Friday, March 27, 2009

Reviews: Caitlin Kittredge

Hi all. I know I've put this off for a while now, but it's Spring Break, so even with a bit of homework, I don't want to put it off again. Purely a time and energy issue, unrelated to the books themselves.

I'm going to start with a few books I've mentioned before, but since then, more have come out in the same series. Without further ado, Kittredge's Nocturne City series:
Caitlin Kittredge currently has three novels out in bookstores, Night Life, Pure Blood, and the most recent with a February release, Second Skin. She also has a few stories out in anthologies.

The Nocturne City series follows Luna Wilder, a cop, werewolf, outcast, and a woman with relationship trouble. After receiving the bite, she ran from the pack, thus becoming an outcast, an Insoli, and considered 'less' in the eyes of most other weres. The first book opens with trying to solves a murder and having to deal with the (sexy) alpha of one of the packs, Dmitri. As the back of the book blurb says, "[Luna's] just been assigned to find the ruthless killer behind a string of ritualistic murders--a killer with ties to an escaped demon found ony in legend...until now." Dmitiri is both a suspect in the murders, and as ally as she investigates and encounters a black magician.

I sped through this. One of Kittredge's strengths seems to be her pacing. I was quickly wrapped up in Luna's character, her relationship with her cousin Sunny, and the anger and control issues that come with being a were who didn't have a pack to teach her control. As someone who accepts a romantic plot thread, but can do without them, I liked how Kittredge focused as much, or more, on the case. Luna doesn't fall into bed with Dmitri after the first time they met, and tries to resist his "wolfish charms."
After being in a slump in terms of reading novels, Night Life was one of the books that picked me out of that slump.

Pure Blood is the sequel, taking place a few months later. She returns to work, but Dmitri has returned to the Ukraine, and she has to suffer through a new captain (Captain Morgan, and no, the hilarity is not lost on Kittredge or Luna), as well as a partner, Shelby O'Halloran. This time, Luna's investigating deaths related to a feud between the blood witches and caster witches, with a powerful artifact in the middle.

I love that, unlike some urban fantasies I've, Luna's position is never static. she doesn't gain more power, but more trouble, with every book. People still hate her (some seem to hate her even more, as if with each book, there's another were pack that tries to kill her), she has more and more trouble with coworkers and bosses (Bryson, another detective in book 1, the Captain in book 2). As soon as Shelby showed up, sitting at Luna's desk, I was hooked to see how Luna would deal with her as a person, and as a partner.
(I take part of that back. She does gain an ability, Pathing, a gift acquired through her bite, but only manifesting in Pure Blood. I don't see this as part of the 'she gains a new power every book until she's unstoppable,' because she has no control over it, and it seems really painful when it happens. And while it helps her against foes, she solves the crimes with her intelligence, and a little brute strength.)

Second Skin is the third book, out at the end of February of this year. After the insanity at the O'Halloran building, and an encounter with the man who gave her the bite, Luna has transferred to SWAT, but detecting in still in her heart. Despite Bryson still being a prick, she agrees to help him solve four murders, all of them weres.
That leads her to Lucas, a Wendigo and a handsome man who knows his chilli.
With Lucas telling her one thing, Dmitri (returned as of Pure Blood) telling her he doesn't know anything, and Bryson being threatened by the packs/relatives of the dead weres, Luna has to figure out who is telling her the truth and solve the murders before she's the next victim.
So here I reach (anthology short stories aside) the current released books, and I want more. At the end, Luna's position on the police force (or lack of position) changes again. It was interesting to see how she'd interact with a team of men while with SWAT, and I wish we could have seen more of that. But it's also not a big point, because again, the story flowed so well I was more focused on reading the next scene, finding out what else was going to be thrown in Luna's way.
Perhaps the only aspect of the novels that irked me, and this was only when I read the first novel--by the second and third, I was used to it and it didn't really jump out at me--was the use of "Hex" as a swear word, instead of the "f" word or something similar.
Also, my professor, who'd never read any urban fantasy before, preferred Night Life over Neil Gaiman's American Gods. The pace was one of the reasons she gave me for that preference.
All in all, the Nocturne City series is a fast-pace durban fantasy, with a little bit of romance and sex, a lot of police work, and interesting characters that I never got tired of reading about.

No comments: