Nightshifted (Edie Spence #1) by Cassie Alexander
Publisher: St. Martins Press/May 22nd, 2012
Kind thanks to St. Martins Press for providing a review copy
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…
Nurse Edie Spence is having a bad day. She’s assigned to unit Y4 at county hospital, and manages to obliterate a vampire servant (daytimer) by accident, getting bit in the hand in the process. He whispers the name Anna before he expires, and with the name, and his watch in hand, she’s off to find the mysterious Anna. What Edie finds is horrifying, evidence of a slavery ring involving vampires, torture, and worse. When she does finally manage to find and free Anna, she realizes she may be in over her head. Anna is not only a vampire, she’s much more. Just how much more Edie doesn’t know, but she’ll lead her down a dangerous path, and there’s no turning back. Edie needs Anna to testify on her behalf at a vampire tribunal for any chance of survival, but keeping track of the little vampire is a monumental task all its own.
I loved this book. What a breath of fresh air! You may think from the cover that it might be a semi-light urban romance. Not so. In fact, in many ways it’s darker then a lot of UF out there right now. Edie isn’t a happy go lucky girl. In fact, she’s got a brother who’s a junkie, and the Shadows (the denizens that keep Y4 in check) have her over a barrel. She works on Y4 and in return, they keep her brother clean. She’s afraid of making any real connections with anyone and unwinds by going to clubs to dance and bring home one-night stands. And Edie is very, very lonely. I think the diminutive Anna (she appears to be a nine year old girl), brings out a protective side in Edie, and her determination to protect her was endearing, especially since Anna isn’t exactly what you’d call “cuddly”. She’s very much “other”, as are all vampires in Cassie Alexander’s world. Nightshifted is a unique, fascinating trip into Edie’s world. Not only is the worldbuilding different, but I really enjoyed the nursing aspects as well (Cassie Alexander is a nurse, so she knows her stuff.) The book is filled with fascinating characters, including an enigmatic zombie firefighter (no rotting shambler here), which Edie finds herself increasingly drawn to, weres, shapeshifters, and of course, vampires. A memorable scene with a STD afflicted dragon (yup) had me on the edge of my seat, the budding romance with Ti (zombie firefighter!) is sweet and tender, and I just plain loved hanging out with Edie. Nightshifted is a very strong start to what promises to be a wonderful new series!