Review: Midnight’s Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1) by Karen Chance

Midnight's Daughter

Author: Karen Chance
Released: August 26th, 2008
Received: Own
Rating: Kitty Rating

Midnight’s Daughter is the first novel in the Dorina Basarab series. The whole series fits into the Cassandra Chance world, so if you’re a fan of one, I strongly urge you to read the other. Both series bounce around each other in the timeline, so it’s really quite fun to read them all.

Dorina, better known as Dory (seriously, don’t call her Dorina), is a dhampir. As in, half-human and half-vampire. She’s tough, sassy, and really isn’t in the mood to put up with anyone’s messes.

I’ll confess that I don’t normally like it when series use dhampirs. But there are some notable exceptions. Dory and Blade being the most notable ones. Karen Chance did an excellent job portraying dhampirs. And better yet (in my mind), she gives them consequences. They aren’t just magical beings that have all the benefits of vampires, while none of their faults. It keeps them from feeling overpowered, in my opinion. And honestly it makes them more interesting as well.

I love Dory’s series, and not just because she provides a totally different perspective for what is happening in Cassie’s events. Dory comes with baggage, both the good and the bad. But it never slows her down, if anything it inspires her to fight even harder. Because of that, her plots tend to be full of sass, determination, and amazing fight scenes. Who could ask for more?

I’d suggest reading Cassie Palmer one through three before picking up this book. Actually, you should probably read everything in publishing order. As I said, the two series intertwine a lot. Some people actually consider them to really be of the same series. So timing matters. I’d also suggest reading the short story Buying Trouble before this. It isn’t required, but it’ll explain some of the secondary characters and what they’ve been doing (it is relevant, I promise).

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.

Spoiler Warning

Midnight’s Daughter is a really fun read, and for a lot of reasons. It’s emotional, chaotic, and full of sass and fights. This is Dory’s first debut, and man did she make an impression! Dory has a complicated past, and an even more complicated family. Midnight’s Daughter doesn’t waste any time throwing Dory (and thus, us) into the thick of things.

I love both the Cassie and Dory series, but for different reasons. In Dory’s case, I know I can always count on her to get into some sort of crazy (and highly entertaining) fight. And this novel really does set the standard when that is concerned.

The introduction to this novel, and thus the main plot itself, was really well done. In my opinion, this is one of my favorite intros, which I feel like is saying something. It was tense, fascinating, and gave me a great impression of Dory right off the bat.

I love how this plot ties together with so much of what else is happening in the world. There’s the war, of course. And there’s Claire’s plot as well (I mentioned above to be sure to read Buying Trouble, and this is the reason why). Sometimes the ties are so subtle that you really have to look for them, which I adore. Then there are all of the other moments from Cassie’s series. It’s so intricate and well done.

This might sound a bit strange, but I honestly think that the house in this novel may be one of my favorite characters of all time. Yep. That sounded exactly as strange as I thought it would. Having a house capable of interactions and decision making (at least by all appearances) is not only potentially useful (or annoying, depending on how you want to look at it…and what the house is doing), but rather humorous. It added some lighthearted moments before things started getting intense again, which I think was really needed.

I love how the two plots running through this series so far – the hunt for Dracula, and Dory’s quest to find Claire – end up becoming more related than expected. It also gave us more reasons to care about what was happening.

Karen Chance did a wonderful job of making the supernatural feel human in this novel. And by that I really mean that she made them run the gambit – from sympathetic to despicable. In particular there were two fae that I found myself especially fond of. One you can probably guess, if you know me (I’m a sucker for the little guys that need to be taken care of).

I’ll confess that if I hadn’t already been reading the Cassie Palmer series by this point, I might have overlooked Dory’s series. I tend to avoid series that involve the actual Dracula. That being said, in this instance I feel like my hesitation was not warranted, and I’m so grateful that I gave it a try. So anybody out there dealing with the same hesitation that I normally face, please consider giving this one a try anyway.

This was my third read-through of this novel, and I still loved it this time around. Admittedly it’s been far too long since I touched the older books in this series, but still. I can honestly say that it held up. I’m looking forward to rereading the rest of the series as well.


Reread Commentary:

It was fascinating for me to go back and read the earlier parts of Dory’s plot again. For me the biggest revelation was seeing Louis-Cesare again, now that we know the full extent of what is happening behind the scenes for him. It added a whole lot to his character, I think.


Book Title/Story: Midnight’s Daughter

Toy/Weapon: Dislocator Grenade. It’s brutal, but efficient. And it does admittedly allow for some comic relief to boot, so it’s a win all around.

Favorite chapter/scene/plot point: I’ve always loved the scene where they raid the Auction House and Dory loses it when Stinky is about to be killed. It showed a lot about Dory and how she felt about things, and I adore Stinky. So I might be slightly biased there.

Favorite quote: I have a few.

“If you do not finish this tonight, if you leave him any avenue by which to return, I wash my hands of the whole affair. Next time, you will hunt him alone.” – It’s dramatic, awesome, and gives us a solid idea of just how bad the impending situation is going to be.

“You might want to wait here. The house doesn’t like strangers.” – I LOVE this house. And this quote sums up the house better than any other I could find. The idea of a house with opinions is both hilarious and fascinating to me.

“A small, dark gray creature, all of about two feet high, stood in the blinding circle of light, vainly trying to shield its large eyes. It was shaking in fear and making a high, mewling noise that sounded like a cross between a child’s wail and a power saw cutting through metal.” – It’s Stinky! Okay, my bias is really showing here, but I adore this little stinker (pun intended).

MVP (not including Dory): Louis-Cesare. It’s so easy to forget about the hell he’s gone through (and is still going through). It makes what he’s capable of that much more impressive, in my mind.

Interesting bits I noticed this time ’round: It was interesting rereading the first novel again, especially since we now know the whole story with Louis-Cesare and why he keeps running off like that. It explains so much about him.

What further research did this book inspire (historical, mythological, etc): I researched more about Duergars. I realized that while I know a decent amount about fae, I was lacking here. I think I can picture Stinky a little better now.

Unanswered questions: None really.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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