Title: The Night Has Teeth
Author: Kat Kruger
Series: The Magdeburg Trilogy #1
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Summary (from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Connor Lewis is chased by a memory. On his first day of kindergarten he bit a boy hard enough to scar the kid for life. Since then he’s been a social outcast at a New York private school.
Through an unexpected turn of good fortune, he lands a scholarship to study in Paris, where everything starts to look up. On the first day he befriends two military brats, and he may finally get a taste of what it’s like to be a normal teenager.It doesn’t last.His host family — an alluring young tattoo artist and her moody, handsome boyfriend — inadvertently introduce him to the underworld of werewolves where there are two types: the born and the bitten. Those born to it take the form of elegant wolves, while the latter are cursed to transform into the half-man, half-beast creatures of horror movies. The bitten rarely survive. Unfortunately, Connor is on the wanted list of a four hundred-year-old bitten human who’s searching for both a cure and a means of wiping out werewolves for good.Connor’s loyalties are tested as he becomes embroiled in a conflict where werewolves, mad science and teen angst collide.
There are so many YA books out there that deal with supernatural characters, that it’s hard to find something a bit different. It’s all ‘boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl happens to be a *insert flavour of the month paranormal creature here*’ or vice versa. Which is why I really enjoyed reading The Night Has Teeth, because it’s so NOT that.
While it takes a bit of time to get going – the werewolf mythology isn’t introduced until a good few chapters in, and you don’t really get an overarching sense of their world until much later – the level of detail and thought that’s gone into the mythology is enough to make me forgive the slow start. You need that time to root you in the characters and invest in their stories. And the mythology is really interesting and individual. There are plenty of hints about what’s coming up, but there were a couple of curveballs regarding the mythology that I didn’t see coming, despite having accidentally read the first couple of chapters of book two before I started this.
I love the idea of the science of the mythology too. I’m a big sucker for ‘realistic’ paranormal. I love it when writers are able to cleverly explain how the paranormal world could scientifically work, it’s so satisfying. And though Kruger hasn’t give much of the science yet, there’s enough to suggest that she’s thought it all out and it will come more to the fore in the next two instalments.
Of course, there is a bit of ‘boy meets girl’, but the development of the relationship between Maddie and Connor is also slower, and much richer and more believable for it. And Connor never looses the sense that there are more important things in his life – such as the discovery that his host family are werewolves.
A climactic finale leaves on a bit of a killer cliffhanger, making me keen to start the next book. It promises to be faster paced, more exciting, and even more immersed in the mythology. So, this was a reasonable opening to what could be an outstanding trilogy.