Monday, May 9, 2011

Nightlife by Rob Thurman

Nightlife (Cal Leandros, Book 1)
I took advantage of the opportunity to grab books one through five of the Cal Leandros series by Thurman at one of my favorite bookstores the other day, so I thought I'd give the first one a try. This is some pretty dark stuff, not my usual light-hearted fare. Cal and his brother Nik have had a very dysfunctional childhood, with an alcoholic narcissistic mother, and left home to live on their own as soon as the older brother, Nik, was eighteen. Cal and Nik have different fathers, and Cal is a half breed between human and Auphe (elf).

The Auphe in this story are not the beautiful, pointy-eared, gauzy creatures of fairy tales, but ugly and evil creatures, who delight in pain, death and destruction. They ruled the Earth long before mankind came on the scene, but were crowded out by rapidly breeding humans, and their numbers have dwindled. One of their members somehow fathering Cal (Caliban) is part of a plan they have to regain control over the world, but it's a long way into the book before we find out the part Cal is supposed to play.

Cal and Nik live in New York City, and most of the action plays out in its mean streets. They have a friend of sorts, a boggle who lives in Central Park, eating muggers, and when they go used car shopping one day, they encounter Robin Goodfellow, or Puck, peddling fast and fashionable vehicles. He somewhat reluctantly becomes an ally in their investigation of the Auphe plot. There's also a nasty troll that lives under the Brooklyn Bridge whom they meet and interrogate.

The action drags for the first half of the book, but then gets wild and wooly after Cal is possessed by an evil spirit, a banshee of sorts, and forced to play his part in the Auphe's scheme. The person who recommended this series says that the first book is the one she rated the worst of all of them, so I'm looking forward to the second one, it should be really interesting.

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