Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Death's Mistress by Karen Chance

Hi everyone :) How are you doing? I hope you've been enjoying the reviews. As you can see, I'm steadily catching up on my back-log of reviews. There are some books released in 2012 that I've read and really wanted to review and it'd be a shame if I didn't. So I'll continue on that track. In the meantime, my reading is finally picking up a bit!! Yay! Seriously, January has been so pathetic reading-wise. Sigh. I could say that I was away the first two weeks, but even then... Anyway, eventually, I'll be mixing up the reviews - books read in 2013 and 2012; hopefully, it'll work out since I just thought of it LOL.

Now, I gotta run to curling. That's been eating my reading time as well, but next week, there's a special activity at the club, so I hope that means I'll have more time to read and blog :) I'll try to write a post about curling soon though, I think I'm due :)


Death's Mistress by Karen Chance
published by New American Library (Signet)
Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.

Back home in Brooklyn after the demise of her insane uncle Dracula, Dory’s hoping her life is about to calm down. But then she gets some visitors. A friend wants Dory’s help in finding a magical Fey relic, and the gorgeous vampire, Louis-Cesare, is desperate to find his former mistress Christine.

Dory and Louis-Cesare quickly discover that the same master vampire Christine is bound to is also rumored to be in possession of the relic. But when the master vampire turns up dead, they realize that there’s more at stake than a missing mistress. Someone is killing vampire Senate members, and if Dory and Louis-Cesare can’t stop the murderer, they may be next…
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Dorina Basarab, Book #2

The Story: At the end of Death's Mistress, Dorina received a written request from her father Mircea to work for the Senate. As a result, for over a month, she's been freelancing on the smuggling task force which mostly consists of bringing Mircea the head - dead or alive - of the vampires he asks for. This suits Dorina's abilities and it pays well, so it's a win-win situation so far for her. That is until she's asked to bring in Raymond, a fifth-level master, alive. It turns out that Raymond was in charge of setting up an auction for a magical Fey relic which protects whoever wears it from death... and let just say that with the war, political instability and the challenges for a North America Senate seat going, the relic has become the hottest item in town! Not to mention that the relic was stolen from the Fey and they want it back to protect the new heir! And so Dory is tasked by her best friend - the new Fey princess - to retrieve it. It would have been easy too if it hadn't been stolen a second time from Ray's auction and if she didn't have to work against Louis-Cesare, her latest colleague and potential lover, who needs the relic to rescue his former mistress Christine...

My Opinion: As you know, I was looking for something to read back in October and decided to give this series a chance because I've read a lot of good about Ms Chance's writing. So I started with Midnight's Daughter and while the storyline didn't blow me away - it actually confused me a lot at times ^_^; - I enjoyed it enough to pick up the next installment, Death's Mistress... and I'm so glad I did because I ended up loving Death's Mistress!!

There were a lot of elements that worked for me in Death's Mistress but what stood out the most was the humor :) There were just so many LOL moments because of the characters or certain situations they found themselves in that I probably grinned throughout the book. Oh and the combination of Dory and Ray, just priceless LOL. It also made me overlook some of the flaws that Death's Mistress had, but more on that later. Aside from the humor, I have to say that I enjoyed the characters a lot and the way they interacted with each other. If I had to be objective, I'd say Dory is not very different from all the UF heroines out there. After all, she's smart, kick-ass, mentally strong and has some unique abilities... but there's just something about her that works. Perhaps it's the fact that she's very straightforward and simple. Dory is smart, but if she doesn't get something, she'll ask you - probably with a punch - for an answer instead of spending too much time figuring it all out :) And I guess that straightforwardness is part of her charm. Where the depth in character appears is not so much in her personality, but instead in her dynamics with the other characters. She's herself, but it seems each person in her entourage brings out a different part of her personality. For example, with Radu she is more relaxed, casual; with Louis-Cesare, it's Dory the woman; with Marlowe, she's very rebellious, trying to antagonize him; and with Mircea, it's a more confused, insecure Dory. It's really an interesting way to discover Dory and I like it :)

Speaking of interactions, I'm really enjoyed Dory's relationship with Mircea and I think this is a big part of the series. They are father and daughter, but there is so much misunderstandings between them. However, I'm really liking how their relationship is developing. As much as Dory doubts it, it's evident that Mircea cares about her and loves her - not because she's an asset, but because she is his blood and flesh. And no matter what Dory says, she loves him and there is loyalty between them. In any case, I'm really looking forward to see where this is heading. I also can't help but wonder how Mircea is in the Cassie Palmer series and how it's been possible for him to keep these two women, who are so important for him, apart. Another relationship that's interesting is the one Dory shares with Louis-Cesare. This is the romance aspect of the book and I like that Ms Chance is taking her time, developing it. It's very light - in the sense that the amount in the story is limited - but it has great impact on the characters and the story. As for the story, I thought it was very interesting. I liked that there were some good twists, lots of action and how everything came together, how it all connected together. Suspense-wise, I think Ms Chance did a great job, especially with the ending. I loved what happened and wow about Anthony, it was just all exciting :)

Now, the not so great. I mentioned that I was confused at times in Midnight's Daughter and unfortunately, so was I in Death's Mistress. Sometimes, it was simply the action sequences that was hard to follow. Other times though, it was whole chunks of the story that seem to have no connection whatsoever with the storyline. For example, the part where Dory was going to the races. Big "huh" here. I understood that she needed to get to the race, but the whole meeting with those young adults didn't add anything to the storyline and it just seemed like it came out of nowhere. So those parts of the story were superfluous in my opinion, but worst, they disrupted the pacing of book... and that was unfortunate, because otherwise, Death's Mistress would have been the perfect UF book. There were also some parts of the story where I was really confused as to what was happening and I guess it's says a lot about Ms Chance's writing that I could overlook those part. Finally, I have to say that I'm not super fond of Dory's best friend, Claire. She was okay in the first book, but she's slowly getting on my nerve. Yes, she is a good friend to Dory, but the problem is she doesn't completely understand Dory and not making an effort to. It's as if what she says and thinks is it.

My Grade: B+. Death's Mistress is the kind of book that the more I re-read, the more I love and I don't think I'll ever get tired of it :)