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Review of Nightlife by Rob Thurman

Review of Nightlife by Rob ThurmanNightlife by Rob Thurman

Rating: I LOVED IT
Series: Cal Leandros #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 360
Published by: Penguin Books Limited
Publication Date: 2011
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Book Blurb: There are monsters among us. There always have been and there always will be. I’ve known that since I can remember, just like I’ve always known I was one…

…WELL, HALF OF ONE, ANYWAY.

Welcome to the Big Apple. There’s a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side – and that’s only the beginning. Of course, most humans are oblivious to the preternatural nightlife around them, but Cal Leandros is only half human.

His father’s dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares – and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal. Why? Cal hasn’t exactly wanted to stick around long enough to find out.

He and his half brother, Niko, have managed to stay a step ahead for four years, but now Cal’s dad has found them again. And Cal is about to learn why they want him, why they’ve always wanted him: He is the key to unleashing their hell on earth. The fate of the human world will be decided in the fight of Cal’s life…

Still, Grendels weren’t above using humans, and most humans weren’t above being used.

The monsters were there for anyone who just opened his eyes and looked. But ignorance is bliss and there were billions of blissful people in this world.

Maybe stupidity was a demon all its own.

Funny thing about faith … it goes a lot faster than it comes.

Snap judgments? I’d gotten over those about the time I was toilet trained. Swore off diapers and faith in the human experience all in one week. You had to admire my efficiency.

Wouldn’t it be a stupid question really? Kind of like asking someone how it felt to be in hell. Hey, just how hot is it down there, huh? Is it the heat or the humidity? And, hey, is that torture and disemboweling by demons, really as bad as they say it is? Jesus. There’s a sheer level of awfulness that’s incapable of being put into words, a terror so intense it can’t be expressed.

Have you ever noticed how people, humans, tend to revert to children in times of great stress? It’s not necessarily that they want someone to take responsibility or to take care of them. And it’s not that they lose the capacity to understand what’s going on. What they do lose is the knowledge that life isn’t fair. As their life is falling apart around them, they absolutely refuse to believe it’s happening, right down to the last second. They start life as a child; they end life as a child.

I’ve said it before: I love stories with close sibling relationships and it’d be damned hard for me not to like a book that contains one. This was no exception.

Basic storyline follows two brothers. The younger (Cal) is part elf, and not the glowing Lord of the Rings kind. They are dark and viscous. And they want Cal for their own evil agenda. The older brother has given up his own life to protect his younger brother. It’s told in first person by Cal.

There’s a wide range of monsters in this book, which is always fun. They’re not all bad, and I found one of the good guys utterly entertaining. Not to mention how well he was developed and how nicely he fit into the plot. I really liked the interaction between the monsters and the brothers. The only thing I can see ruining this series for me is a vampire potential romance. I like my vampires bad. Or at least acknowledge how horrible they are. Butcher does this brilliantly. He has a vampire that’s on his side, but never romanticizes the hunger of the vampire.

The brothers themselves are done nicely. I like their relationship. Cal is full of self loathing. I like my characters to struggle with who they are, and since Cal’s father is a monster, he has every right to wonder about himself. It fits a kid of his age. For some, his ramblings might become tiresome. He might sound whiney or self-centered, but I never had a problem with him. His brother … well, I think he was a little too badass. He knows everything and it made it difficult to relate to him. He’s a badass fighter, book smart, healthy, and has crazy instincts. I wish he was a bit more flawed. Or more down to earth. Regardless, I still enjoyed parts of him and his interaction with Cal.

The pacing was rather slow at times, but I never had a hard time picking it back up. Just be prepared for drawn out scenes that are more about fleshing out characters than moving the story along. Since I love moments where we get to know characters (as long as they’re entertaining), it didn’t really bother me or slow me down.

The writing itself was good. It flowed nicely and painted some great pictures. I loved some of Cal’s musing, and his voice never changed. Thurman kept him consistent even while he grew as a character. I also love that I never felt bogged down by lengthy descriptions. There was plenty to get the imagination flowing.

The world is urban fantasy, so not much to talk about there. The monster world fits in nicely and I never felt like I didn’t understand what was going on. I think there’s a lot more potential in the next book. I’m curious to see where Thurman takes it. Seems like it’s kinda all wrapped up with this book.

So overall, it was good and I plan on continuing the series. I’m not usually fond of young adult books, but this one didn’t have some love triangle or some swooning girl who couldn’t live without a boy. Always a bonus.

About Rob Thurman

Like many writers, I had many interesting and sundry jobs after college. Some fairly decent paying, some not, but all with one thing in common: the ability to suck the soul from your body and leave you a withered, bitter husk. Of course, I still looked good, but I was nothing more than a shell of my former self. And so I turned to writing with little to no expectations, and wasn’t that a lucky thing? People ask…how did you get published? Call the Vatican, because as far as I can tell, it was a full-fledged miracle. Time after time, authors will tell of how they were rejected by everyone under the sun. Hey, there’s a reason they say it. It’s true. All hail to Anne, the most amazing, wonderful, and damn discerning editor in the world. I’d kiss her feet if only she’d walk a little slower.

As for my personal life, I wish I could say I was a master of martial arts, but, damn…the dojo is so far away. But Bruce Lee is right here on the television. Or I could say I was a thrill seeker…there was that one impulse to skydive, but after you see one stout guy just a little too heavy for his parachute do a belly flop in a cornfield instead of landing on his feet, you change your mind pretty quickly. There’s always the fascinating hobby of hanging around the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of the bookstore in the hopes of someone picking up my book. I could then tackle them and say, yes, I wrote that. Shall I sign it? Yeah, I gave it some consideration, but visions of security tossing me out on my ass as some sort of psycho biblio-stalker gave me second thoughts.

I am a dog person (if you don’t have a dog, how do you live?)… and every dog I adopt is from a shelter. They were full grown, already house trained, and grateful as hell. Think about it next time you’re looking for a Fang or a Fluffy. If you’re a pure-bred dog snob, they fill the shelters as well. If that doesn’t convince you, think financially. $250 to a breeder or $25 to save a life. I adopted two pure-bred registered Siberian Huskies, one from a rescue organization and one from Death Row at a pound on his very last day. Both were the best dogs I’ve ever had.

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