Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge
Author: Paul Krueger
Publication: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Quirk Books
Format: Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Read: January 2016
In this sharp and funny urban fantasy novel, booze is magic, demons are real, and millennial Bailey Chen joins a band of monster-fighting Chicago bartenders instead of finding a “real” post-college job.
Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school.
But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out that evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and rum lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a “real world” job beckons?
This sharp and funny urban fantasy is perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and grown-up readers of Harry Potter. Includes 14 recipes from a book of ancient cocktail lore.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I really liked this book which was kind of surprising for me. I feel like the premise is really new and interesting, I’ve never read anything like it before. It’s action packed, there was mystery, it was entertaining and I enjoyed it. I liked that the paranormal creatures described and involved were unique. There was some graphic descriptions but the ending was conclusive though slightly open ended which is great!
Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The writing style is really simple, descriptive and detailed. I found that the world building was really interesting and thorough, there were a lot of special elements that made it so much easier to understand and to immerse myself in. It’s kind of graphic but also kind of funny and engaging. I was really invested in the book while reading and flew through it.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I liked the majority of the characters in this book but they all have their annoying moments. Some of their decisions and actions were questionable and irritating but in general, I liked them and their personalities and they made the story fun and entertaining. Bailey is kind of annoying but I really liked her determination and bravery. She actually reminded me (and my book club) of me which I don’t really know what that says about me since she has a kind of anal and obsessive personality. She’s smart, hardworking, curious, kind and defiant. She had moments when she was kind of petulant and moments where I just wanted to shake her silly but overall, I liked her as the narrator. There are quite a few side characters in this series. Some that I loved that totally brought a lot of energy and joy into the book and into what was going on. Others that I did not like at all and that I was totally suspicious of. However, I feel like they were all really individual and complex by themselves. Some weren’t as fleshed out as I wanted them to be and I would’ve wanted to get to know them a lot better but they all added something special to the story. There was a lot more drama than I was expecting, specially for an urban fantasy book and we definitely talked about that in our book club book chat. Some of the characters had shitty stuff happen to them and that made me so sad and this whole paragraph makes no sense, sorry guys haha.
My lovely friend suggested this book for our monthly book club and I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning, but I really enjoyed it.
The plot is entertaining. We follow Bailey, a recent college graduate living at home and working at a bar while trying to find a “real” job. She has a close encounter with a paranormal creature which opens her up to a whole new world. One of my favorite things about this book is the world. I really like the world the author created, mixing alcohol with a paranormal world. When you make a cocktail with a specific kind of liquor, each one gives you different kinds of powers to help you kick paranormal creature butt! That’s such an awesome idea and I’m surprised that no one has ever thought of it before. I’m glad this author took the reigns and put it out here because there’s nothing worse than a great idea turned wrong because of bad writing but that didn’t happen here which is awesome! There was also something really cool that the author added, there’s kind of a dictionary for the people that want to learn the art of making these powerful drinks. So every few chapters the author added an entry from this supposed dictionary which detailed how to make the specific drink, what it does, who created it and why they did as well as where each ingredient came from (my country was even mentioned!). That was really cool in my opinion and it made it so much easier to get into this peculiar world. I could get kind of frustrating when you want to get back in the action, but I read all of them because I found them so interesting. I’d honestly read the entire dictionary if it existed, I’d read that book haha. There was some action and mystery within the plot that I enjoyed but there was also a lot of unnecessary drama. I liked the fighting scenes and seeing the characters kick some serious apart and together. The mystery was also super interesting and had me intrigued the whole time. But there was so much drama and like fighting between the characters and those particular story lines (since they mostly had to do with girls against girls) were really annoying, frustrating and just not realistic. However, the ending was conclusive which apparently considering the standalones I read it seems like something hard to do. I think that if the author wanted to, he could write a sequel but it doesn’t seem like something that is has to happen which I appreciate.
Bailey was kind of annoying but also brave and really smart. She’s Chinese American and I think that was one of the reasons why her worth ethic was so intense and so dedicated, specially since we see her interact with her parents a few times where they place some pressure on her to do something specific. I spent a lot of the time while reading between really liking her and not wanting to deal with her haha. Both my friends mentioned that Bailey reminded them of me and I don’t know how I feel about that. She’s an overachiever and a perfectionist, which I am as well. She’s really curious and suspicious of things that don’t make sense to her, which I am as well. I liked how she threw herself into learning about bartending even though she wasn’t really sure if that was what she wanted to do. She wanted to be good at it either way which again sounds a lot like me! However, I wish she would’ve had more growth through the end of the book. While she showed that she was right about a lot of things, there were some resolutions between the relationships she has with some of the other characters that I wished she could’ve been more apologetic than she actually was. She stay pretty much the same as she was in the beginning to of the book to the end of it. That was a bit disappointing since I think character development is super important.
Now I want to talk a bit about the side characters. Zane annoyed me. He really did. He was kind of self-righteous and rude. I think his attitude made me really angry and his interactions with Bailey annoyed me. I did not want them to happen at all whatsoever. That’s not usually how books work so I couldn’t get my happy ending but it would’ve been much better if that hadn’t happened at all because he did not impress me. However, there’s a character named Bucket who is the FREAKING BEST! I loved him! He’s trans, he’s Canadian and proud and he’s freaking hilarious. I loved his personality and his attitude. He always had a chessy joke and he had the best time while kicking ass, more than any of the other characters. I want a whole book with his perspective, maybe even from his migration from Canada to the US and him before his transition. I just want more of him! Mona was a bitch. I called her that since she showed up on page and I don’t really think she got any better in my opinion. She was definitely a badass, she’s the most talented bartender in the whole book. But I just didn’t like her attitude or the way she talked to Bailey. Their interactions were really rude and full of girl hate which is totally unnecessary in my opinion. There wasn’t a need for them to have so much animosity toward each other from the get go and only because of a stupid boy. There were also various adults that were both really great and really bad. I’m glad that they existed and that the author didn’t pretend that parents don’t exist when you’re a teen or as a college graduate. Way to go man!
Overall, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed reading this book. The plot was entertaining and I really liked how thorough the world building was. I would read more books set in this world because it’s just that much fun. The characters all got on my nerves at some point (except Bucket, he’s bae) but I still enjoyed reading about them. The ending was intense but conclusive which yay for a standalone being a standalone! I’m definitely checking out more of this author’s books.
So that’s it for this post. It’s becoming a habit that I post all my things late which is not something that I want to keep doing. My life is nuts right now so I’m hopeful that when things calm down, I can get my stuff together make sure to schedule all my stuff like I’ve always done. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!