Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Kreuger
Why I read – Book club pick for May.
Book blurb: “A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.
College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore. “
Cocktails giving secret powers to kill demons was really fun and I enjoyed this part. The teen romance was too much for me so I skimmed over a lot of it and I didn’t feel the plot really went anywhere. I loved the diversity of the characters – a good blend of people all with distinct personalities. However it seemed like the cocktails were the star of the book rather than the characters. I was left feeling though that the idea of the book was better than the actual book itself so I think I had some disappointment as I was really looking forward to reading it and wanted much more.
The highlight of the book for me was the Devil’s Water Dictionary which had extracts interspersed throughout the book. This fictional mixologist’s guide to alcohol and magic included recipes, secret histories, and effects of all the various cocktails. These were interesting and engaging with a good dose of humour thrown in. I can’t wait until our next cocktail evening so we can have fun trying the recipes in the book.
I’d recommend it to anyone who wants some lighthearted fun young adult reading with a cocktail twist.