(Edie Spence #1)
Release: May 22, 2012
From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare.
Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond...
Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this ...
Vampires, werewolves, zombies, oh my! Nightshifted combines Grey's Anatomy with creatures of the night to create a fun urban fantasy.
Nightshifted is the story of main character Edie Spence as she becomes acclimated to her new life as a nurse in the secret ward for paranormal creatures at the county hospital. I felt like the author missed the mark a little with where she chose to start the story, right after Edie had joined the nursing staff. We didn't get to see her shock and awe over learning that these creatures and this world existed, but we also don't see her as a paranormal nurse pro. She is somewhere in between and its a bit of an awkward start - especially since Edie simply seems to not be very good at her job.
The Y4 floor caters to werewolves, vampires, daytime vampire servants who possess some vampiric qualities, humans that are vampire blood donors, shapeshifters, and zombies. You could replace each paranormal creature with a plain old human and this would read like a medical mystery novel, meaning that there is lots of realistic medical talk happening throughout the book. Since the author is actually a real-life nurse, the dialogue between nurses is very authentic and believable. Although I wondered why the doctor only made one nanosecond appearance in the whole book - wouldn't he be kind of important?
At the beginning of the story, Edie's carelessness leads to one of her patients dying - a daytime vampire servant who begs her to save someone named Anna before he dies. This starts Edie on a course of dangerous investigation and is the main plot in the story. A secondary plot that weaves itself into the story is the kind-of love triangle between Edie and two less-than-stellar love interests. The obvious choice should be apparent nice guy Ti, who happens to be a zombie firefighter. Despite the reasons why he is offered up as the 'nice guy', Ti is actually kind of a complicated character and I ended up disliking him as the story continued. Plus. . . . .he's a freaking zombie! He is similar to the ghouls in Frost's Night Huntress series, mostly appearing to be a normal human. Even after Ti does some very creepy and unacceptable things that Edie takes serious issue with, she still decides to stick with him (even when he is literally falling apart. . . . . eww). I just couldn't get behind him.
The other love interest is Asher. From the beginning I expected something mysterious to eventually be revealed about him. I wasn't that into his and Edie's initial interaction, as it made Edie look completely idiotic and slutty. She goes out to a club, meets Asher, takes him home after literally 5 minutes, and then has unprotected sex with him. Since this isn't some hot and heavy paranormal romance, I found this behavior really weird and seemingly out of character for Edie. Even with all that said, I am still leaning toward him for Edie. As we learn more about him, he still remains a bit shady and mysterious, but I started to like him much more.
Despite some character issues, the story itself is fun and fast-paced. Edie's search for Anna is interesting and some aspects of the take on vampires here are new and fresh. Anna herself is perhaps my favorite character in this book, fierce and innocent at the same time. She is kind of terrifying, but also equally lovable.
Overall I enjoyed this read, but I felt it was not without some flaws. I am intrigued by the world the author has created, however, and I think that this might have suffered a bit from first-book syndrome. I look forward to reading the next in the series to see where Edie is headed.
Recommended for fans of: light urban fantasy, medical dramas, paranormal creatures, dragon shifters, and fresh vampire myth.
This review is based on an advance copy of the book.