By: Rob Thurman
Published by: ROC Penguin Group
Number of Pages: 339
Source: Half-Price books
Reason for Reading: Recommended
Rating: A++ and then some
Several people who know my reading tastes recommended this series to me about Cal Leandros and his brother Niko. Boy, did they have me pegged. I love this book! And yay me, there are seven more I get to devour.
So Caliban Leandros is the offspring between a gypsy mother and demon-esque monster of nightmares they dubbed the Grendels. Cal’s been spawned specifically by the monsters for a purpose the brothers haven’t figured out, but have been running from their entire lives. When the Grendels take Cal to fulfill that purpose, the plot hits the fan in an ingeniously simple destroy-the-entire-over-populated-human- race ploy.
Aside from the action that clocks in at light-speed, the characterization and narrative voice shines. Cal is snarky, witty, and has a hard time not thinking of himself as a monster, except for the unwavering redeeming belief of his sword wielding, martial arts expert, older brother Niko who grounds him in his humanity. The relationship between brothers is spot on—leaping in front of monsters while calling each other a-holes in the same breath. They leave the touchy-feely talk outside the door, yet know exactly that each would do whatever it takes to save the other. And that unique brotherly bond is tested to its full endurance in this one.
Don’t even get me started on the secondary cast of characters. An ethereal psychic Cal is crazy for, but deems himself unworthy to get near, a sludge monster chowing down on muggers in Central Park, a noble vampire black widow, and a millennia-old scene-stealing Puck who is as hilariously annoying as he is amorous, yet lonely as only a long-lived monster hiding among humans as a car-salesman could be.
This book isn’t just character-driven. It’s character-rocketed. The plot could be as dull as mud (it isn’t) and I’d still read the rest of the series just to hang out with the characters and their wit and interactions.
Good times. Bravo and applause. Rob Thurman just catapulted to the top of my favorite authors list.