28 Oct '11

Nix Review – Nightingale by Ashley Christman

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Dr Grace Caldwell is a Sidhe-Vampire hybrid, who spends her evenings as a high class prostitute. Occasionally, her ex-college room-mate, and now full time FBI agent, Jack consults her on cases that have paranormal links. When a rash of murders occurs, that no one can link together, Jack takes a punt and calls on Grace to use her powers to see if she can find anything they have missed (well more blackmails her into it!) Immediately she notices the spells and the link between the female victims; they are all female Sidhe. She uses her connections to the supernatural world to help Jack trawl through the myriad of political minefields that the case uncovers. Unfortunately, she thrusts herself back into the spotlight of a world that has never quite accepted her, always fearing what she is.  When they start to make demands of her that she is unwilling to meet, things start to get a little hairy for both her and Jack. Meanwhile the case seems to point towards a more powerful culprit than either of them could have imagined. Will they survive?

This book had the potential to be absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, I felt that, for its length, there was just too much going on. I couldn’t quite gel with the characters because I was too busy trying to keep up with the twists and turns of the tale. It really pains me to say it, but this book took far too much energy for me to enjoy it fully.

I really enjoyed the world that the author built. Sidhe and vampires are known about but not really understood. Grace is an anomaly to all as she is the only one of her kind. Vampires are supposed to be infertile, yet her parents managed to conceive. Prophecy had foretold her existence and now the council see her as a threat to their society in general. Because of this she has been shunned by most of her society and lives on the outskirts. She chooses to be a prostitute as, for someone of her heritage, it’s a very lucrative business. I enjoyed her general snarkiness and strength of character but I don’t feel that I grew to love her. Again, this is because I saw her flit from situation to situation, without ever really engaging in any one fully.

Grace and Jack’s relationship was the oddest part of the tale. It’s clear that they had feelings for each other, and a history, yet I didn’t feel anything towards them as a couple. There is no resolution to their situation and I do hope there is a second book as, for people who will enjoy this book, there is a lot that needs to be tied up. There are moments when I felt they could get together but, as quickly as these feelings in them rise to the surface, they seem to fade and they end up with different people (who I didn’t care one iota about as they were pointless to the story, only serving as dates for our two leads), seemingly forgetting the situation between them. It was unsatisfying for me. I don’t feel I know Jack at all. He had a severe change of situation during the book, but I don’t feel that I know how he dealt with it. Again, I was left unsatisfied.

A promising premise that didn’t quite pay off for me. With no real central romance to speak of, I struggled to grasp hold of a part of the story to keep me engaged.



Nix

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