Author: Karen Chance
Released: December 1st 2015
Zombie’s Bite is the first novella in a series by Karen Chance. It fits into the same world as Cassandra Palmer (and in fact can be considered #0.9 in that world), but it follows a completely different character. This novella is the first in which Dorina Basarab makes an appearance. Chronologically speaking, at least.
Dory is a dhampir. As in, half vampire, half human. And it isn’t as much fun as Blade makes it sound like (which is saying something, if you ask me). She’s a tough and witty character, and I mean that pretty literally. She’s good at getting herself into fights, and even better at surviving them. What she truly excels in however, is mouthing off. That might be the reason I love her character so much.
Side note before we begin: I’ve actually read this whole series multiple times (it’s one of my favorites), but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve never reviewed the older books in the series. So here I am, reading them all again, and loving every minute of it.
Because I’m doing a reread with a group of people (the Karen Chance Street Team – message me if you want to know more about it) I’m also going to include the discussions prompts we’ve been using. That will be at the end of the review, so if you’re curious, check it out.
I had honestly forgotten how much Zombie’s Bite made me laugh. It’s a hilarious introduction to Dory’s character, while also going a long way in showing us how tough she is, and how she fits into the larger world.
Dory is by far the quirkiest character I actively read about. And I don’t just mean what she is. She’s stubborn, mouthy, and sassy. And she’s fully capable of giving just as good as taking, when it comes to fights. And of course, she’s really quite talented at getting herself into the weirdest of situations.
This novella did a great job of highlighting all of that. From the absurd start of the plot, to her unexpected sidekick, and then back around to her surprise antagonist for the novella.
The fight scenes in this novella were fast paced and really well done. They had the classic Karen Chance chaos thrown into them as well, where there are about a dozen different things happening at once. It’s a lot to keep up with, but totally worth it in the long run.
Kit Marlowe is one of those characters that doesn’t usually get a chance to shine, but I feel like he sort of got his chance here. He had emotional reasons for all of his actions – something we don’t normally get to see for him, as well as a chance to be the main perspective for once. It was refreshing.
The best part of course is where her plot gets fully tied into the main series – the Cassandra Palmer world. That’s where things start to get really interesting, if you ask me. The big reveal at the end of course was quite dramatic, though it was tempered by Kit’s reaction (which was priceless).
I can’t believe how long I went without rereading this one. It has some of my favorite Dory quotes in it, how could I ever have forgotten them or their origin??? I’m glad I had a reason to kick my butt into coming back to the earlier parts of this series.
Reread Commentary: (again, spoiler warning)
It was so much fun coming back to this world and seeing Dory’s introduction all over again. I also forgot how much I liked Kit in this novella. It’s so easy to think of him as little more than spymaster or security chief, when there’s actually a lot going on inside his head. This novella did a great job of showing us how much he’s capable of caring. I needed that reminder.
I had honestly forgotten how many quotable moments were in this novella. It’s so easy to forget that a novella can hold quite a lot in it, isn’t it? Though admittedly Dory is one of those characters that just produces insane and hilarious quotes, so it’s not like her series is short on them.
Toy/Weapon: There are a lot of cool weapons/toys mentioned here. I’m tempted to go with the cloaking device she used, but I think I’m going to have to go with the one that duplicated her. I know that one cost a small fortune, but as shown in the book, it can be incredibly useful when stuck in a corner.
Favorite chapter/scene/plot point: I know a few people mentioned it already, but I adore the scene where we’re seeing Dory beat up Marlowe from his perspective. You know the one where he’s cheering her on? It was such a hilarious flip, not only on expectations, but on how he had been feeling about her up until that point.
Favorite quote: I have a few favorite quotes from this one, but for different reasons.
“He couldn’t lose her. He owed a debt to one whose forgiveness he could never ask, because he hadn’t been fast enough.” – I love this one because it’s one of those rare moments where we’re reminded of just how much Marlowe cares, despite his appearances.
“Twenty feet of muscle. Twenty feet of terror. Twenty feet of prehistoric hate with a maw of what-the-fuck and claws they didn’t make anymore because even nature had looked at those things and thought, you know what? That was a bad idea.” – Loved this one for a couple of different reasons. One, it’s an accurate description. Two, it’s so incredibly well written. It’s witty, explains the danger of the situation, and while detailed it doesn’t detract from the pacing of the story. Plus it’s a bit funny.
““Son of a bitch!” he said, and wasn’t sure if it was him or his nemesis. “No, just a bitch,” the girl growled, and threw him through a doorway.” – Pure Dory perfection. Need I say more?
MVP (not including Dory):Gonna have to go with Marlowe. He’s full of anger and emotion here, but he still managed to track down a potentially dangerous character and put up a serious fight. He didn’t understand what was going on, of course, so I give him bonus points for doing what he thought was right.
Interesting bits I noticed this time ‘round: Dreads amused me even more this time around, but I’m not sure if that really counts as an observation. I did enjoy trying to suss out more of the political situation, considering what we know now.
What further research did this book inspire (historical, mythological, etc): None this time around, but that’s okay. I completely enjoyed this reread for what it was. Though I think my first time reading it I looked up a few photos for reference on scale for the ‘twenty feet of terror.’
Unanswered questions: I want to know more about the vampire behind the whole ploy. Seems minor, I know. But I’d like to know how they came up with this convoluted (yet interesting) plan.