Lianne's Reviews > Night Child

Night Child by Jes Battis
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's review
Oct 27, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy

This was by no means a perfect book. I can't even say it was an altogether satisfying read. It had its charms and its downfalls, yet overall there was still something that made me read the next in the series.

The characters were good. I found Tess likeable, witty and very much aware of her own strengths and weaknesses. She doesn't consider herself a badass heroine out to save the world. She's just a girl with a job, doing her thing. But I think what made her an enjoyable character to read were her interactions with the other characters; the wonderfully warm, sarcastic Derrick, the snarky and resilient Mia and the capable Tash and Selena, among others.

But this book had many problems. The plot started off strong; a typical crime mystery echoing the likes of CSI and other similar TV shows. Battis clearly wanted to mix genres here, combining the recent obsession with forensic science with the recent obsession with urban fantasies. Unfortunately, it just didn't work. Well, not for me.

Battis apparently took a forensics course to write this novel, and it shows. This book read like an explosion of pure geeky glee. Battis wanted his readers to know that he knew this stuff, which was all well and good when describing a crime scene, but everything else? Not so much. Tess often began to sound and feel far too detached and clinical in her view of things. I'm sure even the biggest forensic nerd wouldn't consider every aspect of their lives with the same cold, scientific regard.

There were a lot of info dumps that weighed down the book. I love learning new things when I read a novel, but this was far too much for even me to take in. I like to be educated gradually when reading in this genre, not lectured at every given opportunity.

One of the biggest problems for this book was the way the plot played out. For a crime novel, there was very little suspense or tension. The author often tried to delay all those big reveals and twists and turns that are part-and-parcel of books such as this, but he delayed it too long and often crushed the big WOW! moments beneath lengthy descriptions of processes and procedures and other forensic gibber. Every consultant, technician, scientist and co-worker were implausibly explaining every little forensic step they'd taken to get them to that point of the big reveal, always declaring it interesting, fascinating, intriguing! I'm sure forensic scientists do find a lot of these things interesting, but I doubt after working there for a number of years every single one of them would feel the need to explain their every process to a colleague they've worked with during all that time.

The surprise "twist" wasn't really all that surprising. In fact it was all very cliche. And by the end of it, I didn't think that Tess had learned anything new or grown as a character. It was all very... clean and cut, ABC, hence my lack of satisfaction after reaching the end.

I understand what Battis wanted to do here, and it was very interesting to see how science could be used to explain magic. I just found the whole thing heavy-handed and too clunky for an urban fantasy novel. I like a little more action and adventure when it comes to this genre and I didn't feel like I actually got it. It was all very one-note.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 25, 2009 – Finished Reading
October 27, 2009 – Shelved
October 27, 2009 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Linzi Exactly why I'm thinking right now but I didn't know about the forensics course - that explains a lot - thank you. I kept wondering what Battis's editor was doing while this book was being finalised.

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