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Monday, March 31, 2014

“Night Owls” by Lauren M. Roy (Reviewed by Casey Blair)

Order “Night OwlsHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy is the first volume of a new urban fantasy series from Ace. The synopsis had me at bookstore employees fighting supernatural problems.

Roy gives us the familiarity of favorite urban fantasy tropes and twists them just enough to make them feel new. And while we're all familiar with vampires by this point, how the author fits them into her world is unexpected, and the structure of the underground magical world itself is completely innovative.  In this world, human magic, their organizations and systems, how they tie to vampires and other creatures, and the role of vampires themselves within this “community” are all treading new and interesting world-building ground.

There are badass characters of all types who have mundane problems just like the rest of us. Roy puts together a powerful supernatural team to pit against villains who are up to the challenge. The antagonists are actually one of my favorite parts of this book, because the author complicates them: they're not just evil, they have goals and motivations of their own. When the heroes are doing things, the villains are not just loitering around waiting for them.

And the heroes are doing things too. They flounder, but they are making choices and acting on them, constantly, not just reacting to events.

Night Owls doesn’t just focus on the magic and how it works. Magic is present, of course, but it's not about magic. If anything, it focuses on the characters' relationships, and those drive and shape the events of the book. It's in the little bits: I loved seeing a vampire scramble to tidy her house and set a proper tea; I loved the lesbian succubi couple who are equal parts glorious and hilarious but not focused on tempting people to their doom; I loved the emphasis on friendship over romance, between wizards, between magical and nonmagical, between old relationships and new ones.

Lauren M. Roy tied all these threads together perfectly, and I can't wait to see what these characters do together next.


Sarrie said...

I had a great time out of this one too. You hit it spot on, they are supernatural and kickers but seeing them handle the mundane as well just makes them believable.

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