This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on October 20, 2020
Were you as curious as I was about Dory’s ‘twin’ hidden inside her? Well, we finally get the answers and it is a rush. Oh, and things get a lotta crazy, chaos happens in earth and faerie, and in the end the reveals were high impact. I need, need, need the next installment pronto.
Queen’s Gambit is the fifth of the Dory Basarab series and the fifteenth book in the Cassie Palmer world. Early on, the two series might have been able to be read quite separately, but lately, the series are two sides of the same coin so much be read as one. Queen’s Gambit came right off the events of Shatter the Earth. So, if you haven’t started at all, you’re in a good place to read both series as one and get the best out of them.
Queen’s Gambit opens with Dory and Louis-Cesare on a smoozing diplomatic job for the Consul in Egypt meeting with the Egyptian Consul. Dory is anathema to the vamps and could care less, but then the party is unexpectedly crashed hard making bodies fly and suddenly Louis-Cesare is off chasing a gang of the party-crashers who turn out to be fey. Dory can’t let him go without back up and chases after him with her second Ray Lu on a magic carpet ride through Cairo. Then the unthinkable happens and Dory loses Dorina into a vortex along with Ray.
Wanting to go find her internal twin and feeling lost and off-kelter, Dory is stymied by Louis-Cesare getting over protective and an Egyptian Consul who has a huge problem that becomes hers. She must find her twin and stop the fey who sacrifice anything to get her.
Meanwhile, Dorina and Ray can’t catch a break with a multitude of fey after them who want Dorina for some nefarious purpose. For the first time ever, she is on her own in her own body. She recalls the past and how things came about for Ray and then learns stunning secrets about herself- secrets that shake both earth and faerie.
Queen’s Gambit has both the feeling of a typical, exciting Dory book, but also something more. It’s two stories in one with Dory narrating earth-side while Dorina catches up on her past and narrates while in faerie. It was brilliantly done because the two have two distinct voices, actions, and mannerisms. So much about the two halves of Dory/Dorina are explained through the past and finally getting mysterious explanations from others. I felt this was necessary because of the way the author took the current plot.
I loved that Dory visited Egypt and the author incorporated ancient Egyptian myth and history into the story along with eastern vampire characters. It was a delight to have so much Dory and Louis-Cesare time. They were sizzling, but some long overdue communication happened between death-defying action scenes. But, I also thought the building of friendship between Dorina and Ray was magical, too. They are misfits who find a connection in shared danger and understanding. It was non-romantic, but still special.
There is a whole segment of excitement and reveals in the last quarter that I won’t even touch on to prevent spoilers, but it does end on a surprising cliffhanger for the first time in the Dory series. It wasn’t a huge one because things are in a good place to stop, but yes, there is a feeling that I need the next segment pronto.
Joyce Bean continues to narrate the series. She had a varied cast to voice from two separate Dorys to Louis-Cesare to an international cast. She keeps all the dazzle of the magical world, the intense action, and the emotions in balance so that the story feels tighter and not confusing.
All in all, this was layered with good emotion, character development, series development, and action. So good. And, there are always the most imaginative worldbuilding going on. Those who enjoy action-driven urban fantasy should definitely reach for the Cassie Palmer world.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Mt. TBR #2
Romance BINGO #2 non US/UK setting
About the Book
Dorina Basarab is a dhampir – the feared and hated cross between a vampire and a human – or so she has always believed. She spent most of her life on the fringes of her two worlds, yearning to belong to one or the other, but despised and distrusted by both. Recently, a war in the supernatural community allowed her to get a foothold into her vampire father’s world, one of danger, intrigue, glitz, and glamour, where she found not only a home, but a lover, too. For the first time in centuries, life seemed to be going her way. But now, an incident with a dangerous magical device has left her two natures separated into duplicate bodies, both fighting to survive while they search for the truth about their past and the key to their future.
Contains mature themes.
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