Night Shift (Jill Kismet #1) by Lilith Saintcrow
Librarything / Goodreads

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 416

Summary: Not everyone can take on the things that go bump in the night.

Not everyone tries.

But Jill Kismet is not just anyone.

She’s a Hunter, trained by the best – and in over her head.

Welcome to the night shift…

Thoughts: I picked up Night Shift on the strength of Lili’s YA series, Strange Angels.  And while they are obviously written by the same author, I couldn’t quite get a grip on her Jill Kismet series.

This is dark urban fantasy, reminding me on the early Anita Blake books: complete with sexual violence, psychological violence, demonic violence, and, er, violent violence.  Not at all cheery.  As far as I remember, there are no laugh breaks and no light moments – and they would have felt forced if they’d been included.  As for Jill, she’s just as dark and twisty as the verse. She’ll need about 100+ years of therapy before being allowed into regular society.  But Jill’s also tough, kick-ass, and extremely independent; this is a woman who jumps straight into the fight.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Well, it should.  Night Shift is an a-typical Urban Fantasy book.  Almost every trope you’ve ever read is included… but the way it’s been written makes it all seem rather new.  Let’s be honest here, people.  As much as we like “a fresh take on urban fantasy”, there’s something to be said for a decent take on the bog-standard.  And, well, Night Shift is just that.

So, if I liked the tropes and the dark-twisty characters, why aren’t I giving this book more stars?

The short answer: emotion.  The long answer: the lack of emotion. We spend the entire novel hearing about Jill’s painful loss of her mentor Mikhail (who I thought was a total creep) and her terrible fear of Perry-the-demon (who wasn’t all that scary) – all through her extremely snarky and self-deprecating inner-voice.  And despite this – or maybe because of this – absolutely none of her emotions seemed real.  I didn’t “get” her, nor was I particularly keen to.

Bottom line?  Night Shift is a solid urban fantasy novel, but I’d only recommend it to die-hard fans.  That said, I’ll probably continue the series as I think Jill just needs to grow on me!

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