Super Sunday’s First Review!!!! Nightlife by Rob Thurman
Author: Rob Thurman
Series: Cal Leandros #1
Published: March 7, 2006 by ROC
Blurb from Goodreads: “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 . .
This book had a good premise, I was impressed with the idea of the book and its potential because who doesnt love a good ass kicking antihero on the run right? Wrong.
The potential of this book falls flat right as you finish the prologue and never redeems itself past that point. The writing from a male perspective is wonderful and refreshing in a world were most fantasy books follow a heroine. The male perspective is actually one reason Nightlife rushed up my to-read list but the dialogue seems to constantly beat you over the head with the fact its written by a male, as if the author wants to make sure you appreciate the different perspective. You cant go more than a few lines without the characters cursing, making an innuendo of some kind, or feeling the need to reference their dicks. We get it, the narrator is a guy.
Next comes the relationship between the two brothers. On one hand you have self loathing main character Cal. He’s a monster and he has a tough life, it endears you to him, sets up the story well for him to be a lovably scrappy character as readers pull for his happy ending. Sadly, this isn’t made a positive but a negative because Cal doesn’t stop complaining about how sad and unnormal and monstrous he is until the last sentance of the novel. He has difficulty coming to terms with who he is and that personal journey can at some times be entertaining, but no one enjoys a novel long pity party which is what I feel the overall message of Cal’s self loathing becomes.
You then have all around perfect brother Niko who falls just as short in the characterization department as his brother Cal. Niko is perfect in every way, he is kind, unconditionally loves his brother, gets all the ladies (and even humorously some men), is a rare human in the magic filled world but yet has almost supernatural skills with weapons. Niko is amazingly attractive, smart and witty and all around perfect. If you thought that was a bit overzealous on the praise then read the book and you’ll find thats what comes out of Cals mouth every time he mentions Niko. He is a foil so some exaggeration is acceptable but at some point you have to make a sibling relationship realistic and the complete drooling adoration Cal has for Niko falls short of realism.
Golden Boy Niko…of sorts
Finally, I found the writing itself is clunky and awkward, especially in the dialogue. The plot structure had some major holes, that is to be expected somewhat in a new series and I hope will be fleshed out in future novels.Despite that hope however, I found this novel as a stand alone lacking in terms of explanation for the antagonist and reasoning for how the plot proceeds. Its almost as though the author got midway through and had 3 great ideas of how to proceed to ending the book, so instead of picking one and having an impressive first novel, he decided to go for all 3 antagonist. They felt shoved together into one big jumbled barely coherent plot line that left me unsatisfied with the quick resolution of all antagonist. All in all I give it a two if not but that fact it is bearable enough you could suffer through it in hopes that the great potential will be fleshed out in later novels with better dialogue, characterization, and a centralized plot for the serise to come. The characters had promise, the fact that this features a strong male cast rather than two cut outs in a love triangle gives the novel major points.
If your not in the mood to struggle through this clunky first novel to find a diamond in the rough of a series, I would leave this book be and find another of the many excellent paranormal YA books out there. If your interested in the less than stereotypical cast of monsters, a male cast of ass kicking heroes, and some promise down the road I say pick Nightlife up, it can be finished rarely quickly at less than 400 pages and it would not be a regrettable way to spend an afternoon.
Til Next Time,
Your Book Crook