Not often does a book in a series without a predetermined end show the quality and depth, which are found in "Hunt the Moon". Being the fifth book in the Cassandra Palmer Series one might expect it to demonstrate the usual recycling of ideas or plot inconsistencies, which are found in many series books. Alternatively the story may drone on or the characters may end up being boring; not this one. Karen Chance exceeds in her storytelling all expectations and raises the bar so high, that one can argue that Hunt the Moon is not the fifth book in the series, but the kick in point in a story that yet is to be told. The previous four books can be considered as a prolonged preamble.
Firstly Karen Chance gives as a succinct summary of the main events described in the previous books not in an introductory chapter, but cleverly woven throughout the book and usually with an insightful commentary by our narrator and chief character Cassie Palmer. This little trick helps Hunt the Moon to stand out individually among the previous books and allow new readers to jump into the story without feeling lost or confused as to what exactly is going on and why.
Moreover, the author tackles successfully the much irritating factor of confusion created by the usually hectic time-travelling, which is a main theme in the series and which has made the second and third books hard to follow. Time-travelling is presented in a more linear and coherent way, flowing into the story and helping the development of the plot, without leaving the reader wondering what happened, when it happened and why it happened. This meandering of events and time periods, which have previously caused headaches, is now seamlessly an integral part of the main plot.
Furthermore, our protagonists pause, breath, reflect and talk to one another instead of launching themselves into new adventures, that usually have disastrous results. Thus we have finally a better understanding of their character, thoughts and feelings. They evolve before our eyes and loose their superfluous descriptive characteristics found in previous books. Somehow Karen Chance's writing matures and so do her characters who loose their two-dimensionality and become corporeal to the reader. This comes to great advantage for the unravelling of the story, since it is easier to deal with subjects more complicated or more obscure than in the previous books. And this is essential due to the originality of the author's storytelling, namely her use of history, folklore, mythology and epic stories of different cultures into her novels. By allowing her characters to hold normal conversations, that is to say for them not to talk over one another or to bark orders to one another or to refrain from explaining why something should be done this way and not the other, she finally lays down the foundation of her main plot and gives a clear idea to her readers as to what to expect next. Yet her real talent is shown in her ability to tell enough, but not more than necessary and thus kill the suspense for the books to come. In addition, the author seems to have settled down in her choice of secondary characters and therefore gives them enough room to expand and materialise, as opposed to her previous use or interjection of people who just dropped in and out of the story.
On a broader scale those familiar with Karen Chance's writing will find the usual action sequences, humour, mishaps and romance nicely mixed together, so there is not a dull chapter in the novel, nor is one theme overdeveloped in proportion to the rest. Something which is also complementing Karen Chance's writing: not too much of a good thing but enough to satisfy everyone.
For all those who like their urban fantasy novels with a touch of history, humour, irony, folklore, romance and action, Hunt the Moon is a "must read". And the bonus comes from the characters who finally are permitted to show their candour, vulnerability, resourcefulness and ability to cope with whatever the author decides to throw into their path. Five stars out of five in all levels.show more