Friday, July 17, 2009

Review: Madhouse

Title: Madhouse
Author: Rob Thurman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros/Book 3
Published: March 2008

*Spoilers for books 1 & 2/mild for this one*

From the back cover ~

Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren't exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business could dry up in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place?

But now there-s a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers is picking off humans like sheep, dead-set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they-re going to have to earn.

I definitely liked it. But man did it creep me out! It's dark, very dark. The antagonist is a demon version of Hannibal Lecter which means he's way, way worse than ole Hannibal was. It's very bloody and gory but still kept me at the edge of my seat without totally grossing me out. I think my "gross out" level has been slowly on the rising since I started reading UF. :) I did have one problem in regards to the reason the big bad nasty showed up, I felt it was a bit weak. But other than that I thoroughly enjoyed Madhouse.

It's been a few months since Georgina was kidnapped (Moonshine/book 2) and Cal has been keeping his distance from her. He still feels she's safer when he's not around. George thinks Cal's being an idiot but doesn't push it. I like that about her. She knows when to push and when to ease up. Their relationship is an odd one. They're both attracted to each other but circumstances haven't given them a chance at a normal dating life. George is a wickedly accurate psychic but she's also a couple of years younger than Cal. And since she's human she doesn't have any real defenses the way Cal, Niko, Robin and Promise have. Cal plays the "she's too young for me" card even though you get the feeling that George is far more mature than her age -she's 17 to his 19. I like her character and hope that we get to see more of her as the series progresses.

Cal and Niko are settling in just fine with Cal working at a bar and Niko managing to take some college classes. Their finances get some help from Niko's vampire girlfriend, Promise, with the referral of a client. But life in Cal and Niko's world is never simple and what they thought would be an easy job turns out to be anything but easy. This time they have to recruit some help. Sometimes when there's a bunch of different creatures throughout a series I have a hard time keeping track of who's who and what's what. In Thurman's world I've actually done pretty well. :) Some of the secondary supernatural beings are reoccurring so it helps my memory when they show up again to cause trouble for the brothers & co. I now know what a Boggle is and that there are even little Boggles - boglets. And they're nowhere near as cute as they sound.

The pacing is well done with the action scenes both riveting and bloody. The down time aka no fighting, is when we learn more about what makes these characters tick and just how their relationships are forming, evolving and being reevaluated. Niko has always looked out for Cal ever since Cal was born. But he's getting to the point where he has to let him go and trust that all the training and teaching he's done will keep Cal safe. The way the brothers relationship is changing is very similar to that of a father/son. Which isn't surprising since their mother (bitch woman from hell) gave Cal to Niko when Cal was born and told Niko to take him, she didn't want him. I don't like to mention their mother (bitch woman from hell) because I can't stand her. I will say that I'm glad she's dead and they don't have to deal with her in person. They are still dealing with her legacy of abuse/neglect which would explain why they are so close - they've only had each other to rely on. I really do love these brothers!

I must mention Robin Goodfellow or Puck as he's also known. The brothers met him in the first book while trying to buy a car from him. Their relationship with him continues to grow and evolve, from a source of information to a reliable and trusted friend. Robin's the one that's usually got sex on the brain and can be counted on to make sexual references even in "fighting for your life" situations. He seems like an easy going ladies man or "gentleman" man since Robin swings both ways. :) He's an equal opportunity sexual deviant. But there's a loneliness to him that comes through even when he's surround by beautiful and mostly naked people. He's lived for thousands of years and has seen friends and lovers come and go - outlived them all. Robin adds a certain dimension of not only friendship but responsibility to the brothers and their family unit. He watches their back and now they watch out for him. Just like family.

I really like how this series is progressing. The characters don't stagnate but continue to grow. Cal and Niko are still number one in each others books and would do anything for each other. But they also understand that it's not healthy for them to exclude others from their world. And they both have love lives - Cal with a werewolf and Niko with a vampire. Couldn't expect them to go the normal route. :)

Rob Thurman and her books can be found here.

Books in this series:


Rating: A-


  1. I'm glad you're enjoying the series... I got Madhouse as well :) I'm preparing myself to enjoy the series, LOL :P I just need to pick up the first book :) soon, soon :D

  2. Oh, nath... what am I going to do if you don't like this series? I almost wish you hadn't bought all three books. LOL

    *prayer to book Goddess* Please let nath like this series. :)

  3. LOL, Leslie -- the goddess will hear you!

    I've placed the "first" book on my TBB list, so I won't forget to get it. So glad the series is holding up!

  4. LOL ~ I hope so. *fingers crossed*

    I was lucky and got the first book used - 1/2 price and books 2-4 at the library so very little $$ involved. :)