Ever since getting appointed the chief seer of the supernatural world, Cassie Palmer has been playing catch up. Catch up on the training she missed being raised by a psychotic vampire instead of at the pythian court. Catch up on the dangerous world of supernatural politics. Catch up on the powerful, and sometimes seductive, forces trying to mold her to their will. It’s been a trial by fire that has left her burned.
But now she realizes all that was just the warm up.
Ancient forces that once terrorized the world want to return, and Cassie is the only one who can stop them.
Sooo, the last few books have been action-packed and colorful, but they have not moved the plot forward as much as I would like. And yet, I have remained committed and need to know the answers to a few things. I was figuratively gnawing my nails over the release of Ride the Storm for whether I would get those answers. The agony of anticipation… did I get rewarded in this book? Read on!
Ride the Storm is book eight in the Cassandra Palmer series and it must be read in series order. I’m also going to say that I found, several times, that it referenced events and people that are more detailed out in the parallel Dory Basarab series. So being up to date on both series before reading this would make it a better reading experience.
Now, this book turned out to be a conflicted reading experience for me. I loved and adored books one through five and then was gravely disappointed by the grinding forward plot action for the next two books. I privately told myself that this would probably be it for me if nothing discernibly happened.
Well, the good news is that yay, the log jam was broken through and there was forward plot action once again even some big plots getting a resolution. But…
Yeah, it took nearly half of a 612 page book before things started moving. That first half? Cass and Rossier and the gang at Dante’s in Vegas were dumped into one lethal action sequence after another- still battling the Black Circle mages, still trying to keep one step ahead of the former Pythias when Cassie is illegally traveling to their time periods, and still trying to free Pritkin of the Demon Council’s curse while anticipating a war with gods from another dimension and the fey.
And all the while, I grew more and more irritated with Cassie and the way she was written.
There comes a point where even in an action-packed Urban Fantasy that my credulity is stretched too far. Cassie was put through too much for her to have survived and kept jumping up and going again. One could literally, open the book at a random page and Cassie would be engaged in a deadly battle that knocked her out or running for her life through one death-defying experience after another.
As to her character, her whining like the Little Red Hen that she’s doing it all herself and the ungrateful wretches around her are all using her got old and was not entirely true. Yes, they all have their own agendas, but so does Cassie. She can’t see that the vampires are up to their necks in a war with the fey and the Silver Circle mages are duking it out with the Black Circle mages. Or that her need to get Pritkin back is a necessity, but also very much personal.
Speaking of her personal issues, the way the situation between her and Mircea and Pritkin is handled was a huge disappointment for me. I hated the love triangle all along and I had my suspicions about who should and would get together, but I felt this plot choice in how to resolve it was a cop out, especially after all this time.
I said earlier that it took half the book for things to really get rolling. Well, the second half was the shining part of this book. I felt like it was back to the wonder and excitement that kept me riveted through the first five books. Cassie is back to relying on what got her there- her ghost gifts. Loved getting all that background on several characters-particularly Rossier and Pritkin. The new setting for much of the story in 6th century Wales was a nice touch. But it was seeing the resolution to a few of the major plots that hit pay dirt with me.
The author is clever in how she writes those tight-spot situations and gets her characters in a corner with me flying through the pages to find out how it will work out.
I enjoy that her heroines are strong and capable though they have enough vulnerability and flaws to have depth.
The overall unique world, humor, and characters are probably my favorite part. By now in the series, several minor character backstories have been filled in and many are favorites.
And so, I got what I needed from this book, and am re-enthused to see what comes next after the way things ended in Ride the Storm. It felt like it was coming to a conclusion, but also not quite there yet. It also felt like it was setting things up for the next Dory Basarab to be a real page-turner. I will definitely be snatching that up and the next Cassie Palmer.
I know it seemed like this was a book that I would not be recommending, but I actually do when all is said and done. I think Urban Fantasy lovers should give this series a try particularly since starting now means you missed the long wait for this one. Haha!
My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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