The Gauntlet – Karen Chance [Review]

The Gauntlet is a short story prequel in the Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance.

The Gauntlet coverI read “The Gauntlet” in The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2. The cover shown is for the ebook edition of this story, which is available for free on her website.

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 was published by Running Press in 2010.

“The Gauntlet” includes elements of action, humor, fantasy, and a hint of romance.



The Gauntlet is a Kit Marlowe short from The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 and a companion piece to The Queen’s Witch.

Jen’s Review of “The Gauntlet”

The Story

Gillian and her daughter are prisoners. When a vampire comes and tries to claim Gillian, she uses a spell that damages the prison, creating an opportunity for escape. While Gillian and her daughter are trying to escape, the vampire offers his assistance. Gillian has to decide whether to trust him. Meanwhile, an old witch gives her new powers. Gillian ends up learning things about herself.

Kit wants Gillian to help him. First he has to get her to safety.

After reading this story, I wondered why it was picked for a romance anthology. There was only a little hint that a romance might blossom between the characters. It read more like a prequel for a fantasy novel, which makes sense because the Cassandra Palmer series is usually listed as urban fantasy, not paranormal romance.

Even if it didn’t really fit in the anthology, I did enjoy the story. In fact, I liked it better than I liked the first Cassie Palmer book, Touch the Dark. I’m not going to pass judgment on the entire series, though, because I haven’t read enough of it to say.

The Characters

Gillian is the main character. She is strong, protective of her daughter, and determined to get them both to safety. I liked Gillian a lot. 

The daughter, Elinor, is mostly a prop in the story. I didn’t feel anything either way for her. 

In the third chapter, the reader learns that the vampire’s name is Kit. That chapter is told from his point of view. As much as is possible in a short story, Kit was a well-developed character who was well-motivated and likable.


The Writing

I don’t have anything negative to say about Karen Chance’s writing. The story made sense, moved quickly, and was easy to picture in my mind. I was impressed by the amount of worldbuilding that went into this piece.


Do I Recommend?

I think urban fantasy or fantasy readers would enjoy reading “The Gauntlet” even if they haven’t read any of the Cassandra Palmer series. Although it ends with some questions unanswered, it is an entertaining read by itself. I do recommend reading it if you haven’t read it already. Like I said, it’s free to read on Karen Chance’s website.


My Rating for THE GAUNTLET: 5 out of 5 stars (A)

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About Jen Schaper

In addition to being a book blogger, I am a mother of three children, a retail backroom coordinator, and a wannabe writer (when I make time to do it).
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