In New York, 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. Of course, most humans are oblivious to this, 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.
He and his half-brother Niko have managed to stay a step ahead for three 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...
It has been such a long time that I've read a book and at the end want to obsessively stroke the cover. This was one of those books, it pretty much had me going all Gollum after the last page turned. Considering this was a reread for me, even better.
One of the main things that I love about Nightlife is the running dialogue. If you've ever watched an episode of Gilmore Girls (not that the two have anything in common story wise) you can appreciate witty conversation. Nightlife is full of it. You can be shivering in terror at one of the scenes in the book completely repulsed by the actions of the evil villains, but you can't stop yourself from smiling. Thurman has dark, witty-gritty humor down to a science. Even if this book only had half the genius of plot and world building, the dialogue would have been enough to carry it.
Luckily, it has all the plot and world building you never knew you could ask for. Cal and Niko, our two awesome brothers have a lot of baggage to bring into this story. Niko has a taste for all things shiny, pointy, and deadly—if it can kill Niko knows about it and can use it. He's smart as all get out, and is quite appealing to the ladies. Cal is lazy and sarcastic, which makes for one heck of a narrator. Most of a dark and witty humor is from Cal, but the banter between the two brothers is great.
The world Thurman has created is beyond believable, everything adds up for better or worse. Going into this you want to forget everything you think you know about the magical creatures of legend. You think elves are beautiful people with long flowing hair? You got the hair right, but don't forget about the evil red eyes and a body straight from the images of hell. They may have stolen children, but they sure as heck wouldn't replace them with anything but the bones from a nights good meal. There are so many dark and scary creatures in here that it's a real treat. By the end of this book you won't be able to look at spaghetti quite the same way. Plus, forget about looking for Bloody-Mary in the mirror, keep a look out for a banshee in the mirror.
Never have I had the pleasure of throughly enjoying characters in a book as I did in Nightlife. Cal and Niko's relationship is pure genius. I know a lot of reviews say how they love the sibling relationship, but this time I mean it. The two have a bond that time, or monsters, can't shake. In really cheesy words, it down right beautiful. Niko refuses to let Cal believable he is a monster, even if he is half human and half monster. By the end of this book, Cal gets a front row seat of what a monster truly is as his own body is taken over. They came into this book with a lot of baggage, and by the end they may have dropped a few, but they gained more.
Other side characters were just as enjoyable. Puck, or Robin—the things with the furry legs—was one enjoyable/annoying son of a gun. I wasn't sure whether to chuck him out a 30 story building or high five the perverted guy. You can't let Robin's laid back sleazy ways fool you, his pretty much immortal existence is taking it's toll. Hopefully with the next books we will get to see his dirty laundry. I can only imagine how much with a guy who new everyone from history, and probably slept with everyone from history. The freckled-face redhead was a great oracle, seeing how such powers could effect a teenager was refreshing. Instead of a crazy wacked out hormone crazed girl, we've got someone who knows the weight of the world. She's not going to drop it until she breaks. A no nonsense Healer, and his cousin/dog really had me begging for more info on the two. Even the villain in this book is . . . there's just no words you have to read it to experience this monster.
One of the things I truly appreciate is the flash backs. In most books you deal with them to get the 4-11 on what's going on. Thurman makes you want to know what happens to these characters. With other books the flashbacks are boring and tedious. Not here, there just as wild a ride as the rest of the book and only add to the story. Thurman doesn't just rely on flashbacks to give us more on the story or what's happened in the characters life. Events unfold smoothly giving out the information in little bits and pieces so it never feels out of place.
I read this book back when it was first debuting, 2006, when the Urban Fantasy boom was really starting up. Back then I thought this was the best UF I had ever read. Even after all this time and all of the other UF I've read (and it's a lot) it still holds true. In fact, this is probably the most solid debut novel I have ever read. In the end I'm not going to have enough words, or the right ones, to say just how much I love this book. Everyone I have ever recommended this book to has given it 5/5, and that is pretty amazing considering everyones individual tastes. Lots of reviews claim that this book, or other, has great grit, humor, and original story. This one is a guarantee. Put your big girl/boy pants on and get ready to get messy.
No sex scenes, just some dirty talk every now and then.
5/5- Fabulous, a beautiful obsession!
Amazon: Nightlife (Cal Leandros, Book 1)
goodreads: Nightlife by Rob Thurman