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(Cal Leandros #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  12,971 ratings  ·  884 reviews
There are monsters among us. There always have been and there always will be. I’ve known that since I can remember, just like I’ve always known I was one ... Well, half of one, anyway.

Welcome to New York City - a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side. Most humans are oblivious to the preter
Mass Market Paperback, Roc, 339 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Penguin
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Reanne There are two M/F love interest pairs and minor M/M unrequited interest and one-sided flirting of both the M/F and M/M variety, but it's not a major p…moreThere are two M/F love interest pairs and minor M/M unrequited interest and one-sided flirting of both the M/F and M/M variety, but it's not a major part of the story. At one point off-screen sex is implied, but in book 2 it's clarified that it didn't actually take place.(less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

DNF at 39%. Because there's only so much boredom I can take.

Oh, I know exactly what you're thinking here: "Oh, look! A new addition to Sarah's DNF graveyard! Surprise, surprise!"

Well I am sorry to disappoint you but this is not yet another case of "Sarah has less patience than a rabid rabbit in heat." No it's not. Of all the delightfully dysfunctional Freaks that buddy read this book with me, at least three DNFed is as well. Ha! Didn't expect that, did you now? Point made. Moving on and stuff.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
Reread completed in the month of August 2020 on audiobook.
I definitely recommend listening to the audiobook. The narrator is great. He nails all the characters, from the cynical, yet paradoxically whistful voice of Cal, to the composed, Zen, fiercely protective Niko, to the wonderful secondary character, and that awful voice of the Auphe. This is still one of my favorite urban fantasy novels. I'm excited to keep listening to these on audiobook.


I lov
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh, blog
I have come to the conclusion that I should not buy urban fantasy books that were first published as mass market paperbacks. I can only assume it's the publishing world's version of "straight to DVD" or a SyFy original movie.

Nightlife isn't terrible, but it isn't great. It's been-there-done-that territory for me and just wasn't worth my time. The plot is somewhat original: The Auphe (apparently another name for elves) need a human/Auphe child to help them open a gate to the past. The problem? A
Aug 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Leandros fans, urban fantasy fans
Thurman's Leandros series tends to be very dark, both in world view and in the voice of the sardonic, damaged narrator, Cal. It's one way the book distinguishes itself from it's UF brethren, but also inhibits me from issuing a ringing endorsement. I can only take so much of the sarcastic, callous, lazy narrator before my inner drill sergeant is tempted to provide a swift kick in the narrative.

One of the most interesting things about the series is that the relationship between the brothers is a
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
3 Stars

When a group of friends on Goodreads decided to read this book, I thought it sounded like a great idea and joined in. This book was an okay read for me. It had some really strong moments that I loved. It also had some moments that I thought were more than a little boring. The beginning of the book was absolutely fantastic and I just knew that I was going to love this series. Unfortunately, the book as a whole did not live up to those opening scenes. I have been really torn about how to ra
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was ok
It's an interesting world, with lots of possibilities, but I definitely got a 'first novel' vibe. A bit clunky in places (esp. in the middle, when there's a kind of POV shift of sorts), and the narrator was annoying an asshole at times (though he is 19, so that could be on purpose). The brotherly interaction has a touch of Sam n' Dean, so SPN fans might dig it.

There was just a little too much, if you know what I mean. Does the older brother have to have long luxurious locks AND be awesome with s
Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm listing this book because I believe that guys who want less vagina in their Urban Fantasy would enjoy this. I wasn't sucked in, but it was pretty good. I do think that others might be and that's why I'm listing it!

If you like Jim Butcher then read the blurb and decide!
3.5 stars

Quick and dirty review: Pretty good... It dragged a bit in the middle, and was a bit too repetitive with the whole "woe is me; I'm a monster" thing... but it was dark and different from other urban fantasy that I've read, and I liked it for that.

One thing that I really enjoyed was the humor, and I loved the interaction between Cal and Niko, and Niko and Robin as well. Niko is a bit too straightlaced and too perfect at everything, but he makes for a great straight man to play off of.

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

“What're you still doing up? You know all good little ninjas should be in bed, visions of homicidal sugarplums dancing in their heads.”

Urban Fantasies told through a male point of view aren't that common. There are a few out there but they're in the minority. This one's a brother team with Cal, being the younger brother, and Niko, the older, stronger, and more disciplined one. They both grew up with a horrible mother and no father, and Niko, in college, did what he could to protect and guar
Oct 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dresden Files fans
I think I've found my next favorite series. I LOVED the sarcastic humor, the well-imagined fantasy creatures, the relationships among characters, and the plot. (I didn't see the plot twists coming.) If you're a fan of Harry Dresden, you might like this series - it satisfied the same literary craving as the Dresden files from my perspective.

Basic storyline: Cal is half demon/Auphe/Grendel - whatever you want to call it. His mom got paid to give birth to him. (His mom was a drunk and a whore.) Cal
I'd seen Grendels before, more times than I could count, but never like this. Never so close I could see the naked greed in the eyes, the poreless texture of the skin, hear the utterly alien whisper.
Jesus Christ, my mom had fucked that?

This was the first paragraph of this book that I read as I was randomly flipping through it at the bookstore and I pretty much immediately knew I had to buy it. About twelve years and innumerable reads later and this is still one of my favorite series [eclipsed p
Mike (the Paladin)
These are pretty good. A cut above some of the Urban fantasy out there. It does have one of my pet peeves however...a vampire romantic interest, ugh. I'm so sick of "friendly", "tragic", "misunderstood", and "romantic" vampires. As I've observed elsewhere...what if after you've fallen asleep from a wonderful and long session of lovemaking, she feels like she needs a snack?

Think about it.

The story here while not completely original (I mean what story is?) this is a pretty original take on it. Ca
I really liked this one! This is the first book I've read in the genre with a male main character so it was a nice change of pace.

Cal is half-grendal (elf/auphe). He was abducted by the grendals when he was younger and managed to escape. Since then he and his brother Niko have been on the run, always trying to stay one step ahead of the grendels. But Cal is tired of running and wants to find out more about his connection to the grendals.

I love Cal's sarcasm, I think that anyone who's half some
Apr 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
DNF. I just can't anymore with this book. I got through 11% and I was just so bored. Maybe it picks up but if you can't draw me in by now then I can't be bothered to continue. Too many books, too little time. ...more
Dec 21, 2014 marked it as zzz-books-not-for-me
Stopped at 40%
Read from February 18 to 20, 2015

What I liked:
-The overly-protective bad-ass elder brother
-The protagonist being a half-dark-"elf", hunted by the evil side of his family.
-The dark atmosphere, the urban setting and the creatures living in popular New York landmarks.
-The relationship between the two brothers

Why I stopped reading:
-Story wasn't progressing fast enough for me
-Cal, the main hero, is too cynical and sarcastic, which I don't mind, but mix it with immaturity and lame commen
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Wow. I was looking for a new urban fantasy series to supplement my Dresden Files addiction and I sure found it. They aren't the same by any means but this series gives me everything I want: intensity, drama, biting humor, creativity, believable characters, villains to hate, heroes to love and worry about, unusual creatures and foes, powerful yet vulnerable protagonists, etc. etc. Add in two brothers who live to protect each other and I've also got a series to help me while I wait for the next se ...more
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In 'Nightlife' the main character is Caliban (Cal) Leandros and his half brother Niko. They share the same human mother, however Caliban has a Grendel for a father. Grendel is what the brothers call the monsters. And Caliban's father's specific breed of monster is elf. These elves are not pretty and serene in the Lord of the Rings kind of way. They're scary, violent, and have been watching Cal all his life. Several years ago the Grendels finally made a move and kidnapped Caliban and killed their ...more
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mel by: Tara
A good start to a new UF series. This one is about two brothers, Cal and Niko, who have lived a life on the run, trying to escape the ghost… or better: monsters from their past. But the monsters have caught up with them.

My biggest problem was that I didn’t understand why the Big Bad was/were so bad. We were told the Grendels were horrible but we hardly witnessed, why.
The Grendels and Darkling felt a little cardboard. Or like a James Bond antogonist who is bad, but you don't really know why. Bec
Shera (Book Whispers)
Genre: Urban Fantasy

It has been such a long time that I've read a book and at the end want to obsessively stroke the cover. This was one of those books, it pretty much had me going all Gollum after the last page turned. Considering this was a reread for me, even better.

One of the main things that I love about Nightlife is the running dialogue. If you've ever watched an episode of Gilmore Girls (not that the two have anything in common story wise) you can appreciate witty conversation. N
Elaine Howlin
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OK.... There's a great story in there but as it is it wasn't working for me.

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Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
It started out ok. Thurman has an interesting take on the Dark Elves and his world of trolls and boggles and a Puck is quite inventive. I was even ready to chomp into the relationship between the brothers Cal and Niko as that seemed so different than the other urban fantasy books I have read. However, the book is disappointing and I ended up skimming through to the end. There is a try for humor that falls flat. The characters are never really fleshed out and their relationship to each other seem ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Well...this book was different. I'm giving 3 stars to this one, I would give 3 1/2 if I could. I'm giving 3 because eventhough sometimes I felt bored, while I wasn't reading the book I was thinking that I needed to read it to know what would happen, LOL. So I guess I got hooked without even noticing it.

I must say that this book surprised me. I thought it wouldn't be a good book because of the slow beginning, but the ending was amazing.
I love to read first person books, so that was something I re
Jul 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book feels like the TV show "Supernatural" in a paper format. And because I love that TV show, I also love this book. Two brothers running away from evil creatures, fighting, protecting each other, having no one to turn to for help. Until they meet a certain puck, a vampire girl and a psychic.

The book does have many cultural references that are rather hard to understand for someone who lives on a different continent though. It's not names and places but phrases that pop up in famous TV sho
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm a HUGE fan of this series. Thurman creates a world that is so easy to lose yourself in. I flew through the first 3 books in less than 2 days. ...more
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
A friend of mine had this book as an e-book and let me borrow it to read on my Kindle. I had no expectations whatsoever about this book. I had never heard of either the series or the author before. But my friend, who knows my tastes, thought I might like this.

I hadn't even planned to read it, just simply wanted to have it on my Kindle, just in case I ran out of other stuff to read. But i did start and once, started, found myself really sucked in.

Cal Leandros is half human/half elf. Elves in this
May 04, 2015 added it
Shelves: pnr-uf, read-2015, dnf
Buddy Read with MacHalo girls!

DNF @ 18%

This is my first DNF! My book OCD has always made me finish books, even if I wasn't enjoying them. Since joining GR, however, I am learning life is too short for this and...

So-many-books-so-little-Christopher-Zelig.jpg (340×270)

This one just wasn't for me.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
3.something stars rounded up to 4.

I really don’t need another urban fantasy series to collect, I really don’t. *sigh*

Cal (short for Caliban) Leandros is half human, half who-knows-what. He and his brother Niko have been running from daddy’s side of the family for four years and thought they’d left them behind for good, but then Niko spots one of their monstrous pursuers (nicknamed Grendels) in Central Park and they realise they’ve run out of time and places to run. And Cal is going to find out w
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
So much sarcasm, so many dark comments and darkness in general - it was a treat to dive into this.

Niko, I'm still not quite sure what to make of. He's the knight in shining armour (though there are some flecks of blood on there) but he is so stoic sometimes that it's hard to make out more about him, or more than just the fact that he utterly adores his brother and would do anything to protect him.

Cal, I liked. Lazy bum and often sullen, he does have something that makes him endearing. Not to men
Matthew Hunter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cal Leandros is only half human. His father was one of an evil otherworldly race that Cal and his brother refer to as 'Grendels'. And their mother was an uncaring drunkard, so that side of the family sucks too. The only reliable and constant in Cal's life is his big brother Nik, and they have spent the last 4 years on the run together, moving from city to city, trying to stay away from the rest of the Grendels who are desperately trying to get hold of Cal for their own nefarious purposes.

But it
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Rob Thurman is currently writing three series for Penguin Putnam's imprint ROC FANTASY, as well as a brand-new mainstream series for Simon & Schuster's POCKET BOOKS.
Rob has also written for a Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner Anthology, WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE. This year, Rob contributed a post-apocalyptic, "grim" faerie tale Western to the anthology, COURTS OF THE FEY.

Rob's work is dark, non-st

Other books in the series

Cal Leandros (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Moonshine (Cal Leandros #2)
  • Madhouse (Cal Leandros, #3)
  • Deathwish (Cal Leandros, #4)
  • Roadkill (Cal Leandros, #5)
  • Blackout (Cal Leandros, #6)
  • Doubletake (Cal Leandros, #7)
  • Slashback (Cal Leandros, #8)
  • Downfall (Cal Leandros, #9)
  • Nevermore (Cal Leandros, #10)
  • Everwar (Cal Leandros, #11)

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