Thursday, July 29, 2010

Night Shift by: Lilith Saintcrow


Not everyone can take on the things that go bump in the night.

Not everyone tries.

But Jill Kismet is not just anyone.

She’s a hunter, trained by the best--and in over her head.

Welcome to the night shift…
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I came across the Jill Kismet series on a whim one day at my local Barnes and Noble. The premise of the story seemed really cool and it seemed like I was going to get an edgy, gritty urban fantasy novel, so I purchased the novel.

So, when I finally picked up the book this past week, I was pretty pumped to read it.

My hopes of this being the next dark, edgy urban fantasy find of mine were quickly squashed. In a brutal, bloody way.

There were good parts to this novel but there were equally bad parts, also. I’ll start off with the bad first.

First of all, Jill was like the mash-up of everything people assume these urban fantasy hunter characters should be. She wore a long trench leather coat (cliché), wore leather pants (for the reasons much like Kim Harrison’s main character Rachael), hated herself, constantly reminded people around her that the only way to stay sane in this clearly insane world was to booze it up and sleep around, hated herself, and had a cool car.

Jill annoyed the ever-living daylights out of me. Between her constant whining about herself and the “vulnerability” the author tried to give her, it made it really hard for me to like her. I’ve seen the self-hating hunter main character many a time. I was hoping to get a badass chick who didn’t hate herself for a change.

Besides, what badass chick says “frocking” when she so clearly has said fucking in the novel? There were other major out of character moments in this novel. Like, who says their knife “left [their] hand with a glitter” (157)? What does that even mean? And on page 311, after an entire book where Jill is sort of talking to the reader but not really, she pulls this, “And I don’t want to talk about that anymore” out of her hat. I think that’s a huge no-no and something that should’ve been caught by someone along the editing process.

There were some things just straight up annoyed me, like the silver charms in her hair always tinkling. Every other page the charms were tinkling away in her hair. And why were they there anyway? I mean, I think Saintcrow’s reasoning was that Jill’s mentor (more on him in a minute) gave her the charms and she just tied them in her hair. Why? That’s a reasoning I would really love to have, because it just doesn’t make sense to me. And then Saul starts doing it, for reasons unbeknownst to me.

Now, I could not get the image of Mr. Miyagi out of my head whenever Jill mentioned her mentor. I don’t know why, especially because the teacher was Russian. I just couldn’t. Except he was everything I would never want Mr. Miyagi to be. Apparently he beat Jill (to make her stronger, of course) and then talked her into this whole having a hell breed mark her for reasons that weren’t stated. With Jill’s past (she was an abused prostitute, which I think the author just threw in there to make her seem more vulnerable) I could easily see why she would be stupid enough to just trust what her teacher was saying instead of rationally thinking about the huge mistake she might be making by having herself marked. But I still wanted to know why he wanted her to have it done. And I want Jill to wake up and realize she was in a hell of an abusive relationship with this guy. He seemed like a grade A douche.

I also really hated how the glossary was in the back of the book, because right away these words were thrown at me and I had no clue what they meant and it wasn’t until I paged through the book and saw the glossary that I knew what they meant. I think it’s the Black Daggerhood books where the glossary is in the front. That’s a hell of a lot more helpful. But that could just be a personal thing.

Now, there were some good parts. Some. Not a lot. But some. I think the gore in this was well written. I thought that aspect was good. There was plenty of blood and guts and disgusting images. Which was cool, because you don’t get a lot of that sometimes in urban fantasy novels. I also loved Perry. I thought he was awesome. I want to know more about him. Hell, I want a book in his POV. He was deliciously evil, who apparently just makes Jill beat him to a bloody pulp as payment for being marked. That doesn’t sound like too bad of a trade-off to me. Supernatural abilities and the only payment is beating the crap out of the ‘breed that did it to you? Okay, sure. Could be worse. In short, I think Perry stole every scene in the book he was in and I’d love to see more of him.

I also liked Saul. Once I got past the whole domestic werewolf thing (I kept imagining a big strong werewolf with a pink apron on), I started to like him. Sure, he’s clingy and possessive of Jill for no reasons that are stated, but he’s sweet. I’d like to know more about him. And I liked Harper and Dom.

So, overall, I don’t think it was a strong start to a series. There were a lot of cliché urban fantasy moments, a whiny bordering on pathetic at times main character, and a lot that wasn’t explained to the reader. But there were some parts that might be enough for me to check out the second book. I haven’t decided yet.

Overall rating: 4/10

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