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July 4th, 2011, 09:26 PM #436
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
Reading Jenn Bennett's debut, Kindling the Moon. She has an entertaining prose style, and the story has been fast-paced and full of luminous imagery so far.
The protagonist, Arcadia Bell, lives in a world of demons and magicians. She's a magician, but possibly something more. She's been on the run for seven years.
Seven years ago, a number of people were murdered. The police think Arcadia and her parents were responsible -- the police think they're serial killers. But they cast a spell that made everyone think they had died. Arcadia's parents left the country, and she hasn't heard from them in years.
Arcadia has changed her name and now she runs a demon-friendly tiki bar, where the clientele play drinking games centered around paranormal-investigation tv shows. One night when the crowd is gathered to watch, the show is interrupted by a news bulletin: the police have arrested Arcadia's parents. The police thought they were dead, and now the police are wondering if their daughter is alive as well.
But this kicks off a number of mysteries. Why did her parents return? Why now? She's trying to learn what she can, and maybe unravel the secrets of her past, while the police and supernatural organizations are trying to find her.
It's a superfun read so far.
July 5th, 2011, 11:07 AM #437
July 28th, 2011, 02:12 PM #438
Those of you who have taken up the work of Steven R. Boyett know that he wowed all with his first novel, Ariel, in the 1980's, did a bit more in novels and short fiction and then largely disappeared into the worlds of computers and music, occasionally popping up with a short work or collection like Sasquatch sightings.
But that doesn't mean the man wasn't writing and in 2009, he brought us the poignant, bestselling Elegy Beach, the generational sequel to Ariel. And he worked some more on a novel he's rewritten 30 times and now we have that one too: Mortality Bridge, coming out this Sunday. It's a view of the tale of Orpheus in a different way:
Decades ago a young rock and blues guitarist and junkie named Niko signed in blood on the dotted line and in return became the stuff of music legend. But when the love of his damned life grows mortally and mysteriously ill he realizes he's lost more than he bargained for--and that wasn t part of the Deal.
So Niko sets out on a harrowing journey from the streets of Los Angeles through the downtown subway tunnels and across the redlit plain of the most vividly realized Hell since Dante, to play the gig of his mortgaged life and win back the purloined soul of his lost love.
Mortality Bridge remixes Orpheus, Dante, Faust, the Crossroads legend, and more in a beautiful, brutal--and surprisingly funny--quest across a Hieronymous Bosch landscape of myth, music, and mayhem; and across an inner terrain of addiction, damnation, and redemption.
And the early reviews (the release date got pushed up so they're coming in more slowly,) have been excellent.
It is, however, coming out from Subterranean Press and they're doing one of their quality signed limited edition thingies. There's no e-book yet. If you're in the States, you can get it cheaper on Amazon. But I'm hoping there's going to be a wider offering down the road because I don't want a Boyett book doing any Sasquatch hiding. Those of you who undertake reviews and get early copies might want to take a gander.
June 5th, 2013, 07:57 PM #439
I know there are quite a few threads in our forums dedicated to this subgenre but since I created this specific thread and there are quite a few good recommendations in it I figured I'd add to it.
I'll drop one name in her Chuck Wendig because his latest book The Blue Blazes published recently, I reviewed it and I absolutely loved it. "think one part Hellboy, one part Mathew Stover, one part Big Trouble in Little China, and throw in a dash of The Sopranos, the film The Wrestler and pulp sensibilities, and you might have an idea of what a great stew of fun this novel really is."
Chuck's been writing away for years, but over the past couple of years his work is seeing the light of day, mainly through the fine folks at Angry Robot Books who published The Blue Blazes as well as his Miriam Black novels Mockingbird and Blackbirds. Chuck is extremely active on twitter and has one of the best writing blogs out there: Terrible Minds. He's the type of writer you read once and you want to devour everything from him.
June 6th, 2013, 08:57 PM #440
June 24th, 2014, 08:13 PM #441
KatG you are letting me down! I wanted a thread or list of good urban fantasy (other than Dresden files). Help a starving reader out here.
June 25th, 2014, 12:37 AM #442
See this thread I moved your post into, Cold Sun, (and which I believe you have participated in, in the past,) this thread has lots of good urban fantasy noted, including many official reviews by Rob. Also, I am not the book list fairy.
However, urban fantasy I've been reading more recently, etc.:
I have read Mockingbird, the sequel to Blackbirds, and the second book in Chuck Wendig's Miriam Black series. In Mockingbird, Wendig tries out another type of suspense story, more gothic, a house/school mystery, that results in big revelations for Miriam, who has been cursed with the ability to see, when she touches someone, how and when they will die. I did not think that Mockingbird was quite as strong as Blackbirds, but it was pretty good and was also interesting as it included some pov sections from Miriam's male pal. I will be continuing with the series. Miriam is, like many urban fantasy protagonists, sarcastic, stubborn, tough, overwhelmed, in continual conflict with others, and tending to accumulate friends and allies who are emotionally dangerous to her but also become assets. Miriam is also a self-destructive and a fairly tragic figure, but not a broody one, and I mostly like her character voice. The series is not a straight mystery thriller one and the character is a wanderer. It's darker than many, but not necessarily continual action. The mythology on it, which is only slowly being understood, is very interesting. Antagonists lean towards the larger than life sort (think Sin City.) There is some dark satire to the series.
I like satiric/comic fantasy, including farcical. So several of the series that I am following and like a lot are in that area. Laura Resnick's Esther Diamond series is a screwball farcical satire fantasy series, set in New York, about a working actress (and sometimes waitress,) who helps out a centuries old, cuddly sorcerer (and his giant dog like familiar,) in spotting and fighting evil magic, much to the consternation of her non-magic-believing on-off love interest, a cop. This set-up allows Resnick to tackle various fantasy ideas one after the other, demons, vampires, zombies, dimensional travel, voodoo, etc., while including everything from Broadway shows to Italian and Chinese mobsters. It's funny, very dead on about acting work, and if you've lived in New York as I have, it's a nice reminder of different parts of the city. The writing is very sharp and Esther, who is not a tough talking gumshoe character, is a nice change from straighter suspense. The mysteries are not very mysterious, but that's the usual in comic mystery. The action sequences in the series are quite well done. The newest one, which I read, is The Misfortune Cookie, which is not the strongest entry in the series, but had some nice bits in it. The first book in the series is Disappearing Nightly.
More moderate in tone, but still very comic is Diana Rowland's White Trash Zombie series, which my pal author/artist Kevin Radthorne turned me on to. (Kevin does sec world fantasy.) Rowland's Angel Crawford is a lost soul in semi-rural Louisiana who wakes from a deadly car accident as a zombie and who starts to turn her life around as a coroner's assistant/van driver (which also supplies her with brains.) The series is not necessarily fantasy -- it's morphing into science fiction, but various elements are fuzzy enough that it's in that zombie gray zone. The arc of the character is interesting because Angel starts out quite hapless and down on herself, but being a zombie changes her character as events progress. The series goes from a more straightforward mystery series into a more sprawling, military edged conspiracy thriller set-up, which is also interesting. The action sequences are good, the comedy is solid, and most of the characters are interesting, in part because they seem one way but later on or in the next book turn out to be more complicated. The ending of the first book in the series I felt was a bit rushed and not quite as well constructed as it could have been, but then the series switches it up in the next book, so it's a series that takes some interesting zags. There is some poignant material on addiction and death, including with Angel's dad, and the zombie mythology that Rowland is building I think is one of the more interesting and detailed around. I finished recently the third book in the series, White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, which also includes some nice satire about horror movies.
And then there's Jim C. Hines' Libromancer series, which is getting quite a lot of attention. Jim is using a very complicated but followable mythology involving book magic -- the magically talented can draw objects and creatures out of books. The series focuses on Isaac, a young sorcerer sort of on probation at the start and working a day job as a librarian. Jim is very good at satire. He has been able to transport everybody's favorite fire spider from his much liked Jig the Goblin series, by having Isaac have drawn the spider out of that series as his magical buddy. He has, for instance, several different types of vampires who have accidentally been drawn out of various books and have a taxonomy based on their authors (yep, there are sparkly vampires,) and wacky weapons. Isaac is stubborn and cheeky, but not a Sam Spade character. The action sequences are often unusual and well rendered. The characters are not noir in tone, but the magic itself can get quite dark. And there are Sentinel-like golems made of print and lots of fun details for bookphiles. I read the second in the series recently, Codex Born. Because the book has some flashbacks that fill in bits of one character's backstory, there was a bit of a retread to it for me, but the main action really advances and layers the mythology and it had a number of great scenes for me.
Besides Ilona Andrews, as discussed in that thread, I've also read, as I mentioned, Jaye Wells' Dirty Magic recently, which is the first book in a new series from her, in which magic is drugs, in potions, powders, amulets, and the main character is a cop who walked away from her dirty magic crime family and is trying to raise her younger teenage brother. She gets herself on a federal task force that is dealing with a nasty new magic that essentially turns people into a form of werewolves. The book is very police procedural, does well with its theme, has good action sequences, though it's not constant action, and plenty of grit, but is not horror tinged. Lots of cop talk. The younger brother material gets a bit wearying, but he's not an obnoxious kid.
I also read Lauren Beukes' fantasy novel The Shining Girls. Technically this is a historical fantasy -- it goes from the 1930's to the 1990's -- but I think it fits well enough to mention. It's a magical time travel serial killer thriller. The main character is a survivor of the killer who is trying to find him and piece together what happened to her. She's young, sarcastic, stubborn, etc., but she's also kind of fascinating because the arc is about whether you can actually rebuild yourself and find peace in the wake of that kind of trauma. And the serial killer and his magical house are very well done. You get basically also a whole bunch about the development of Chicago as Beukes deals with the various targets of the killer in different time periods, and not slapdashedly. This is my second Beukes novel -- I read her futuristic noirish fantasy Zoo City, which I liked very much. The Shining Girls is a bit more sprawling in scope and more in the serial killer suspense tradition, and I would put it a bit behind Zoo City, but now I definitely want to get to her science fiction novel Moxyland, and upcoming Broken Monsters as well.
I also read The Iron Hunt, the first book in the Hunter's Kiss series by Marjorie M. Liu, which I mentioned in the Andrews thread. The Iron Hunt read a bit weird for me in that it's the first in the series, but feels like it's the second book -- there were back story events that might have made up a previous book. I also found it annoying that her main character is dealing with other characters who know stuff, but then keep deciding not to tell her that info to protect her or for other reasons, leaving her often flying blind. It gets a bit frustrating on the dialogue front. But on the mythology front, Liu's universe is really interesting and involves multiple dimensions. The main character is a Buffy-like person. By day her body has moving tatoos that render her skin impermeable from attacks. At night, those tatoos come off her body because they are actually shadow imp like entities bound to her, who like to eat metal and who help her kill entities that harm humans and have escaped from a vault prison that is breaking down. Liu uses a whole bunch of different mythologies to run her universe and in this first book, the main character may have found her grandfather and is dealing with an entity that is entirely new to her. There are nice bits of dark humor to the story. The main character is more on the broody side than the sarcastic. The tatoo imps are terrific. I'm not sure how much of the series I'm going to read, but there are five books so far, for those who want a longer series in place.
Also read R.A. MacAvoy's episodic novel Death and Resurrection, which has four serial novellas tied together about Chinese-American artist Ewen Young who has the ability to travel between the realms of life and death, an ability that he's only now really figuring out as he also resolves issues with his family. There are a lot of martial arts and magical fighting sequences, usage of various types of mythologies including Nez Perce and Buddhism, and several mysteries and crime scenes of different kinds. It's not my favorite MacAvoy novel and it's more like a collection, but it's the first she's had out in awhile and I like some of the stuff she did with it. Plus, it has a great dog character for the dog-lovers. I am curious as to whether she will do more stories in this series.
Up next on deck in the contemporary fantasy front for me are Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronvitch (London in alternate Earth, cops sorcerers, gods,) Greg Van Eekhout's standalone Norse Code (Vikings!,) and Carrie Vaughn's Discord's Apple (legendary objects, family secrets.) I've read the first in Vaughn's bestselling urban Kitty Norville series, about a werewolf radio DJ who ends up doing an advice show for supernaturals (and letting the cat out of the bag about their existence which puts her in danger,) Kitty and the Midnight Hour. As a were/other supernatural creature one, I liked it. There was a nice mafia side to it, and a mix of urban Denver with the more rural surroundings. Kitty is semi-sarcastic, stubborn, etc., but also dealing with large difficulties of being a werewolf after having been brutally attacked. I'll probably try more in the series, but Vaughn has been branching out with some standalones like Discord's Apple, and her newer, superhero series Golden Age, so I may bop around a bit first. Van Eekhout has also started a series, California Bones, which involves a magical heist that sounds good.
June 25th, 2014, 12:34 PM #443
Thank you so much for bringing it up KatG, and also the wonderful recommendations. Looks like my credit card will get a little use this week. I'm a dunce and you are right, I've posted in this thread myself.
P.S. But you ARE the Urban Fantasy Book Knowledge Queen.
Last edited by ColdSun; June 25th, 2014 at 12:58 PM.
June 26th, 2014, 11:07 PM #444
July 2nd, 2014, 05:34 AM #445
I dont know if its been mentioned before in this thread but Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore was a fantastic read for me.
July 2nd, 2014, 11:40 AM #446
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
I'm looking for urban fantasy series where it is far along - either completed or with a lot of books. I don't like waiting for the next book! Here are ones I have already read:
Anita Blake Laurel Hamilton
Kate Daniels Ilona Andrews
Rachel Morgan Kim Harrison
Harry Dresden Jim Butcher
July 2nd, 2014, 05:37 PM #447
July 2nd, 2014, 06:09 PM #448
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
July 2nd, 2014, 11:55 PM #449
Well the problem is that contemporary fantasy series tend to be suspense -- mystery-thriller. And those series are serial, not sagas. There are some overarching plot lines across books but the idea is that you have different stories/cases in each book, and they can technically go on as a series featuring the main characters forever. Mystery series do regularly do 20+ books, same detective. But what I'll do is, look at series with five books or more to them. That will take me a bit, and you should also look through this thread because there are dozens mentioned here already. Kelley Armstrong is an obvious choice as she has an entire universe of characters, with rotating leads/multiple mini-series, and she's prolific, so you have a number of finished stories that are sub-stories within the whole universe, plus reams of short stories. There's thirteen books in the main series. (And now a t.v. series based loosely on part of the books.)
July 3rd, 2014, 08:38 AM #450
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
Would Sarah Pinborough's Dog-Faced Gods trilogy count for urban fantasy? And as long as I'm asking, has anyone here read the trilogy or some part of it and what did you think?