Author: Lauren M. Roy
Series: Night Owls, #1
Published: February 25th 2014
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perkValerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors
I always have high hopes when I start a new urban fantasy series. Nothing makes me happier than a good book within my favorite genre so I’ve always been willing to dig very deep in order to find one. Thankfully, Night Owls was well worth the time it took to read it, and then some. That’s not to say that it was free of flaws, but there was a lot to admire, especially for a series opener.
There are two types of supernatural creatures in this world: Jackals or Creeps, vicious, bloodthirsty killing machines, and vampires like Val. Val herself was a Hunter for many years. Her job was to find Jackals and kill them just as mercilessly as they killed humans everywhere. After a massacre only she survived, Val left hunting to other vampires and opened a small bookstore that she runs with the help of her Renfield, Chaz.
Flawed or not, Night Owls is a valiant attempt to introduce some changes into the urban fantasy genre. The first is a notable absence of romance, which takes us back to the early days of UF and its very roots. Secondly, the third person multiple perspectives narrative, by definition foreign to this genre and not at all well suited for it. The first attempt can easily be described as praiseworthy and mostly successful. The absence of romantic entanglements between the five core characters allowed other, some would say more important storylines to stand out and kept the focus exactly where it’s supposed to be – on the main plot. The narrative mode, however wasn’t nearly as successful, and this is where the lack of romance did some serious harm. With no couple to get emotionally invested in, the distance between reader and character, created by the author’s choice of narrative mode,
For all the novelty it brings in structure, Night School is thematically old school urban fantasy, my very favorite kind. We have a decent mythology-based world, excellent protagonists and plenty of action to keep us entertained. While there’s no romance to speak of, it is by no means an emotionally empty book. Quite the contrary: these characters give us plenty to worry about.
All things considered, Night Owls is an exciting start to what promises to be a great new urban fantasy series. Book 2 hasn’t been announced yet, but I hope we’ll have a release date soon.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.