Monday, July 02, 2012
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3.5 stars. Overall I liked this one, but it was a bit mixed for me. I liked the generally dark but not too dark tone. The darkness and dirtiness of the County hospital and the city came across well, as did these not so savory vampires. And it started off with a bang by going right into the story with Edie having to search for the girl, Anna. But it also felt kind of abrupt in the first section of the book too. There was a lot happening at all at once. And then Edie had a one night stand, which I didn't mind, it seemed to underscore her loneliness (and she did end up seeing the guy again anyway, sort of). But she invited the guy home before she even kissed him, what if he was no good? And more importantly, no condom, she's a nurse?! It became a point in the story when she got tested for STDs, but I didn't get the point of that at all, it wasn't done in a preachy-use-condoms way, it just felt weird. And all of this went on right near the beginning of the book, before we really got a handle on the characters or situation, it was just a bit odd.
Sometimes I found the amount of detail to be overwhelming, there were so many characters, details about the supernatural world, situations at work, and problems in Edie's life. But some of it was really charming, like the German ghost grandfather of one of her patients who talks through the old CD player that she basically adopted, it brought little moments of both levity and sweetness and depth as well.
I also really liked the situation with Edie's brother, Jake. In so many books I pull my hair out wondering why the silly heroines don't just walk away from the dangerous situations, they're just too brave to seem real. But Edie has a good reason to be in this mess, she's doing it for her addict brother, who the Shadows are helping in exchange for her working on the Y4 floor of the hospital where the supernatural people/creatures go.
I really liked the nursing aspects of the book. It reminded me of Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian and White Trash Zombie books only in that you can really tell that Rowland has been a cop, detective, and morgue assistant; there's a big difference between really knowing what you're writing about and in doing research about it, and it really showed here. The nursing and medical information wasn't heavy handed or overwhelming, it was just interesting and well layered throughout the book, giving everything a level of realism that added a lot to the fantasy story.
I think the one thing that really bugged me was that there was no explanation (that I saw, did I miss it?) for why Yuri was looking for Anna for so many years and couldn't find her, but Edie got some mysterious ghost message when she was in his apartment and was able to find her in minutes. It's pretty much the foundation for the whole book and it's a major unexplained coincidence, the kind of thing that just annoys the heck out of me. The rest of it's a pretty good start of a first time author. A bit overly complicated. Not a perfect romance, but OK. A strong heroine, if not perfect. But that just bugs me. But the intro for the next book was really good, and I'm definitely looking forward to trying it, and hoping that it's an even stronger book than this one was.
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