"There are a lot of truths in this world. When it rains it pours. It's always darkest before the dawn. He who smelt it dealt it." Kind of a funny quote by Cal/Darkling thingie, right? For me, it just about sums up everything I like (not much) and dislike (lots) about "Nightlife". The former frat boy in me laughs when familiar low brow sayings like "he who smelt it dealt it" come up. An oldie but a goodie! The key is to use fart jokes and other snark sparingly, making it stand out as a funny moment. Thurman over-snarks by a long shot in "Nightlife".
In Thurman's defense, the snark fest does add color and definition to the relationship between brothers Cal and Niko. I loved the closeness between the two, and how they were willing to put themselves at risk to protect the other. The snark could have been toned down, however. For the most part, the not-so-witty rapport served as filler, which might explain why "Nightlife" takes so long to get started. The first 200 pages are slow! Then all of a sudden, a friend is brutally murdered by "Grendels" (I do love the shout out to "Beowulf"), a Darkling/male banshee occupies Cal, the pov shifts awkwardly from Cal to banshee boy, and the story finally picks up some momentum - sort of. The best that can be said of the action is that it comes clumsily in fits and starts.
Then there's Niko, a high fantasy character in a paranormal/urban fantasy story. Niko's too perfect, as if Fabio and Legolas had a baby. Granted, he's suited for lovey-poo with the equally porcelain Promise, but the story calls for more grime under Niko's nails. Maybe Rob Thurman, doing her best George Eliot or Ellis Peters impression by writing under a masculine name, believes Niko to be an archetype of the ideal romantic hero? I'm not sure. I do know that Niko's Felix Unger to Cal's Oscar Madison doesn't work well for me.
With all of this said against "Nightlife", I'm likely to give the second book in the Cal Leandros series a try. Thurman showed great imagination in her vivid descriptions of the Brooklyn Bridge troll, the Darkling, and Auphes. My hope is that, with the first-book-in-a-series syndrome behind her, Thurman's story will leave preliminaries behind and take off with the "action-packed" speed promised on her website.