Friday, February 12, 2010

Review: Nightlife by Caitlin Kittredge

Night Life
Nocturne City, Book 1)
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (March 4, 2008)
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

Summary: In the shadows of Nocturne City, witches lurk and werewolves prowl, and homicide detective Luna Wilder must keep the peace–while living life as a werewolf. Now bodies are turning up all over town, the brutal murders linked by a cryptic message: We see with empty eyes…

I bought Night Life as part of the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults from Literary Escapism. I had never red Caitlin Kittredge before, but had heard good things about her books. After reading a few chapters of Night Life I thought to myself "Hey, this could be Law and Order: Special Victims Unit but with werewolves, demons and witches!" However, I think it's much better than SVU due to the snarky main character Luna and the sexy Dmitri with his tough guy charm. He snuck up on me in the book for some reason. At first I didn't appreciate his sexiness, distracted by the serial killing psycho Luna is trying to find and stop. Once I did notice him things became much more interesting for me, and for Luna.

Night Life is a quick read, mostly because the action and plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat, as if putting the book down would somehow hinder Luna's investigation. The end, and especially the final showdown with the bad guy, is amazing with a plot twist I had not excepted.

As far as romance, this is not a Happily Ever After book, but it still made my heart ache for Luna. She's not a happy, "let's look at the positive" person like her sister Sunny, who is trying to influence her in that department. Luna is a good cop, a reluctant werewolf with issues, and a loyal friend. Her life is complicated, which is what makes her story a good read. Happy and simple may be awesome in real life when it's possible, but a good story it doesn't make.

I want to take a minute and address the reviews I saw on Amazon. I was really surprised to see people calling Luna "a bitch", "unlikeable" and yes, someone actually called her a "mean girl". First, I have to wonder if the reviewers truly read the book to the very end. Luna is tough, and yes, she is sarcastic and "in your face". It's a way of protecting herself from the realities of her job, her past and the horrendous murders taking place. The other thing that bothers me is that the book is clearly marketed as a gritty urban fantasy. This genre is not for everyone. I happen to love it, and do not think it would be in the least realistic to have the heroes and heroines too "nice" or too "understanding". Here is an example of Luna's "attitude". A fellow police officer has beaten up a kid when bringing him into the station, and has an attitude about Luna:

He reached around and patted me on the bottom. "Thank that sweet ass."
(skipping a few lines...)

"That's my trigger finger you got!" he yelped.

"Then you shouldn't have put it on my ass." I pinched harder. "I couldn't care less what you think of me. But for the record, I think you are a violent, incompetent psychopath who has no business being a police officer."

Personally, I think he got off light. The other characters in the book are varied; some are likable such as Sunny, Mac, and Dmitri, in my opinion. Some characters are distinctly unlikeable and I found each one had specific reasons for being that way.

If you are a fan of Lori Handeland, Vicki Petterssen, Marjorie M. Liu, Jeanne Stein or Ilona Andrews you will want to pick up the Nocturne City Novels. I will be reading the other three books in the series as soon as I can.


1 comment:

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Thanks for this great review. I have this series on my radar to get to. I have the series Black London series.

I have to agree with you on the genre and thoughts on characters. You have to enjoy the genre area the book focuses on to really enjoy the book. But I have read reviews of different books that really hate certain characters, and I wonder if they really read into the character at all.

This is a great review and I like how you touched on the way others think on the character and what you thought.