Currently I'm a librarian and before that I was an archaeologist, a journalist, and definitely a bit of a world traveler. I tend to mostly read science fiction and fantasy, though I do love a good mystery and I'm a bit of a book dabbler overall. I've been doing Goodreads for awhile, but a friend thought I might enjoy this as well. Let's see, yeah?
I hadn't picked this book up because the cover really makes it look as if it's high on the romance and probably skimpy on the paranormal. I've been fooled too many times by novels that, for instance, feature werewolves only because they're going to shred their clothes when they change and that makes for easy access to potential lovers.
Happily, this book is nothing like this. I'm not saying that there wasn't some werewolf nakedness or whatever, but it didn't just lead to sexy times. It was sensible detail. That's the thing that impressed me about this book -- no, not naked werewolves! The DETAIL. The authors (apparently Ilona Andrews is actually a pseudonym for a wife-husband writing team) fleshed out their world so well with all these details. Even better, this kind of book needed that nice streamlined speed into all the action and hijinks and the authors are able to fit their world building in pretty seamlessly! Sure, it helps that this is an urban fantasy, more or less, so a lot of the details are our world... But there's a lot that's different, too. I feel like, for most part, I didn't ever feel disoriented as we follow Kate around. The information was always produced before I wanted to ask for it and it rarely interfered with the plot at all.
(though, I actually do enjoy plenty of novels with tons of exposition -- I enjoy learning about new worlds a lot)
The authors also pull in some really interesting mythology. I don't know how much of it is directly from legends and how much they tweaked or made up, but it all feels very folkloric and I suspect quite a bit of it has analogues in our world's folklore. It's always nice to see authors use less common creatures and beings and to create new takes on the standard ones.
Some of the plot was pretty easy to figure out, more was not as easy as it seemed. Either way, I enjoyed this a heck of a lot and may go on to read book two right away (which is something I usually do, lately).
My copy of the book had a bunch of fun extras at the end -- glossaries and FAQs, character lists, a quiz, and an extra short story. It's definitely worth it to get a copy with all that.