“We got unfinished business,” he reminded me.
“My name’s not Bill.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, I loved that movie. Shoulda brought a katana, but it seemed like an unfair advantage.”
– I love that movie too!
“I wasn’t the kind of gal who wore designer and knew what all the forks were for. I was the kind of gal who thought the nightgown drawer was where old T-shirts went to die and who had only started using forks in the last century. And who frankly still thought them kind of a waste when there were perfectly good knives handy.”
Dorina is awesome. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s not news, but we could SO be besties if it weren’t for her little quirk of blacking out into nasty dhampir rages that can level a whole village (think Saya from Blood+).
Though Dorina’s dhampir heritage has made her the pariah and enigma of the paranormal community, her skills are still quite useful to the Vampire Senate. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. While working with them to smuggle magical items and weapons out of Faerie, the operation hits a snag that leads to Dorina’s capture. Though eventually saved by master vampire Louis-Cesare, she has no memory of what happened, but she has to find out fast or else the vampire community and herself will be dangerously vulnerable. This leads to new enemies, new revelations about her past, and ultimately a war residing completely within…herself.
She did make readers wait two years for it, but this is definitely the longest Dorina book to date! Karen Chance doesn’t let up when it comes to the twists, turns, and action sequences that you wouldn’t believe. Chance proves herself to be a master story teller with the continuous world building, complex plot, and super fast pace; it makes me wonder how she keeps up with it all. There HAS to be a secret.
For the most part I was really with it, but I did have a couple of annoyances. I sometimes felt like I was reading about a character with ADHD because there are a number of times when she doesn’t complete a thought before something else happens. That felt a bit unnecessary because the books are fast paced enough. By the 80% mark it sort of hit a wall, though it didn’t last for very long because the end was beyond stellar.
As much as I love her Louis-Cesare (they are probably in my top 3 ships now), the developments with Mircea were probably my favorite parts of this book. Chance’s love of time travel is as present as ever. She skirts the time travel idea often used in her Cassie Palmer books by pretty much turning Dorina’s mind into a time machine. Being 500 years old, she has a lot of memories she can recall.
We see romance all of the time in this genre books, but so rarely do we see such a the delicate father-daughter relationship like theirs develop and evolve over the course of a series. Absolutely it is unconventional, but at the root of it, we are seeing a bond that is unbreakable, as it should be. They are both hundreds of years old, so it’s hard to navigate their relationship in a convincing way, but Chance does it and it works so well. I got some serious warm fuzzies and my only complaint is that I wish we got a little more. Though I would have liked more, what I want to see is probably more suited for the last book…woohoo for 4 more years! That’s assuming she ends this series at 5 books.
I would say that slightly less action, more Mircea, more Louis-Cesare, or just less pages would have put this book on the path to perfection. These little things took it from perfection to NEAR perfection. It was definitely one of my most satisfying reads of the year!
“Louis-Cesare. It’s good to finally have you in hand.”
Indeed it is!!!
This time around our favorite ass-kicking dhampir Dorina Basarab now finds herself involved in a murder mystery “whodunit” style. Someone has started murdering vampire Senate members and that may be too close to home. To make matter worse, her best friend Claire also needs Dorina’s help to locate a fae relic that could be used to harm her infant son, the successor to the fae throne. With those she holds most near and dear in harm’s way, who can Dorina trust?
In usual Karen Chance style, Death’s Mistress is jam packed with story and there are even a quite few laughs. I feel like her imagination knows no bounds and that has to account for the super fast pace of her books, though Dorina’s pace doesn’t feel as hectic as Cassie’s. It feels just right.There is so much going on that I can’t even put it in one synopsis.
There is moving and shaking among all of the supernaturals: the mages, the vampires, the dark and light fae, you name it. About the only species with nothing going on is the dhampire community, and that could be because there are only a handful of them to begin with. I would like to see Chance introduce us to the few that exist. Why not? We’re seeing everybody else!
Louis-Cesare tension is back and better than ever. Their interactions, while extremely amusing and pretty freakin’ hott, are ultimately dangerous. Louis-Cesare’s affections are as transparent as it gets and that may be a problem since dhampir/vampire relationships are about as taboo as it gets. So a star-crossed appeal has become a component of their relationship.
The secondary character really shine here. I was entertained to no end by Raymond, a vampire she beheads early as leverage, as well as her uncle Radu. He is delightfully flamboyant, dramatic., and surprisingly relatable. Papa Mircea was fabulous here as well with additional back story involving his past with her mother. Then there’s her unconventional pet Stinky, a chimera, who sticks to her like glue every since she saved him in book 1.
All of these elements really give the series a life of its own outside of the Cassie Palmer series, and I think it’s for the better. I can effectively say that I prefer the Dorina novels to the Cassie novels. I can’t wait two WEEKS for the next installment let along two years like the poor souls that read these books in real time. It’s definitely one of my favorite series and I highly recommend this read. It has everything I’m looking for in a great Urban Fantasy series.
“”I ran out of stock around midnight and dropped by a place, got some Chinese.” I hoped he meant takeout….”Mu-shu pork” he told me indignantly.”
I held off from immediately jumping into the Dorina Basarb series, a spin-off of the Cassie Palmer novels by Karen Chance, for a couple of reasons:
1)I have some quirks with the Cassie Palmer books that I feared could spill over into this series
2)I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest in a series with such a long wait between novels. In my perfect world, I’d get two books per year when it comes to my fave series, not one every TWO years.
So it took quite a while to get around to this, but I am so glad I finally did.
This spin-off series centers around Dorina Basarab, a dhampir (vampire/human hybrid) assassin. Not quite enough of either species, Dorina’s kind is rare and doesn’t fit anywhere in either society. It doesn’t help that she is subject to rages that cause her to black out and endanger not only those around her, but herself as well.
It turns out she is the daughter of the great and powerful Mircea Basarab, and he needs her skills to help capture her uncle and his brother, Dracula, who has escaped from prison. Crazy and dangerous, this is a tall order, so Mircea also adds another master vampire to the mix, Louis-Cesare. The goal is for Dorina and Louis-Cesare to work together, but we all know the results when you try to mix oil and vinegar.
This book was a lot of fun. This series has beaten the odds and has become an instant favorite, regardless of the lag time. It’s missing my biggest annoyances with the Cassie books: an irritating love triangle and Cassie herself (I’m not just a fan, sorry). Dorina is much more likeable heroine for me. I laughed, I cried (okay, not really), I QUOTED!!
Chance really knows how to write compelling and downright delicious male characters. Louis-Cesare has shot up on my list of book crushes. He’s an amazing fighter, and the chemistry with Dorina is crazy good! It doesn’t feel like your run of the mill relationship like with so many other novels. It’s dynamic, it’s got room to evolve, he isn’t invisible, and Dorina actually can take care of herself quite well. It feels really natural, or about as natural as you can expect for supernaturals.
Another pleasant surprise was Mircea. After reading the Cassie books we’re only used to Mircea the lover and powerful Senate member. In these books we get to see Mircea the father. While we see the Senate member too, I really appreciate this perspective of him because it adds more depth to the character for me. I like him more and more because we see more of his vulnerability here as opposed to the Cassie books. When it comes to Dorina, you can tell that he doesn’t have all of the answers, even when he tries to save face . It’s a subtle chink in his armor and I love it!
This is about as great of a start as one could hope for. I finished this book and couldn’t wait to dive in to the next one! I think it’s needless to say that I highly recommend this one.