JPerceval's Reviews > Roadkill

Roadkill by Rob Thurman
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Mar 17, 12

bookshelves: contemporary-fantasy, favorites
Read from February 13 to 21, 2012

This is an edited version of the (4.5 star, incidentally) review at my blog. You can read the full review here.

This is Cal and Niko and all the crew in top form, on the road trip from Hell. Fresh off their last job, where an illusion talent really messed with Niko's mind, making him think that Cal was dead, the brothers are working on finding their groove again when one of their worst nightmares comes a-calling. Abelia-Roo, an ancient Gypsy queen who claims distant kinship to Niko (but considers Cal an abomination) yet had no qualms about sending him to certain death (see Moonshine), is back, and wants to employ the brothers. She and her clan have been the guardians of a coffin containing Suyolak, a gypsy healer gone bad known as the Plague of the World, and that coffin has been stolen. If they don't find the coffin and/or contain Suyolak, it's Armageddon time.

Meanwhile, Cal's "werewolf with benefits," Delilah, has been given an ultimatum by her pack leader: kill Cal or deliver him to be killed by the pack, or die herself. And yet, when Cal, Niko, Robin, and his mummified pet cat Salome (the latter two provide much needed dark humor for the horror in this book) set out in pursuit of Suyolak, Cal invites Delilah along for the ride, arguing with Niko that he'd rather keep a potential assassin where he can see her, and no, the sex has nothing to do with it (sure). On top of everything else, Cal is "traveling" at will, forming gates in space-time the way the Auphe did to get from one place to another. Cal argues that because it feels good, it's OK; Niko counters that because it feels good and it's from the Auphe, it can't be trusted.

The final players in the drama are Rafferty, the shifter healer Cal and Niko befriended years ago, and his cousin Catcher, a shifter permanently stuck in wolf form from when Rafferty healed his leukemia. Rafferty, as a healer, is their secret weapon against Suyolak, but he has his own reasons for helping: he's sure Suyolak has the knowledge to cure his cousin, and he's determined to get it, whatever the cost.

So this strange caravan pursues Suyolak cross-country on a roller-coaster ride of the damned, dodging plagues and monstrous creatures and mind games. It's an adventure I simply couldn't put down, with so many twists and turns in both the plot and interpersonal relationships. Niko trying to let Cal be an adult, but Cal becoming less human while desperately trying to hold onto his humanity...and on the other end of the spectrum, Rafferty is trying to reclaim Catcher for humanity when all Catcher wants to do is let his last bit of humanity go and live as a wolf. The cousins are an interesting metaphorical foil for the brothers: will Niko have to let Cal go "wild," and will he choose to follow, or will he destroy his own brother? It's up to future books to find out, and I have both Blackout and the latest, Doubletake, in my TBR.

Roadkill did not disappoint on the dark and twisted. I can always count on Rob Thurman for this, and if you like your fantasy gritty with really seriously dark humor, you can do no better than the Leandros boys.
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Reading Progress

02/13/2012 page 35
10.0% "Snarky, snarky Cal. How have I lived without you?"
02/15/2012 page 136
39.0% "My new favorite Cal saying: "Who is fucking with my Zen?""
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