Saturday, 15 September 2012

Book Review: Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander

Title: Nightshifted
Author: Cassie Alexander
Series: Book #1 in the Edie Spence trilogy
Release Date: 22 May 2012
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: review copy provided by author for review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle storeBook DepositoryRead an excerpt

Grade: 3.5 stars

Novellus bonus!
Goodreads appetizer: From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare.

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond...

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this ...

My thoughts: I have to say that as soon as I read the blurb (ok, being completely honest here: I read the blurb once I was already in cover love with Nightshifted’s stunning cover) what immediately piqued my interest was that 1) the heroine was a nurse (come on, usual UF heroines are all badass action figures, a nurse heroine seemed such an ordinary person I felt the reader could relate too), and 2) that it had a hospital for paranormal creatures! How fun does that sound?

Edie was a really human heroine in the sense of the word that she didn’t have superhuman strength/powers and had the thoughts and reactions of how a normal person would react when faced with such events. It was also unusual to see a heroine so unapologetic about her personal life/sex life.

Before starting the novel I had seen some people mention that they felt lost with the nonstop medical jargon, but in my opinion Nightshifted had just the right amount to make the heroine a credible health care professional and provide the details going hand-in-hand with a hospital setting. I didn’t find them numbing, just adding that bit of professionalism and nuance to the character, or some much appreciated humour:

I'd never known a doctor-nurse relationship to survive--unless one of them was a shrink, or a dentist.

LOL, I loved that quote! :-D

I found the story to progress quite slowly until the first half or so. Sure the story didn’t transport me in a whirlwind but I was so immersed in the med terms and trying to catalog away all the characters and events, not knowing which would be important for later, that I didn’t lose interest or my footing due to the slow pace.

Nightshifted was a book which completely threw me off character-wise. I usually know which characters to root for but here the love interest I was swooning about turned out to be not quite the hero with whom the heroine found those romantic tingles. And some of the secondary characters just frustrated me too much (sorry but after seeing how much Edie’s OLDER brother used her and took advantage of her I just wanted to slap him and really force him to realize what a jerk he was behaving like! aaggh). Actually my favourite secondary character was Ti, a zombie! Until now I was quite the anti-zombi-st, but the way Cassie Alexander created him not only was he an interesting character, but the most warmhearted, generous and considerate one. I found it quite interesting (and shocking) that one of the characters who displayed the most feeling and emotion was a rotting zombie!

Somehow the ending was so completely different from the whole story: both in pace and in action. But we can’t say it wasn’t an epic fight scene and showdown :-D And as many details that were alluded to or mentioned in Nighshifted were never explained (what and how did Grandfather do what he did? what happens with shapeshifters, and zombies, and the Shadows?), so a lot of the rules were still left a mystery, I hope Cassie Alexander will get to them in Book #2 because I would like to understand the rules of this universe.

My main disappointment about Nightshifted was that though the cover is really stunning it threw me off and made me expect something quite different from the story. Based on the cover I was looking forward to some dragon action (in my opinion there just aren’t enough dragon stories) but sadly the dragon featured on the cover only had one teeny tiny scene in the book :-( *sad panda face* And based on the cover and the blurb I was also expecting a light and funny urban fantasy, but Nightshifted was rather the gritty and darker kind. Which is not a bad mix, but I was led to expect something else. Nightshifted was a vampire novel, as with the mystery being about them, vampires being the most represented paranormal creatures in the character count, and I wasn’t too fond of that. I was hoping we would get some more interesting paranormal creatures (dragons *hint* *hint*), hopefully in Book #2. :-)

Verdict: Nightshifted started with a unique and exciting premise (as well as a fantastic cover ;-) and while the story wasn’t light, I enjoyed getting to know the characters and universe Cassie Alexander has created. Edie was a credible and unusual heroine, whom I liked all the more for being such an ordinary and relatable person. Be warned that most of the little mysteries and plot lines won’t be wrapped up by the end, so take that into account if you are planning on reading Nightshifted as a standalone. With a universe richly populated with vampires, zombies, shifters, weres and dragons I’m sure Cassie Alexander has much more thrilling adventures planned for the Edie Spence series, and I’m looking forward to them!

Order of the series:

Book 1 - Nightshifted
Book 2 - Moonshifted
Book 3 - Shapeshifted

Read my dual review with Alisha at Book Lovers Inc.

Buy at:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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