Monday, 18 June 2007

Moonshine by Rob Thurman

Following the events in the previous book Nightlife, Niko and Cal have settled down in New York City. In partnership with Promise, they now have their own investigative/security firm and are about to be thrust into the world of the Kin (the supernatural/werewolf mafia).

Once again the story is told by Cal, the younger half human / half 'monster' brother, who turns his cynical eye on both himself and those around him. As with Nightlife I found the story slowly draws you in without you being aware of it. After a slightly awkward start (where the events of the previous book are recapped) you're pulled back into the world of the Leandros brothers. It is still the relationship between the siblings and their friends (and enemies) that make this series such a joy to read. Rob Thurman has a great knack for making her characters come alive on the page.

I feel that Moonshine is an improvement over Nightlife. Cal as a character works much better when he is interacting with others, and thankfully there is no unavoidable change in his behaviour in this book. There is one part where he goes undercover on his own and I remember thinking I hope he's not going to get kidnapped. I've come to the conclusion that it's Kushiel syndrome, whereby I like the other characters more than the protagonist. BUT I like to see them as described by and interacting with said protagonist.

We get to see much more of Cal and Niko’s relationship and how they were (and still are) affected by the Auphe. (Trying to keep this relatively spoiler free). The fallout from Nightlife is dealt with and somewhat resolved. We're introduced to Flay (a werewolf) who although his story is pretty much concluded here I hope we might bump into again.

Robin Goodfellow has a much larger part in this book, which I was very happy about. His quickfire wit and sarcastic humor make the dialogue sparkle whenever he is present on the page. His unrequited yearning for Niko is beautifully written. Hopefully he will continue to play a major part in the series. Promise and George also return, and their deepening relationships with the brothers are one of the main threads of the story. Rafferty (the healer from Nightlife) is mentioned very briefly, and I hope this intriguing snippet will be followed up in a forthcoming book.

Having said that Robin is witty. Niko has my favourite lines in the book. The spoilerless one from p289 - "Let's focus on one life threatening disaster at a time. Multi-tasking at this level of catastrophe isn't quite feasible." The other is on page 335. :)

This book even more than Nightlife makes you think about what a monster is. Cal - half monster, Niko - prepared to do monstrous things to save his brother, Flay the werewolf (and various other nasties) - monsters on the outside - but should we always judge the book by the cover? Maybe we all have a monster inside of us - except George.

Book 3 release March 2008 (subject to change)


jepad said...

Isn't Robin great? I get such a kick out of those unabashedly and humorously narcissistic characters. It's a tough character to pull off, but Rob does is perfectly. Robin has depth, though he does try to hide it.

I think that one of the future books will focus on him. And we'll be getting stuff from Nico's POV in the future.

I agree that this books was even better than Nightlife. I think Rob does a fantastic job of showing a real relationship between brothers, melding the affection with the sniping.

I was wondering if you ever felt like Nico was a little TOO perfect? Also, I'm not thrilled with the whole Nico and vamp-chick (Promise?). Maybe cause I'm not feeling the love there...or even the mild interest between those two.

jepad said...

Damn, mispelled Niko. Ah, well.

I think RT mentioned that Rafferty would play a larger part in the future. Doesn't he have some brother/cousin? who is stuck in a dog form? That sounded like it was the setup for some fascinating story.

LesleyW said...

In Nightlife we meet Rafferty and his brother/cousin Catcher who's a wolf. He only gets a passing mention in Moonshine, about how he's (Rafferty)looking for a cure.

I actually like Niko and Promise, maybe because they both seem to have this almost Zen quality to them. With Niko it's innate, with Promise it probably comes from being hundreds of years old. But it's a doomed relationship, as I think it's made clear that vampires (and other supernaturals) are born not made.

Speculation follows :) - I think as long as Cal is narrating we'll have Niko as perfect because I think that's how he sees his brother. Cal has to have faith in something, and that's Niko. It would have been interesting to be with Niko during Nightlife after Cal was taken.

jepad said...

It would have been interesting to be with Niko during Nightlife after Cal was taken.

I agree. I think that Niko was as close to falling apart as he'd ever been when Cal was gone. I imagine Robin saw Niko stripped bare (figuratively not literally). Although I'm sure RObin would've LOVED to see Niko literally stripped bare. Randy puck.

Promise just isn't doing anything for me. Maybe it's because we've seen so little of her. She just seems this serene creature. It's hard to believe she cares for Niko at all.

I guess I'm hoping Niko ends up with someone else.

I'm very much looking forward to Cal and George. Their relationship was wonderfully done. Cal is a bit condescending to her at times, but you can see it's done to create an artificial distance. I think that George would be good for Cal.

What's really great about the brothers is how much they would willingly sacrifice for each other. You get the impression that they have this really deep bond. And they'd sacrifice anything to make the other one happy. But it doesn't come across as anything wierdly co-dependent.

Crys said...

I would love to read that book... but I couldn't find Nightlife anywhere, and I didn't want to start on the second book. I guess I'll just have to go on looking...

LesleyW said...

Keep your eyes open Crys, it's one of the better urban fantasy series out there at the moment.