Thursday, 16 June 2016

Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge - Paul Krueger

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 evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can only be hunted with the help of magically-mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and tequila lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all of 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.

Visit Paul Krueger's website for more information

Have you ever wondered why there are so many pubs and bars? I bet you never considered it's because the bartenders who work in them also have a side job fighting demons that prey on drunk people! Well that's exactly the premise of Paul Krueger's debut novel Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge and what a fun and quirky story it is.

Bailey has just finished college and is supposed to be looking for a serious, grown up job like her parents have always expected her to but she's kind of having fun working at a bar run by her childhood best friend Zane and she's not quite ready to grow up and face the real world yet. The more she looks at sensible jobs the less they feel like the best choice for her and then when she finds out about Zane's sideline fighting demons she knows she's found her true calling.

I loved the premise for this story, the idea of magical mixologists who are able to give themselves superpowers by creating very special cocktails was a fun one and totally different to anything else I've read about. At the end of most chapters you get a little information about the history of the magical cocktails mentioned, the powers it gives the bartenders and how to mix the perfect version at home so if you enjoy cocktails I'm sure you'll love these little additional recipes. I really enjoyed these little snippets into the history of the bartenders and how they discovered the magical properties each ingredient adds to the drinks they make but what I really wanted was a little more information about the demons they fought. Where did they come from? Why did they only attack certain people? If they're drawn to alcohol why were they more prevalent at certain times of the month? I'm hoping that if we get a second book in this world we'll get answers to some of these questions.

I love that we have such a diverse range of characters but I did find the way Bailey acted was a little immature at times. This is a new adult urban fantasy so Bailey and most of the other characters are in their early 20s but they quite often came across as much younger than that which could be a little frustrating. I also got a bit fed up with Bailey mooning around after Zane and trying to make a move on him when she knew full well he was in a relationship with someone else but that's a personal bug of mine that probably won't bother everyone as much. I think my favourite character actually ended up being another bartender who was known as Bucket, he was a really fun guy and stole every scene he appeared in.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge was an entertaining and fairly quick read, it has such an unusual concept that I'm hoping it might end up being the start of a new series - there's definitely a lot of potential here for Paul Krueger to create something wonderful.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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