Series: The Shambling Guides #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Book Trailer: View Trailer
Published by Orbit on May 28, 2013
Cover Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Reviewed by: Kate
Kissing, references to sex, scene in a bondage club
A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city - for the undead!
Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can't take off her resume --- human.
Not to be put off by anything -- especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker -- Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble -- with Zoe right in the middle.
THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY has something for everybody, with brain eating action, mysterious constructs á la Frankenstein’s monster, and even a touch of very human romance. Some things didn't exactly do it for me — zombies, for example, aren't really up my alley — but overall, THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY is a lovely dive into Lafferty's world of monsters, or as they call themselves, coterie.
Since I've been known to root for the underdog, non-supernatural heroines thrust into worlds filled with magic, vampires and other paranormal phenomena are right up my alley. Luckily, Zoe doesn't disappoint. She has absolutely no idea what she’s getting into when she pushes Phillip, the head of the publishing company, for a job. She manages to acclimate to the world of the coterie just fine for the most part, aside from a few dead faints, vomiting spells, and trips to the bar. I liked Zoe because she was tenacious. Despite the fact that there was a lot going on outside (and inside) work, she still managed to create the outline for the guidebook, assign writers, and put it all together at the end. There are a bunch of other great characters too, including my favorite, Morgen the water sprite, who despite being a bit flighty and nosy, ends up being Zoe’s closest friend and a perfect guide for her (and the reader, by extension) to the coterie world.
There were a few things about THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY that were a tad annoying. One thing was the coincidences, for example, Zoe's neighbor is of course a member of Public Works (the organization the polices the coterie), and naturally the one person she was trying to avoid by moving to New York City ends up there. Another was the guidebook excerpts in between each chapter. Normally I love this kind of thing, but in this case, I don’t think it worked. The excerpts didn't really match what was going on in the chapter, and broke up the flow from one chapter to the next, especially near the end when I just wanted to get to the action! Luckily, those are minor issues, and not worth forgoing the entire book over.
As the book closes, Zoe mentions that Phillip is sending her to New Orleans to write a guidebook there, and it looks like the second book in The Shambling Guides series will be in a completely different area of the county, since it’s titled THE GHOST TRAIN TO NEW ORLEANS. It seems like the perfect place to continue the series, ripe with paranormal possibilities, and I can’t wait!
- The Shambling Guide to New York City
- The Ghost Train to New Orleans