Review: Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

Reviewed by Jen

I have long been a fan of the Cassie Palmer series, but reading this latest installment left me feeling exhausted. Usually when I describe a book as “action-packed,” I mean it in a good way. Here, not so much. There are some good things going on: plot advancement, relationship developments, answers to long-held questions. But they’re buried beneath a avalanche of non-stop action. There is no room for the story to breathe.

The book picks up right on the heels of where the last one left off. Cassie has been trying to rescue Pritkin for the past three years (or is it longer?) though in book time, it’s only been days or weeks. This storyline has dragged on for so long. I’ve stuck with it, because I love Pritkin and Karen Chance has been giving us little Cassie-Pritkin bread-crumbs for so long, I’ve been holding out for the payoff. The problem is, the longer she’s teased me with it, the less I care about the other stuff.

Cassie starts almost right back where she was when the last book started. She’s in her own time and she needs Rosier and a power boost to get her back to the time of Camelot and save Pritkin. Like before, the senate is wringing its collective hands like a cartoon villain, planning and plotting for its own end. Mircea is mysterious and largely absent. And Cassie has to fight battles beyond her means almost entirely alone and winning by the skin of her teeth. Then she jumps around in time, getting attacked constantly either by other Pythia, fae, Gods, ghosts, and other assorted enemies. The fighting is constant. Everything is exploding. She keeps getting beat down, physically and meta-physically.

And all I want is the damn Pritkin payoff. But it just drags on and on. No… the book doesn’t drag, it races like a bullet train… but most of the time it’s a train to nowhere. You could skip more than half of what’s on page and not miss the story advancement. Frankly, I tried to keep up, but I got lost so often, I ended up skimming. It was too much to keep up with, not just in the non-stop action, but with all the factions working against the heroine.

Then it happens. Well, two things happen. We learn the truth about what Mircea has always wanted from Cassie. And we finally see Pritkin’s soul catch up with his body. Both of these developments and the results that ensue were huge. My eyes greedily swept the page, wanting more of THIS. These nuggets were the reason I slogged through thousands of words about stuff getting in Cassie’s way. They were the things I needed from this book and they reminded me why I cared in the first place. Yet, they were so buried beneath all the other stuff, it was a travesty.

I understand that you can’t give readers everything at once, but this whole book took place over the course of a day or two. I felt like I lived every minute of Cassie’s life on the page, short of her stopping to go the bathroom. The only rest she got was when she was unconscious.

I don’t care about the fighting. I care about the characters. I need more of them. More feelings. More places for the story to breathe.

As much as I loved certain things here (and I really did) the book as a whole wasn’t a win for me. And it could’ve been.

I’ll probably read the next book to see where the few character-driven parts go from here, but there was a time I would finish one of these books and been desperate for the next one. That hasn’t happened for a while and it didn’t happen here.

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Ride the Storm
by Karen Chance
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Signet

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