Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 250 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Shiloh Walker, Inc.
Release date: March 4, 2013
Series: Colbana Files #2
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed by: Jenn
Kit Colbana is always biting off more than she can chew. She has a knack for finding trouble. This time, though, trouble finds her. Someone from her past drops a case into her lap that she just can't refuse...literally.
People on the Council are dying left and right and she's been requested to investigate the deaths. The number one suspect? Her lover, Damon. If she doesn't clear his name, he gets a death sentence. Even if she succeeds? They still might try to execute him. Oh, and she's not allowed to tell him about the case, either.
The stakes are high this time around, higher than they've ever been. Kit may be forced to pay the ultimate price to save her lover's life...a price that could destroy her and everything she loves.
NIGHT BLADE is the second book in J. C. Daniels' (a.k.a. Shiloh Walker) Colbana Files. I am a huge fan of the first book in the series, BLADE SONG (my thoughts here), and I wasn't sure that the writing could get any better, but it really does in NIGHT BLADE. The stakes are higher, the danger is scarier, and the emotions are stronger and more fraught.
When I talked about BLADE SONG last year, I said:
BLADE SONG has everything I love in an urban fantasy – plucky heroine with major skills, broody love interest, high stakes, fast-paced action and great dialogue.
Because of this, I was confident that NIGHT BLADE would be a great urban fantasy novel but it ended up being so much more. In fact, it's probably my favourite book of 2013 because it's just a delicious, emotional book. Basically, NIGHT BLADE ripped out my heart and stomped all over it. Repeatedly. Particularly towards the end. There aren't a lot of books out there that actually make me well up but NIGHT BLADE came very close to making me bawl because Kit's emotions and experiences are so raw.
Kit and Damon are settling into their romance and adjusting to Damon's new role as Alpha of the cat clan when Kit's ex, Justin, shows up with a mission: help to clear Damon's name for a slew of deaths. It's a great main story since it puts Kit in the position of working with her ex, which doesn't make Damon happy, and because we get some more insights into how Damon's mind works. There are also some nice developments between Kit and Doyle, and I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed their banter and interactions. Kit's quest to clear Damon's name faces some serious obstacles, not the least of which are Justin and Damon, and these challenges makes NIGHT BLADE an addictive read. I don't want to say too much about the outcomes or paths of this storyline since this book is brand new but believe me when I say that you won't be left unsatisfied.
Writing this post is actually surprisingly difficult for me because the meatiest action in NIGHT BLADE happens in the last quarter of the book and I'd hate to spoil things. The story would have been satisfying if the book had ended at about the three-quarters mark but it didn't. Instead, Walker took it to a dark, horrifying place that laid Kit bare in every sense. I was completely shocked by what takes place during this part of the story. Kit is stripped down to her very essence by these events and it has definitely changed her relationships, her worldview, and her soul. It makes me eager for BROKEN BLADE, which doesn't come out until 2014 (not soon enough!) because there's still so much left up in the air, even though this part of the storyline does have some resolution and a logical stopping point. I could talk about this forever since it was such a bold move on Walker's part but I don't want to spoil it for you, and I feel like I've given enough away as it is. Hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment if you've read the book and want to chat about it!.
There's also a really interesting side story that kicks off the novel. Kit has to deliver a package to a group of psycho wolves in Tennessee on behalf of Orlando pack's Alpha. The Tennessee wolves are linked to someone from Kit's past (and present) and I was really hoping to see more of this storyline. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of page time devoted to this plot point but it's okay because (a) the Kit/Damon/dead people plot was amazeballs and (b) I hope it was a teaser thread for a future storyline. In any case, I'll only be unhappy if this particular ball gets dropped on the ground and kicked under the sofa, left to gather dust after the series ends. I'm (perhaps disportionately) curious about this dysfunctional group so I hope Daniels will answer my questions soon.
I have nothing but praise for Daniels/Walker and her amazing abilities. If you're looking for something fluffy, NIGHT BLADE is not the book for you. If you're looking for some amazing urban fantasy, then you better get your hands on the Colbana Files post-haste!