Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk
Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.
Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.
When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors
Paperback, 304 pagesPublished Feburary 25th by Ace
Three and a half stars: An engaging and exciting intro to a new UF series.
Val and Chaz are getting ready to close up The Night Owl Bookstore. Dawn is approaching and Val, the vampire, must get home before daylight. As the pair head to the parking lot, Val catches a whiff of something foul and rotten on the breeze. She shoves Chaz into his car and orders him to leave. Val tracks down the scent and is horrified to discover it is just as she feared, the Jackals have entered her town. The next night, trouble hits home when Justin, one of Val's employees, brings a very old book that was entrusted to him by his professor an expert on valuable books. Later, they receive word that the professor and his wife were murdered at their home by the Jackals. It seems the Jackals are after the book and it is up to Valerie and company to make sure it doesn't fall into their hands. Can Valerie and her friends stop the Jackals?
What I Liked:
- I was immediately sucked into this book due to its fast pace and exciting characters. This is a true Urban Fantasy book in that it features plenty of paranormal entities in a small city and it doesn't delve into a romance. Even though I enjoy a romance, I was pleased to see that none of the five main characters became entangled with one another. That doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of possibilities, and I have my fingers crossed that down the road a romance might come about, but in the meantime it was refreshing to just stick to the main conflict. I have been on the lookout for a great new UF series, and while this one wasn't perfect, I liked it well enough that I will definitely be continuing the series.
- This novel has five main characters, I know five sounds like a lot, but I found that I was drawn to all of them, and I appreciated that they were very different. You have Elly, a teenage jackal hunter who was raised by a fanatic man who taught her everything she knows about killing jackals. Elly is fierce, courageous and a bit lonely. Val is a vampire and she has the typical vampire traits: can't tolerate daylight, able to do mind control, can't enter a building without being invited, etc. Even though I am over the whole vampire thing, I actually enjoyed Val's character because she is a traditional type vampire. She isn't overbearing, for the most part, she is just one of the gang. Chaz is her friend and keeper. Chaz helps look after Val and attends to the things that need to be handled during the day. He is loyal and fun. Carvale is Elly's counterpart, they were raised by the same man, but the two have been estranged for the past two years. Cavale is not only skilled in hunting jackals, he is also adept at spells and flushing out other paranormal creatures. Finally, Justin, the college student and employee at Night Owls. He is smart and naive, and also a bit endearing. The five characters work together for a common goal, and I not only loved seeing them come together, but I also enjoyed watching them interact. This is a fun cast of characters and I am looking forward to watching them grow.
- This book presents a new type of paranormal creatures called Jackals or Creeps. They are canine type creatures who, like vampires, can't tolerate daylight or holy water. They feast on human flesh, and they are smelly and foul. These creatures are scary and nasty. I liked that they were something unique.
- The story is packed full of action and danger from the opening pages to the finale. There is hardly a dull moment as the group ends up in a war against the jackals. There are numerous fight scenes and quite a bit of suspense.
- I loved the setting of the bookstore. Val runs an all night bookstore on a college campus. I thoroughly enjoyed the bookstore and can't wait to spend more time there.
And The Not So Much:
- For me, one of the biggest downfalls of this book was that the author didn't take the time to explain things. For instance, I never had a clear idea as to exactly what a Jackal was. They are this canine type creature that can transform back and forth from creature to human. They feast on flesh and sleep during the day. I wanted to know how did they turn into a jackal? Why were they in a war with the vampires? What exactly was in that book that they wanted? I was wishing that more time was spent on the details. Then the author introduces some other paranormal entities such as succubi and a clan of vampires called Stregoi. I had no idea what exactly a Stregoi was, but I had plenty of guesses since I have read a lot of paranormal books. However, not all readers are avid readers of paranormal, so it is best to explain. The succubi are not clearly explained either. For someone who has never encountered a succubus, it is confusing. Finally, Chaz is referred to as Val's Renfield a nod to Dracula, but once again for the average reader, they would be clueless if they had not read Dracula. I think the author assuming that everyone is in the know when it comes to the paranormal hurts the story. Bottom line: the world building needs a bit of work.
- The first half of the book the plot was tight and exciting, but somewhere after the midway point, the book became a bit scattered and I wasn't quite as engaged. It felt like the plot presented too many story lines and at the end, I was left with so many unanswered questions. Even though there isn't a cliffhanger, there wasn't a lot of resolution. I still didn't know what was in the book and whether the information was lost, I didn't understand what was going on with the other vampires, I wanted desperately to know what happened in the past between Cavale and Elly, and I wanted to know more about the relationship between Chaz and Val. There were far too many loose threads for my taste.
- This book is told in shifting third person narratives. I didn't have trouble between the view points and the change in voice, but I think it would have been better to tell the story in first person narrative.
Night Owls is a promising beginning to a new UF series. This book stays true to the UF format in that it doesn't involve a romance. There is plenty of action surrounding a solid group of likable characters. I enjoyed the book despite a having a few issues and I can say that I will definitely be continuing this series.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.