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I Belong

Review: Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander

Title: Nightshifted

Author: Cassie Alexander

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Edie Spence (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 22, 2012

Format: Paperback, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0312553390 (St. Martin’s Press)

ISBN-13: 978-0312553395 (St. Martin’s Press)

Reviewed by: Kristie


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 …

Quick & Dirty: Fantastic Urban Fantasy that sets up an entertaining new world with new twists on old classics.

Opening Sentence: “How can your liver be this good?” I stood outside Mr. November’s room, watching him stir restlessly.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Edie Spence is a nurse. Edie has made a deal with the Shadows to serve as a nurse to the Y4, a secret wing of the County Hospital that serves the supernatural, in order to help save her brother’s life. She loves her new job and the knowledge she has learned about what hides in the shadows. Mr. November is a patient under her care. He is restless and trying to give her a message. Unfortunately, her forgotten carelessness gets him killed. Since she blames herself for his death she decides to find the Anna that he struggled to tell her about before he died.

Edie’s search for Anna leads her deep into a terrible vampire underworld. She finds a young vampire girl who she believes to be Anna but she runs away. Edie is then blamed for a vampire death and she has been marked for death. Edie must find Anna again to clear her name. In the process, Edie meets a strange number of quirky characters, including a zombie and a dragon shapeshifter. The hospital is never boring while Edie is around.

Edie is not a dull lady and she definitely makes sketchy choices like going to places by herself that even cabbies don’t want to go to, having unprotected sex with a strange man (which turns into a syphilis scare!) and standing up to a crazy dragon. Edie’s choice in men is quite strange too, props to loving a man for who he is on the inside but something about making out with a zombie (even though he is basically whole and not falling apart) makes me a little squeamish.

I really enjoy the set up that Cassie Alexander has created for this world. The hospital parts are written in such a way that even morons like me can understand what is going on easily enough. Cassie’s experience with the nursing world really shows in the story. Although having a hospital for the supernatural when most of them already have super healing abilities seems redundant, but the use for the Y4 really makes sense in the context of this world. The vampire hierarchy is a little confusing but the information on all the other races that show up is quite plausible. I especially like what she has done with the zombie. The Shadows are also a frightening part of Edie’s world but they act as protectors to the hospital and the supernatural.

Edie does fall for the zombie, Ti, but I do think there is the possibility for a love triangle in this series. It is not very apparent in Nightshifted and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the next book Moonshifted. I don’t mind love triangles myself but beware to those readers who don’t really care for them.

Overall, Nightshifted is pretty action packed. The hospital parts may seem a little slow in the beginning but it is all about character development and understanding the decisions made later in the story. Nightshifted is a peculiar, fun and dark novel that is an amusing addition to the Urban Fantasy genre.

Notable Scene:

A heat-popped soda can spun in small circles near my foot, like a firework going out—the Shadows covered this in passing, and it disappeared. A sheet of them formed where the curtains darkened the floor, and I saw them merging on the walls in between the light strobes. A group of them started pooling in my shadow, and I grabbed for my badge instinctively. They ignored me, washing around me and through-underneath-over the bathroom door, which opened without a turning of the handle or a loosing of the lock, and pulled out one shell-shocked charge nurse and my two respiratorily compromised patients. They appeared frozen in time and space, stiff like mannequins, hoisted into the middle of the room on a wave of black. The fire-alarm light stopped and the sprinklers ceased. I watched while all around me they washed over every surface, cleaning it, like demented fairies from a children’s tale, where the price of clean dishes and fresh linen was blood. I didn’t know what they did to the dragon’s remains—did they incinerate it? Eat it? But the hole in the wall sealed up after their passage, and a reunited mattress emerged from underneath a separate slick of black. They replaced Shawn and the baby in their respective beds, and surged the charge nurse out-through-between the closed glass doors back to the desk outside. I peeked at the clock, half expecting them to wind back time too. And then they were done, except for—

“Oh, no—“ I backed away from the pool of them growing at my feet. But I was the last thing that needed to be cleaned. I gasped as they lapped up, colder than ice, crawling down inside my socks, rolling up against my skin beneath my scrubs, to pull themselves toward my scalp, submerging me completely in their dark.

In a second I was nowhere. I was no one. No—I was me, but I was suddenly aware of how inconsequential being me was. I didn’t matter, nothing I would do would ever matter, I would eat, breathe, and shit just like everything else on this planet, but nothing would ever have a consequence. I was worthless, my small life utterly bereft of meaning, and when I died, I would die alone. I gasped like I’d been punched in the stomach, and then they began to let me go.

Edie Spence:

1. Nightshifted

2. Moonshifted (November 27, 2012)

FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Nightshifted. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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