Both A Family Affair and it’s sequel short story, Shadowland are free on Karen Chances website – and before I catch up with Cassie Palmer and the going-ons in Las Vegas, I thought these would remind me of the world!
Both these stories are told from John Pritkins point of view. John was always one of the most intriguing characters in the series – a mage bodyguard to Cassie Palmer as the Pythia, the top clairvoyant in the world and part incubus, he has cast a long shadow over the series and it is good to see how much he has come to care for Cassie. In fact the torch he holds for Cassie is very sweet and gives some nice colour to the usually glowering figure.
In A Family Affair, John’s father promises to stop trying to kill Cassie if John will recapture an escaped demoness from hell...unfortunately his father may take advantage of John’s absence to get rid of Cassie in the meantime. This was a nice exploration of the demon realms and some of John’s past. However, the character that stands out the most is Cassanova – the combination of a vampire possessed by an succubus spirit is interesting but it’s Cassanova’s complete disregard for anyone by himself and his willing to say anything is great fun – think Cordelia from Buffy! Overall, this is a nice gift from Karen exploring part of ‘normal’ life for Cassie and John now.
Recommended for fans of Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews. 7 out of 10
Shadowland (Cassie Palmer #4.2)
This is pretty much a direct sequel to A Family Affair. When one of the Pythia’s presents turns out to be a bomb, John Pritkins jumps into one of the demonlands in order for revenge. However, all is not what it seems back at Cassanova’s hotel in Vegas...
This is a much simpler story and as such is much more fun. The split again between action in Dante’s Hell on the strip and the actual Shadowlands is a nice contrast – and there is less difference between them than you would expect! John’s reaction to the bomb is so heart-felt and moving. Cassanova is as fun as before – definitely one of my favourite characters. However, my favourite part of the story is the ending – which manages to surprise John and leave a smile on your face!
Overall, these have both been good reminders of Cassie’s world and Karen Chance’s writing. It’s made me really excited to pick up Hunt the Moon, Cassie’s fifth book!
Recommended for fans of Ann Aguirre and Jacqueline Carey. 8 out of 10.