*2.5 Stars*I'm conflicted over this one, as most readers have been. My main problem is that I've already read the Anita Blake series, and Touch the Dark is so similar that you almost have to wonder why she wasn't called out on plagiarism. I could be being unfair, but it's not like I can unread or block out the books and series I've already read. I apologize if you're reading this and haven't read the Anita Blake series at all, and it's very possible you'll enjoy Touch the Dark more if you haven't, but I can't help but compare the two.When I first started, Cassie really felt like old-Anita to me. She seemed head-strong, independent, always running from trouble, and obviously there was something special about her. I liked old-Anita so I wasn't turned off by these similarities. I also really enjoyed her ghost friends and her abilities, I thought they were refreshing and very interesting, but unfortunately underused.What I was turned off by were the male characters, because I had felt like I'd already met them before. Mircea was the book's saving grace though, and I think that's because he reminds me of old-Jean-Claude. He's sexy, dangerous, and cunning, but still cares for Cassie, albeit in a very pragmatic way.Chance's penchant for giving her men long crazy hair was almost an instant turn-off for me. I don't mind shoulder-length hair on a guy, but any longer and I can only think that he's going to be high-maintenance and all that hair is just going to get in the way during sex. Plus, this is yet another thing that Laurell K. Hamilton overuses as well.I know there's a faction on this site that swears by Pritkin's sexiness, but I found him to be like a yapping ankle-biting dog that you just want to punt across the room. I think he's the type of person that grows on you, maybe? At this point I don't hate him, but that's because I don't even care about him enough to bother with the emotion. He also reminds me of Richard with his ignorance and preaching, especially about how vampires are monsters, while he himself uses magic to maim and kill. I hate Richard now so much that I can't even remember liking him. Pritkin seems to be just like him with his hypocrisy and temper tantrums.I didn't really get that big of a feel for Louis-Cesare, yet he did remind me of Asher in a way with how he was tortured and used for sex. But as for Louis-Cesare's personality, I didn't really get much and I'm not attached to him at all.In the beginning, Tomas reminded me of Nathaniel with the obvious comparison of being a lost boy living on the street selling his body. He wasn't what he seemed though and I was bothered by what happens with him the most. I'm kind of disappointed where she took his character and it honestly didn't feel like that's the way things would have played out.Aside from the carbon copy characters, the other thing that I was disappointed with was the use of historical figures. At first it was kind of neat, but then it just became silly and I rolled my eyes at having Rasputin, Jack the Ripper, Dracula's brothers, Cleopatra, and Raphael all appearing on the pages. It's one thing to have Elvis running around Bon Temps, but when more than half of your characters are people you didn't even create, it makes me wonder if you have a hard time coming up with your own ideas.Now if you can look past these things, it's still possible you might be unhappy with her writing style. Chance seems to think that telling us what happened and bombarding us with information is better than letting the events play out naturally. I was aware of the giant info-dumps before I started so they didn't bother me as much as they might someone else. I really wanted more dialogue though, because she does do a good job with it.Another big thing that I hate that LKH does in both her series, is explaining something to the reader, and then a few pages later explaining the same thing to a character. Chance unfortunately does this a few times as well, although she's nowhere as bad as LKH. Just skip the explanation for the reader, we can learn things along with the characters just fine.I have to say, as something positive, I was excited when I got to the first really sexy scene. Mircea is HOT and what he says and does to Cassie practically scorches the pages. But Cassie. Oh Cassie. She should just shut her mouth. Her need for answers and her horrible timing really pissed me off. I swear this book must hold the record for the longest foreplay ever, and at the end I was shaking my fist at Raphael, enraged. (Even though it wasn't his fault.) The time travel aspect kind of made me mad too, for its faulty logic. You can't go back in time to fix something, if you do, you won't need to go back in time to fix it. As a hypothetical example, say you accidentally hit someone with your car and kill them. You have the ability to go back in time so you go back a few hours and maybe hide your car keys on yourself so you leave later and miss the accident. The accident doesn't happen so the person lives. So you have no reason to go back in time now and this creates a paradox because the you that went back in time doesn't exist. If you go back in time so someone doesn't die, then you won't have to go back in time because that person didn't die. I know there are other theories out there but this is the one that I believe. Chance sort of gets around this paradox in a way, but she does it sloppily. Honestly though, this wasn't even my biggest gripe of the whole novel so it didn't influence my rating all that much.Most of all, I think Chance just tried to cram too many things into a first book. I never felt confused though and I was never lost, but she could have spread a couple of the storylines over a few books to really flesh things out. The info-dumps were poorly done and most of the characters were flat and unoriginal. I do like Cassie though, and I thought it was odd that a lot of people that had the same problems as me found her to be annoying. I like her in the way I used to like Anita. She has some of the same annoying characteristics, and I don't mind if a character has flaws, but if it gets to the point where Cassie doesn't learn and grow, then I might agree with other reviewers down the line. I also loved loved loved Mircea and I'm anxious to read more about him. He really saved the novel for me and he makes me glad I bought the whole series.I'll read the next book sometime soon since Touch the Dark had an unresolved ending, but I'm really hoping that a lot of the problems I had with this book decrease greatly in the next. Otherwise, I'll probably feel the same way I do about the Anita Blake series now; disappointed and frustrated.