I just finished book two of the series Claimed by Shadow, and read Touch the Dark a month or two ago. Both books are by Karen Chance and are part of the Cassandra Palmer Series. The strange tales of Cassandra Palmer, orphaned by the very vampire who raised her to be his own personal Cassandra. A "Cassandra" comes out of Greek mythology, Wikipedia (not the world's most reliable reference but good enough to tell us this) says:
In Greek mythology, Cassandra (Greek: Κασσάνδρα, "she who entangles men", also known as Alexandra) was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. In an alternative version, she spent a night at Apollo's temple, at which time the temple snakes licked her ears clean so that she was able to hear the future. This is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes it brings an ability to understand the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future. However, when she did not return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions. She is a figure both of the epic tradition and of tragedy, where her combination of deep understanding and powerlessness exemplify the tragic condition of humankind. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra)The whole deep understanding and powerlessness mentioned above is a pretty good description of what Cassandra feels as this Pythian power, part of the Oracle of Delphi lore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythia) seeks her out as its heir. In the world in which Cassandra Palmer lives there is a vast network of Supernatural beings who work together at MAGIC, a sort of paranormal United Nations (only the UN works better!), to protect humanity. In particular, there are Fae, Gargoyles, Golums, Mages, Witches, Were-creatures, Zombies and Vampires. There are also random Greek mythological creatures that pop up, occasionally to act as a Deus-ex-Machina* for Ms. Palmer. In addition to prophecy, the Pythia seems to have the power to shift through time and space to set events right, or to escape. Since Cassie was not trained to be the Pythia she is unaware of all her powers.
The books are lots of fun interspersed with somewhat more tragic moments in her past, present and future. She is very likable and the people with whom she journeys through life are either likable or despicable. The only thing I found hard in the books was following who was trying to kill whom and why and the other action, whether Cassie was in her body or that of another person when she shifts back in time. There are many people who want her and some of her friends dead. It is just hard to know which is which. Then sometimes, the person who was attempting to kill her becomes a trusted ally.
I enjoyed the book. There is some heat in the first book, but because Cassie has to be chaste to be made Pythia, no real heat until the second book. Then I had a hard time figuring out how they made love since the male was wrapped in bandages almost like a mummy. He sounded cute and she had to complete the ritual of losing her virginity to fully become the oracle of legend so I let it slide.
My TBR pile (lives in my Kindle and on top of my dresser) is getting pretty high so while I do recommend this series, it may be a while before I get the time to finish it. But, don't let me stop you. I think my confusion issue may stem from me not being a tremendously careful reader, so that may not bother you. Also, if I hadn't allowed so much time to pass between books I may not have felt lost.
If I had a rating system I would give this four out of five for sympathetic characters and a great story.
By the way Ms. Chance's website has some portraits of the characters in the books under "Freebies"
http://www.karenchance.com/books.html The book covers are used under the Fair Use policy in the process of critiquing the books.
*This term comes to me from stage craft class, in 1979. In Greek tragedy, when there was no way out, a chariot would fly down and save the threatened being. I believe it happens in Medea. It literally means God from the Machine.