Title: THE NIGHT SHIFTERS
Author: Emily Devenport
Publisher: Emily Devenport
Release date : November 2010
Category: Urban Fantasy
The Night Shifters is a highly imaginative novel and very different to the usual fantasy offerings. If you like dreams and the loose kind of associations that drive them, you may love this book.
Hazel is a Grand Champion Dreamer but one day when the alarm goes off, she opens her eyes to find that despite what her clock says, it’s still dark. The sun hasn’t come up, the world outside has become a City of Night, and the dwellers there are Night Shifters. All of them have their own agendas and all of them are chasing Hazel.
Devenport creates an eerie and evocative dreamscape for her characters and much of the action is reminiscent of that common in dreams eg flying, falling, running and getting no where etc. Fitting in with the dream theme, the characters operated from mysterious and sometimes incomprehensible motivations, and Hazel literally fell from one scene to another. She didn’t know who she could trust and the interest in the story was in trying to work out whose advice, if any, she should be following to find her way in this strange world.
I liked that you never knew where the story would go next and the way the characters had no name until Hazel named them, eg the Masked Man and the Car King. There were also groups of characters that looked alike, eg beautiful men with pure white hair that Hazel called number one, number two and so on. These added a wonderful kind of Greek Chorus imagery. I loved the amazing dwellings and overall dreamlike feel of the book, but unfortunately although an extraordinary imagination and atmosphere makes for a good book, it isn’t enough to make a great one.
The story began with a lot of promise, but half way through, I was still wondering what Night Shifting was exactly, who the Night Shifters were and why they were chasing Hazel. Worse, I hadn’t found a plot line. The theme of finding ones place in a strange world didn’t emerge clearly until the last quarter and wasn’t enough to hold the book together. Hazel needed a much clearer goal and a strong antagonist to provide the kind of overall dramatic tension that engages you in a story and keeps you reading.
I did enjoy the book, but I felt that the lack of a strong plot was a major problem, so I give it 3 stars. However, if you’re okay with reading a collage kind of structure, it’s worth reading for the strange characters and wonderfully imaginative world.