Book Review #31: The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

Title: The Shambling Guide to New York City
Author: Mur LaffertyShambling Guide
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Available Formats: Dead tree, ebook, audiobook and podcast for another week
Rating: Adult content warning

Mur Lafferty has been reviewed here more than once. She has appeared on my podcast. She is an active part of the twitter community I often visit. She recently found a home with Orbit books and is now releasing her Shambling Guide series

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: 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.

Setting; New York City. However, this is not your father’s New York City. Unless your father was a vampire. Or maybe a zombie. The New York City in Ms. Lafferty’s book hosts a whole other population living in relative obscurity. This population consists of every monster or fantasy creature ever known. They are called Codery and live in an uneasy balance with humans and are policed by the Public Works office.

Plot: The plot of this book is actually quite well summarized in the above synopsis. Zoe learns to live in both worlds while dealing with a problem from her past that might end the future of everyone in NYC. Only Zoe and a few of her friends stand in the way of the end of New York City.

Characters: Zoe is human, but she has friends in all of the major race groups. Ms. Lafferty has done a good job of differentiating the races and describing how they are all able to cohabit the city without running afoul of one another.

Odin’s recommendation: Again, I admit, I don’t enjoy overly descriptive adult situations in my books. Yes, you can read that as sex. With that being said, you can skip chapter 14 completely and it won’t affect the story at all. I know, because after realizing what chapter 14 was about, that is what I did and I suffered not at all throughout the rest of the story. Initially I was hesitant to pick up this book because of the word shambling in the title. I will confess, I’ve simply had enough of zombies. I truly just can’t get myself to read about them. However, when Ms. Lafferty announced Orbit was allowing her to release this story as a podcast (more about that in a moment), well… how could I resist? Once I realized that the zombies in the story are rather minor characters and the book was about the supernatural element living in our mundane world, I was much more interested.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone that likes a monster story that isn’t a horror story. Ms. Lafferty most often writes with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, and this is no exception.

I posted a pic of myself holding the book, because I wanted to prove that I had bought it (well, as much as a book being held is proof), and if you’re a fan of Ms. Lafferty, I think you should too. However, if you simply don’t have time to read (as I find myself more and more these days), you can download the audiobook in podcast form for free. At least for the next week or so. I believe Ms. Lafferty stated December 5th would be the final day the podcast would be available. As she states however, if you can afford to buy it, please do. I enjoy being able to listen to a story without being charged for the audiobook, and perhaps if this experiment works well, Orbit will allow the sequel to be made available for free in audio form as well.

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