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The Reality of Kismet: 'Night Shift' by Lilith Saintcrow

Lilith Saintcrow
Lilith Saintcrow

Night Shift By Lilith Saintcrow

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Lilith Saintcrow is the quintessential urban/ alternative reality fantasy writer. Night Shift is written in first person through the protagonist Jill Kismet. In some ways this helps the story, in others it’s somewhat detrimental. Generally for a reader this style is better understood but would be a lot more flexible in a third person point of view. Because of the point of view, the author is forced to use flashbacks for certain points of exposition which kind of slows the story down. The author should have put this story down in third person limited so that the narrator is able to jump smoothly from event to event and character to character without revealing plot twists to the reader making it a little less choppy in the exposition sequences. On the other hand, the first person point of view allows more emotion and connection with the protagonist.

The book starts in a flashback sequence, not a great choice for this story since the reader has no idea who this protagonist is and what the stakes are as she makes this Faustian deal. That exposition could have been done after Jill goes to the Monde and could probably have been done without reverting to a flashback. Another problem with the point of view the author uses is that she doesn't USE it. The reader can find it hard to follow the protagonist’s emotional ride and progression in some places.

Saintcrow tells a unique story in a unique way and has a very definitive style. She easily works in lingo for hunters, secondary characters, and the alternative reality as she works through the supernatural mystery her protagonist is pulled into.

Night Shift is a fast-paced, action rich modern fantasy with a pretty basic linear plot structure thanks primarily to the point of view, with the exception of the flashbacks of course. Saintcrow, like any other writer, has her own style of expression. In first person, Night Shift has a rough-and-tumble feel to it which matches the character perfectly, but some of the descriptive and exposition scenes are repetitive in wording and structure, although Saintcrow tends to overuse a number of adjectives in the same sentence structure, making much of her description and exposition seem redundant at times. If you like urban fantasy this book is definitely for you but it can be hard to follow at times due to the non-linear stream of consciousness point of view and flashbacks.

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