Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: Madhouse by Rob Thurman

Author: Rob Thurman
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Roc (February 26, 2008)
Available at: B&N, ABE & Powell's.

Series Summary: 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.

I want want to mention that I've read the first two of Rob's Cal Leandros Series, Nightlife and Moonshine, plus I have a copy of Deathwish, signed by the author, waiting on my TBR shelf. The fifth book, Roadkill, comes out this March.

Rob Thurman is the Mistress of Sarcasm. Truly, she can sling the sarcasm hard enough to slice off an arm or leg. Madhouse is no exception, and her wit had me laughing to myself as I read. Here are a few quick examples from the book with the character who is thinking or saying it before the quote:

Cal: Niko was a teacher's assistant at NYU (pity the kid who walked late into one of his classes-decapitation is a big deterrent for tardiness.)

Goodfellow: Gods save us. I haven't seen an expression like that since Medusa went through Menopause.

Madhouse is a dark, gritty urban fantasy with, I think, a touch of horror. I love the relationship between Cal and Niko, the main characters in the book. They are brothers with different fathers, and a mean, uncaring drunk Gypsy mother, who's only lessons to the boys involved lying, stealing, and surviving. She had no redeeming qualities, but somehow Niko became everything Cal needed him to be, including father, mother, brother, teacher, and partner. The world they live in is dark and dangerous and they adapted, trusting no one but each other for many years. Then they met Goodfellow, an ancient, self-absorbed, complex and horny being called a puck. Promise, a beautiful and deadly vampire joins their group as well and now they have more to worry about then just themselves.

Madhouse is not a romance, though love, loyalty and friendship make appearances between fights. You have not seen or read about a true bar fight until it's between a drunk puck and an angel-like peri. Let's just say I envisioned a bloody goose down pillow fight.

Fans of Jim Butcher and Vicki Pattersson will love Cal and Niko. If you haven't read either of those authors try reading this deleted scene from Madhouse that the author posted on her blog. It doesn't giveaway anything and it's a cool example of the banter between Cal and Niko: