Nightshifted / Cassie Alexander
True story: every time I see the cover of this book I initially misread it as “Nightshift Ted”, which I assume would be a contemporary fantasy novel about a janitor who is forced to clean up after the apparently mandatory vampire/werewolf conflict.
It’s actually about Edie Spence, nurse working the night shift in the … Supernatural ward of the county hospital.
I think there’s definitely something to a satirical urban fantasy about the put upon janitor of the supernatural.
Brief plot summary
Edie Spence works the night shift on Y4, the hidden ward of the county hospital where the werewolves and vampires and zombies go. Attempting to fulfil a dying patient’s last wish, Edie finds herself over her head and involved in some sort of conspiracy or something involving vampire child pornography (seriously).
So how is it?
Just okay, but I keep checking the series out from the library so it has something to keep me reading.
My immediate impression was that the author has obviously read Nightwatch and played Vampire: The masquerade.
Since then I’ve realized that it could just be that she’s mining from the same cultural well, but the nature of the supernatural detente seems reminiscent of Nightwatch and the structure of vampire society is remarkably similar to V:tM. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I have I be honest; the vampire vs werewolf plot is one that holds no interest for me. In fact, despite my love of urban fantasy the very presence of vampires and/or werewolves (especially werewolves) is an immediate strike. It’s a setup I just don’t find compelling. I’ve been reading more vampire books lately but as far as urban fantasy sub genres go the only one I like less than vampires is werewolves.
Coupled by the fact that Cassie Alexander is a practicing nurse, so the whole thing has that “nursey” tone* (not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my best family members are nurses), this book was facing an uphill battle to get me to enjoy it.
*I don’t really have a better way of putting this. There’s just a way of talking and writing that nurses seem to have. Spend some time browsing Pinterest if you don’t know what I mean, there’s plenty of study guides and inspirational material for nurses and it all has that same feel. My inability to articulate this is one of the many reasons I am not even a semiprofessional critic.
I did end up enjoying Nightshifted. Its saving grace was that it didn’t focus too heavily on the minutiae of the supernatural creatures and focused more on the characters and their relationships. That it wasn’t chock a block full of vampires lurking around being sexy and mysterious helped a lot. The character “Grandfather” helped too.
One thing: my library separates mass market paranormal romance (shelving it with romance) and urban fantasy (shelving it with sff – although 75% of the mass market sff at my library is urban fantasy). This series is with the sff stuff but on the paranormal romance – urban fantasy continuum Nightshifted is closer to paranormal romance, both in style and in content. So be aware of that.
It does make me wonder: where’s all the queer paranormal romance? Everything I’ve read in the genre has been super heteronormative. Kind of disappointing.
It’s not bad but I wouldn’t go out of y way to recommend it.
It’s good paranormal romance, an if you’re in to the “human woman gets involved with vampires/werewolves” style of paranormal romance this is a definite recommend.
For urban fantasy fans it’s more of a tentative recommendation. I’ll quantify it with a checklist below. Add/subtract what applies to you and see if this is the right series for you
[+1] fan of urban fantasy
[+2] fan of paranormal romance
[+1] fan of the vampire/werewolf thing
[+1] you’re a nurse
[+1] liked Nightwatch but thought it was too scary
[+1] prefer a “normal” human protagonist
[+1] fan of White Wolf RPGs
[-1] hate paranormal romance
[-1] dislike explicit sex scenes
[-1] tired of the “old Universal monster movies” approach to urban fantasy
[-1] looking for a kick butt heroine and/or extended Hollywoodesque action sequences
[-1] looking for something funny, light, or nonviolent