Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fix It, Jesus. Urban Fantasy Gone SUPER BAD

I am about to depressurize a little frustration here concerning why I decided to abandon Cassie Alexander’s Nightshifted, after managing to plow through a mere 43 pages.  You're probably thinking that it was just too dreadful to continue; and while I try to refrain from using such an adjective to describe a book, the fact is that it was. Dreadful and awkward. Aimless and just plain ridiculous.

I bought the book last May thinking it was time for some new urban fantasy authors to try. But as always, my reservations were for the level of sex that this genre is known for. Even so, the difference, concerning Nightshifted, lie in its premise. It sounded new and potentially polarizing to other urban fantasy books. I figured it would make an exciting read, though it took me a year and a half to get over my trepidation of the possibilities of "sexi timez with monsters" overtaking the plot (I should have listened to that trepidation). 

See, Nightshifted is about a nurse with a cool name (oh yes, Edie Spence is she) who treats supernatural patients in a secret hospital ward deep underneath the traditional. Supposedly, she’s new to this specialized practice, having yet to understand the blend of her nursing abilities and its role within the supernatural community's healthcare. Now, the book opens with Edie treating a vampire servant who was found lying in some unspecified street during some unspecified time. I honestly don't recall what happened to him, and nor did I get far enough to find out.  Nonetheless, the point is that as he’s dying, he utters the words “Save Anna” to Edie. Before long, he turns to dust. (Don't only actual vampires tend to do this and not their human servants?) So somehow it’s Edie’s fault that she lost her patient, and I’m still unclear how/why besides her jumping on his chest to try to shock his heart into a cardiac beat.  Or some mess like that. So, conversely, the actual details were lacking.  Medically as well as supernaturally.  It just is what it is, I guess.  Anyhow, Edie goes through the vampire servant’s belongings. She discovers three cologne bottles filled with holy water, and a pocket watch with a photo insert of a family (how tiny did the photo have to be?). Later, at home, Edie takes the photo out, and discovers an address on the back. That’s when things got stupider and stupider.  

Because I didn't read the entire book, I'm going to sort of bullet point my issues leading up to my abandoning the book.  Within 43 pages, I had to stop at each scenario before it all got to be too much. THIS AREA IS SPOILER HEAVY!  Though I don't think you'd care if you got this far into the post. 

Issue #1: What’s the point of throwing out the names of medical drugs and further medical terminology if you don’t filter their purpose and definition to the average reader? I don't know what fentanyl (pain reliever, apparently) and Versed (sedative, double apparently) are.  Let alone do I understand how they would affect the treatment of an aged vampire servant, who evidently can disintegrate after death as well as sport fangs just as your standard variety definition of a vampire.  Yet he's a human servant... in pain. In any regard, have your American Medical Associates and Coder book handy! 

Issue #2: Speaking of vampire servants, how did I get to page 43, meet about three other vampires, and still never quite understood what kind of world Edie operated in where she felt the need to confront each one of them while armed with three bottles of holy water and a photograph?  Now, I remind you, she is a nurse.  Not a slayer or demon hunter–at least this early in the book.  Therefore, did she stand to reason with them? Were there any stakes (both the pointy kind and the claims kind) involved with her amateurish investigation? Evidently not on either front, considering she flipped out and began to spray one in the face because he wouldn't let her through a door. There’s a slight disconnect with the world-building as well as the medical theme. And I got this odd, peculiar realization that Alexander was more concerned with writing this sexy, brave heroine instead of a smart one. And one who obviously lived in a world with little rules.

Ain't nobody got time for that

Issue #3: If within twenty-four hours two different vampires (one being a vampire servant–which seemed no different if you ask me) have managed to sink his or her teeth into your hand all the way down to the bone, you do not, I repeat, you do not flash a photograph in the face of the second vampire's attack in an attempt to be released.  Your hand is already injured, which whom he/she is furthering into a state of total mangled-ness. Despite the circumstances, a photograph the size of a silver dollar is not a weapon. Like, come on! What're you doing and why are you doing it this way?  I just wasn't connecting with the functions involved in all of this.  My first instinct would be to fight the vampire off me with force, not attempt to reason with it with a photograph while the SOB is chewing on my metacarpals.  What's even more stunning is that the author tried to play off this scenario by claiming "narcotic vampire saliva" kept Edie somewhat in her right mind to have done otherwise.  STOP THIS!

Is this bish high?
Issue #4: You don't call your junkie big brother to meet you at the hospital so that you can hand over the keys to your apartment.  Why did Edie do this?  So that he can "watch" over her apartment and cat while she slides into the hospital to get her bloody hand treated (stitches?). Now, you especially don't do this if he has already tried to hit you up for cash earlier that day via a nasty, distant phone call! HELLO! 

She dumb

Issue #5: Additionally, you don’t steal a camera from a potential crime scene and, afterwards, give it to your junkie big brother with the distinct demands that he pawn the item. But first, (no listen, FIRST) what sense does it make to remove the film from the camera at the crime scene, burn the evidence, and then take the camera itself only to give it to a drug addict? With no instructions regarding the money he receives after pawning the camera, what the hell were Edie’s expectations of him again? BLEACH MY BRAIN!


Issue #6: Why did Edie call her brother before she went to get her hand treated, anyway? It wasn't an overnight-at-the-hospital situation and, as a nurse, you would assume that she knew this.  However, what’s even more stupid is how she gave her brother the keys to her apartment, and less than a page later, she comes home to find some of her furniture missing. Her cheesing junkie brother peeks around the corner proclaiming, "I was performing an experiment" and "I needed to sell them to afford my final test". Somebody bleach my brain now! 

Fix it, Jesus

Issue #7: When Edie called her brother to watch over her apartment while she got her hand treated, it came with the promise that she would allow him to stay at her place for a few days to keep him from having to stay in a shelter.  I suppose this is her way of considering her inconveniencing him.  Even so, she booted him out once she found out her furniture was pawned. Dear Lord, read her thoughts: 
"It was cold out this morning, tonight'd be freezing for sure. I hoped he made it to the shelter in time. I watched him till he turned at the end of my apartment complex's parking lot, my healing hand throbbing in the cold." 
Besides the fact that it's so obviously freezing outside, and she's safely at home, does she not realize that in order for someone without a home to secure a bed in a shelter, he has to be there at some pre-determined time before 7pm? Really, bish? Really?

I detest you so hard right now

I was creeping along with the squinty face at this point. Knowing good and well that I was about to throw this book. Nevertheless, I went ahead anyway. Just a little. Then this happened… 

Issue #8: Within a day Edie has accidentally “killed” a human servant under her care. With an injured and possibly infected hand, she proceeded to visit the address printed on the back of the photo in his pocket watch. It leads to his apartment. It leads to disturbing photos of young girls in compromising positions. Great. Now let Edie solve this mystery, right? Well, I'm not sure how she ended up at a vampire den, but she did (I zoned out somewhere in there). So what happens there?  She finds the aforementioned Anna chained and being filmed by two vampires. Edie kills one vampire; the other flees. Anna bites Edie.  Anna flees. Edie goes to the hospital to get her hand treated, and in steps in all that fuss I just mentioned regarding her junkie brother.  Once she kicks the brother out, here’s what happens next after a moment of her reasoning with the fact that she's not on-call for the night:
"The ten pounds of weight night shift had put on me hadn't sized me out of my favorite skirt just yet.  I pulled it on, then found a matching shirt that clung in all the right places.  My hair was wavy, shoulder length, generically brown.  My eyes were complimentable blue, and I had a good smile.  I knew when I went out that I wasn't the prettiest girl in the club–but I also knew I could hold my own in someplace with a few shadows where the cocktails were reasonably priced." 

That's right. She went to a nightclub.

This bish has lost it.  I'm done.

Quite possibly one of the dumbest books I've ever read. I now understand why it took me a year and half to pick it up, and why I'm slowly giving up on the urban fantasy genre. The sad thing is that, concerning the genre, I would rather read another Laurell K Hamilton book than finish this. And according to a few reviews, it gets worst, as Edie decides to have sex with a zombie. 

So yeah. I totally can't wait to donate this book to my public library’s bookstore. Thank God I jumped this ship ahead of time and can move on.

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer gifs are not mine.  I don't know the owner, I just know the site in which I'll thankfully credit them.  HERE.

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