Summary from Amazon:
Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…
Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…
This debut urban fantasy, out next week, brings a fresh outlook to many of the stale tropes of the genre. A lot of books deal with the supernatural by making them regenerate quickly, which makes them easy to work into action, but takes away many consequences of damage, too. Alexander's world-building shines in this regard. Edie Spence works in a ward hidden beneath County Hospital where vampires can speed-up their rituals by using a ready supply of blood, or a zombie integrated with society can take a leave of absence from his day job as his flesh slowly regenerates.
Alexander also makes things real. She's a nurse. Therefore, she nails the hospital atmosphere and the peculiarities of the job. It makes that blend of the real and extraordinary all the more interesting--and educational. I may be a layman, but I love reading about the medical field, so I loved that aspect.
Edie Spence is a likeable heroine. She has a touch of snark, but the voice isn't overwhelming. Like most urban fantasy heroes, she has some darkness in her past: her older brother is a junkie, and Edie has continually scraped and sacrificed in her attempts to keep him clean. This creates some sad and frustrating moments for Edie, such as when she returns home to find her dear old brother has pawned her dining room set.
There were some elements I struggled with, or wanted to know more about; in particular, what's up with the character/entity of Grandfather, and more about the nature of the Shadows. Since there are already two more books set for release, I hope those answers will emerge in those volumes.
If you're looking for something new in urban fantasy and appreciate some medical realism, this is definitely a book you should read.
Disclaimer: I received a gratis copy of the book for reviewing purposes.