own predictions--nulling and creating new ones as need arises. I'm not sure Chance has sufficiently prepared her girl with the strength and decisiveness to be that dangerous an opponent.
Cassie also seems more indecisive in this story. She's definitely entitled to these emotions, but that indecisiveness doesn't make her as likable as the stronger butt kicking heroines we're used to in fantasy. Also, the episodes of 'what do I do' tend to derail the forward motion of the plot and stall the reader out. These are spots where I as a reader get frustrated and tend to want to just skip. While I read the entirely of "Chained" I'm pretty certain I will skip the third book.
The story picks up almost immediately after the end of book 1. Cassie is on a mission to locate the whereabouts of her ex-master - the vampire Tony - as well as her rival to the title of Pythia - Myra - who continues to possess the power to time travel and could prevent Cassie from ever being born.
Along the way, we are introduced to several new characters - among which include several incubus, 3 little old ladies who are more than what they appear to be, several species of the fae and even a zombie or two!
Cassie is still stubbornly refusing to complete the ritual that will grant her the title of Pythia, and the Powers That Be are NOT HAPPY at this situation. Towards the end of the book, the question of whether or not Cassie becomes Pythia is answered, and new alliances are formed that will be as surprising as it is unexpected.
Perhaps I had set my expectations way too high (what can I say, the first book - Touch the Dark - was just THAT GOOD), but the sequel didn't capture me the way I was expecting. Don't get me wrong. The writing is still fabulous, and the pace is still fast, exciting and action-packed. MOST of the returning characters, and some of the new ones, are as fascinating as ever. So what happened?
Basically, my gripe is with the main character - Cassie. In book one, we have this excellent female lead who experiences great character development as the story unravels. As she learns about her growing powers, it is like watching a caterpillar slowly emerge into a beautiful butterfly. The book ends with her becoming this empowered individual who wouldn't take crap from anyone, no matter how powerful or seductive they were.
But in book 2, it seemed to me like the butterfly was morphing back into a caterpillar. I started feeling somewhat annoyed at how indecisive the heroine had become. She questioned every little thing, and put off making any major decisions until she had no other choice. Every decision she DID end up making seemed to place her group in greater peril.
And some of her actions did not make sense at all. One case in point - who in the world would leave powerful, known to be magical items in the hands of an unknown servant who ultimately works for her most hated vampire enemy? I can cite several other such examples, but I would be giving too much of the story away. And when all her decisions end up proving somewhat disastrous, what does our stalwart heroine do? Shrug her shoulders and push the problem to the back of her mind (until it inevitably comes back to bite her in the butt).
However, the development of other characters do make up for the disappointment caused by Cassie. We get to understand more of the motivations behind Pritkin the fanatical war mage and he fleshed out into a well developed character who straddles the thin line between friend and foe. One new character - Mac - does not get much screen time, but whatever he does get manages to intrigue and engage the reader. And of course, the actions of the rascally ghost Billy and Pritkin's golem provide several of the comical moments in the book.
If not for the seeming regression of the main lead (which to me counts as a major crime and thus warrants deducting 1 star), this book would otherwise rate as a 5.
In Claimed by Shadow, we pick up shortly after the events of the previous novel with Cassie on the run from the Vampire Counsel and stoically avoiding taking on the duties of the Pythia (she just wants a normal life after all). In the first book Cassie has spunk...she was a butt-kicking heroine who gave as good as she got...in Claimed by Shadow...not so much. Cassie has devolved to a whiny, confused girl who can't figure out her powers. In the previous book I enjoyed watching her growing skill with prophecy...this time out it seemed like there really wasn't any skill, she spent all her time screaming at various characters about how she didn't know how to use the powers and more importantly that she didn't want them at all. In the end, she who puts up a lot of struggle and energy into NOT becoming the Pythia comes to a lame conclusion...this entire section of the storyline ends poorly (very anti-climatic).
As with the previous book there was an assortment of vampires, mages, witches, fey, shrunken heads, satyrs, ghosts...and what should have been the lovely addition of Dark Fey (this could have been a very interesting addition to this growing world, but in the end...not so much). We were also introduced to incubi (very charming, if a bit over played), gargoyles (I would have liked to see more of them), the Graeae pulling a special guest appearance (very amusing and appreciated), and with Elvis and Hendrix in interesting cameo rolls (I won't spoil it for you...but it was funny)! Even with all of this, this world manages to fall flat in the sequel...it doesn't have that gritty dark urban fantasy feel...it's muddled and confusing and the many plot lines were hard to sort out in the end and I had trouble liking Cassie as the book progressed.
This is billed mainly as a "paranormal romance," and as I said when I started out here, I can take them or leave them and I prefer the paranormal to the romance...for me to really enjoy a book of this type, it needs to be weighted toward the paranormal, which this mostly was. The twist and play up of the sexual tension through the use of a Geis was potentially interesting, but I found that halfway though the book I really wanted to slap Cassie (and/or the author) around because in the end what could have been a nicely played sexual tension with a side of bittersweet lust became one of the most annoying plot devices I think I have had to keep reading about.
Overall...I have to agree with other reviewers, the first book was far superior and the sequel is almost (but not quite) a tired "rehash" of the original. In my opinion this is not a true continuation of the story line, the author spends 374 pages treading over the same territory again and again....I'll certainly try the third in the series when it comes out in 2008 (every series has a book or two that aren't on par with the others), but if there isn't significant improvement that'll be the end of this series for me. I rate it at 3 stars (and feel that is generous), if you like paranormal romance, you'll likely find this amusing and fun...if your like me and prefer the paranormal to the romance...this is likely to fall short of the mark for you. This is definitely one to check out of the library.
The Senate is also chasing after Cassie and she finds herself teamed up with the war mage, Pritkin. Meanwhile, Cassie's wards are failing and she has a geis on her that is making her separation from the vampire Mircea more difficult by the moment. Who can Cassie trust when it seems there is danger lurking in every direction she turns?
CLAIMED BY SHADOW is one high speed thrill ride! I couldn't stop turning the pages as the story sped along, chock full of exhilirating action coupled with superb characters. Karen Chance takes the series to new heights with her sophomore effort as CLAIMED BY SHADOW keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The various twists and turns of the plotline are fiendishly clever!
Karen Chance has produced some extraordinarily memorable characters. Who can't help but love Mac? The unusual aspects of both his store location and his numerous tattoos make him stand out but it is his steadfastness and heart of gold that make him so beloved. Billy, the ghost, of course returns and Ms. Chance has quite the surprise in store for him.
Karen Chance proves that she is a force to be reckoned with in CLAIMED BY SHADOW. Just one note of caution: this series should most definitely be read in order as the underlying plots continue throughout both books and there are threads still left to be finished even upon the conclusion of CLAIMED BY SHADOW. Don't miss out, however, as CLAIMED BY SHADOW is one book you won't be able to put down!
COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
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