Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Nightlife

Nightlife (Cal Leandros, #1)Nightlife by Rob Thurman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Story time!

I picked up this book and its sequel in 2007, at the Borders in North Orlando where I was attending a NaNoWriMo event. Yes, I remember quite clearly when I picked up the books. I'd read or heard about them, looked through the blurbs and peeked into the opening pages, so I bought them and put them on a shelf for later.

Later ended up being 4 years later, of course, but I'm glad I waited. Some instinct or whispering voice warned me to wait until more the series existed so that when I finished one book, I could move on to the next because, dammit, that's what happens with series -- you start one, you really like it, but then you have to wait a year or two years for the next installment and that's crazy making. I've been through it a few times. Books are like relationships to me, which makes it hard to get involved if I feel like I'm being strung along. I really hate it. So, I tend to wait until most of the story is available (like waiting for the unavailable guy you're crushing on to be single.)

Anyway, I've had the good luck to chat on occasion with Rob Thurman on Twitter. Wow. There is one impressive mind. I like this lady a lot. And I had guilt because there were the books, pulled from my storage locker of books to be read this year, and what was I reading that I couldn't start one of them...so yesterday afternoon I cracked open Nightlife. I read it on and off all evening and went to bed about 11 pm.

And woke up at about 3:30 am, flipped on my little reading light, and started in on it again. I finished it this afternoon. My own writing is ignored, dishes rot in the sink, the dog really wishes I'd take him out, and the cats have had about enough of this nasty litter box, but I HAD TO FINISH THE BOOK.

And I am SO glad I know this is a series, that more books exist, the story goes on. I would not have made it through without that meta-information. Because I got really attached. Hooked, I should say. Here are all my favorite things -- a smart assy first person narrative, main characters who are kick ass but imperfect, emotional relationships that made sense to me and felt real, and a world full of darkness and light, mystery and wonder. You know, all that good stuff I want from my urban fantasy. Hell, what I want from any book.

Now, for anyone familiar with urban fantasy, this isn't brand new ground, but it's well woven storytelling. The whole way through this book I caught threads of other books and series I've really devoted myself to (Jim Butcher's Dresden Files popped to mind, among others). Not a copy, just those same good qualities, the same level of involvement for me, the cleverness of the twists, the way the things I expected and the stuff I didn't expect came together. How much I liked all of it. How attached I got to Cal and Niko, and even to Robin and Promise and Georgina. Hell, even the Big Bad had repulsive fascination. I liked how things were not always explained out encyclopedia style because the characters don't know and don't always find out. The point of view worked really well, even though Thurman played some great tricks with it (I love tricks with points of view when they are done right.)

The second book is sitting on the couch next to me and I happen to know I will be in close proximity to the only large bookstore in a 3 county area on Friday -- if they have copies, I'll get the rest of the series. Then, yes, maybe I will delver into her other series (it isn't like I don't have some 300 books on my TBR pile, but we will let that pass for now.) I fully expect I will read these again (when I'll bump up to 5 stars). I expect I'll recommend them to others because when I get enthused, I get enthused.

I'm enthused. Sorry, Rob, that I waited so long, but at least I didn't wait forever. Now, I have to go read.

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Becs said...

I know! That's why I won't read a series unless (a) it's completely honest-to-God finished, which usually means (b) the author is dead.

Becs said...

PS - Patrick Rothfuss (?) broke my heart after I read the first Kingkiller book and it would be a thousand years later before the next book appeared.