Written by: Caitlin Kittredge
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St Martins
March 2008, $8.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Nocturne City #1
Welcome to Nocturne City, where werewolves, black magicians, and witches prowl the streets at night… Among them is Luna Wilder, a tough-as-nails police officer whose job is to keep the peace. As an Insoli werewolf, Luna travels without a pack and must rely on instinct alone. And she’s just been assigned to find the ruthless killer behind a string of ritualistic murders—a killer with ties to an escaped demon found only in legend…until now. But when she investigates prime suspect Dmitri Sandovsky, she can’t resist his wolfish charms. Pack leader of a dangerous clan of Redbacks, Dimitri sends her animal instincts into overdrive and threatens her fiercely-guarded independence. But Luna and Dimiri will need to rely on each other as they’re plunged into an ancient demon underworld and pitted against an expert black magician with the power to enslave them for eternity…
A fellow blogger asked me why I choose the books that I do. Is it the cover? The artwork in particular? The Back blurb? Maybe a title? I think my answer is a little bit of everything. While as readers we would love to be able to say don’t judge a book by its cover, but admittedly I pick up a book based on a title or a cover. These days I am less drawn to covers like the one for Night Life as I assume the book will be heavy on the romance and light on the character development and plots. Its not that I don’t dig romance every now and again, but I don’t want it to be the sole focus of the book I am reading. It is why, though I am a die hard romantic of the fuzzy wuzzy type, I don’t watch too many romantic comedies unless I am in ‘one of those moods’. Maybe this makes me less girly girl, but more often these days I am drawn to books by male authors or names I may not readily recognize. Why? Because I get all of that action, thrills, etc that I so often am missing in urban fantasy these days. In fact my boredom with urban fantasy of late has brought back my appetite for comic books and all things RA Salvatore and George R Martin. Or I am reading a lot of Young Adult stuff that relies more on the story than the mushy bits. But anyway I digress.
I picked up Night Life based on the cover and also because it was very cheap when my Borders bookstore closed a couple of years ago (Yep, still going through that To Be Read Pile, but seriously that pile adds more comrades every other day). People had some great things to say about Caitlin and her works, so i figured why not. I love that Kittredge is a bit of a geek so I feel a sort of kinship there. Now Nightlife is yet another series that takes place in a world where magic exists and so do the things that go bump in the night.
Things I really didn’t like so much: So lets go with the things I didn't love and we will leave the good news for last. I wanted to like Luna despite the pun (possibly intended) of her name. But I just couldn’t. Described as a tough as nails police detective and the best detective they have to boot, I found her to be a bit too reckless and her police work fairly shoddy. I get the whole Prime Suspect deal with having to have as much balls as the rest of your male dominated work force and yet it just fell flat to me. Yes there is a reason why people don’t like you. Its because you are a bitch. But even more so I don’t buy her as a police officer, let alone a detective (as in trying to arrest someone without a badge, warrant or even reading of rights or telling your superior that a ton of evidence is being torched). She is reckless, lacks any sort of tact and continues to act like said bitca rather than tone it down a wee bit so you don’t get your badge taken away. Plus she just does Captain Suicide sort of things like run into a bar full of werewolves who will kill you just for the fun of it. Maybe if she could really back of it up, I would shrug and go with it, but she isn't that girl. A lot of bark without bite and yes I meant that to be really stupid and punny. Even if you get over the fact that she is the stereotypical Mary Sue, she is flat and I didn’t care what happened to her. In fact I was kind of hoping Moggath would eat her.
Lets get to the eye rolling romance bits now. I simply could not buy into the attraction between Luna and Dmitri. Half the time, I wasn’t sure what Dimitri saw in Luna. His lover had just been brutally murdered and her death struck him hard to the point of making him emotionally unstable so for him to suddenly switch affections to Luna made me question his character and just how in love he actually had been. Maybe that’s just me. But he was just as inconsistent as Luna. Seriously choose a role and an attitude and stick with it. Besides the fact that a pimp drug dealer who “managed” his dead prostitute girlfriend is really what gets the butterflies all a flutter and compels me to jump your bones. In fact most of the men in the book are asshats and apparently stick to the antiquated mentality that women are the weaker sex and belong barefoot and pregnant at home.
Things I sort of liked:Okay so now for the good news. It was a very quick read. So yay for that part. And I did pick it up because of the cover and title, so.... shouldn't do that again. I will say that Kittredge did a good job with the world building. I liked the various neighborhoods of the city and how each played a part of the whole, the different populations that lived in them and the way they are viewed by the larger population. Sunny and Luna’s grandmother were decent characters though again very stereotypical and mostly flat instead of fully realized characters. I did finish it so that is a plus, apparently the plot was engaging enough (despite the many plot holes) that I finished it and there have been some books that are too horrible for me to even finish (Sorry Twilight fans).
In all it was not good. It is mediocrity at its worst sadly and to be honest I think one of the reasons why urban fantasy has such a bad rap these days. Which is sad as I am really rooting for most people in the genre. Sorry Kittredge but I wont be picking up the next one, but I wish you well.
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Part of: A Series
Also Recommended: Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels series is nice for the world building, detective touch. For werewolves, I would go with Patricia Briggs and her Mercy Thompson series. Now if you are liking some grit, why not try the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey or for a male protagonist try Kate Griffin’s Midnight Mayor Saga.
1.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarksThe Soundtrack for this Post: Glitch Piano Album by Torley Wong