In a nightmarish new york city, life is there for the taking...
Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko are hired by the vampire Seamus to find out who has been following him - until Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead). Worse still is the return of Cal's nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, they were almost wiped out. Now, the Auphe want revenge. But first, they'll destroy everything Cal holds dear...
I don't often throw around the term Book Crack. But this series, friends, is the Crackiest of Book Crack. It is so astoundingly addictive that I could, if uninteruppted by fellow human beings, read all five in no less then several hours. There is personality, there is wit, there is humer, there is action, there is brotherly affection, damnit! Ya'll know I'm a sucker for a good brotherly moment.
caution! spoilers lie ahead! DO NOT START WHINING IF YOU HAVE BEEN SPOILED.
Alright, so here's the deal: we got Cal and Niko and Robin and Promise, fresh off their semi-total annialation of the Auphe race. I say semi because there are less then twenty of these suckers left. But twentys enough, obviously, or else we wouldn't have much of a plot. Okay, okay. So there's this whole deal that "we'll kill all ya'll and make Cal watch" schtick that leads to some mighty fine angst. Not to mention the fact that our boy soon realizes that all the remaining Auphe seem to be female. You all know where this is going.
And if THAT weren't enough to send a normal person into a fetal position, Promise's old flame hires out the boys to find out who exactly is stalking him, much to the dismay of Niko (and, I mean, come on--Niko is never dismayed). Not to mention Cherish, Promise's estranged and well-kept secret daughter, calls on them to protect her against an immortal hunter whos pissed that she stole an expensive necklace from him and then sold it off.
A notable aspect is that the story is no longer told completly in Cal's POV. Which, by the way, is pretty indistinguishable considering there are very few differences between Cal's thought-stream and Niko's. Maybe Niko has a larger vocabulary. Anyway.
I'm not sure I was into it. I mean, I like Niko, and I get why we needed more of his perspective plot wise. But he's so...black and white. Its mentioned several dozen times he's the most honorable sonuvabitch out there, which is great and all, but it makes for some pretty boring interludes. One of the main attraction to these books is Cal's biting, cynical narrative, and Niko is just so...not boring, but he just kind of obssesses over Cal and talks about how much he lurves yoga and crap. The highlights of his POV is when he's talking to Cal. No offense. I like the Protective Big Brother angle as much as the next girl, but seriously.
Back to the reason I read this series--Cal (and Robin, at a close second). Cal is just as he was in Nightlife, Moonshine and Madhouse; witty, dry, world-weary, a tad repetitive and mad as hell. He's back, mainly recapping and spitting out quick retorts to most everyone. Not to mention the fact that he's still a tad insecure about the whole half-monster thing. Oh, and he loves guns. Yeah, on the screen it may seem as though there is very little character development going on. In fact, thats what I thought at first, too. And maybe I'm just diluded with love, but I think there really is something going on under the surface. We get more of the relationship between Cal and Niko, how much they really would die for and without each other. And, really, who needs character development when you have that type of baggage?
As for the other characters, they all play relative second-bannana beside the Leandros, even Promise (who you'd think would be front and center). Robin is, as usual, a sexual fiend who can't go five seconds without bringing up one of his many conquest (not that I'm complaining). Cherish is a bitch, George (in her one effing scene!? come on, Thurman!) is troubled and psychic, blah blah blah. All entertaining but, again, so tragically not-present.
Plot-wise is where Deathwish particularly fails. It made no sense. I was kind of reminded of the first book, when Darkeling possesses Cal but you couldn't really tell until like twenty pages later. Everything just mixed together so quickly and so abruptly it left my head spinning. Not to mention how much time they took away from the plot with, for the seventeenth time, how much Cal and Niko lurve each other. FOR GOD'S SAKE, WE GET IT. I know its the foundation of everything, but really. Get on with the plot and save it for when one of you is dying in an alley or something. Less is more, my friend.
I'm going to say that Deathwish was, by far, one of the lowest points in the Leandros series. Not that it will stop me from reading the shit out of Roadkill, but still. All I got out of this one is that Cal and Niko have a slight codependency issue. Nothing new.
Rating: 6 out of 10--and praying things improve with Roadkill, because I really do love these guys.