Review: The Shambling Guide to New York City

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Thursday, August 15, 2013 Under: Book Review

The Shambling Guide to New York City 

by Mur Lafferty

The Shambling Guides 1

Urban Fantasy

Orbit, 2013

Paperback ¥1,384 (US$11.77)


Richly textured, well thought out, thrilling: ☆☆☆☆☆


I bought this book because I’m a fan of Mur’s podcast and had read her book, Playing For Keeps, a couple of months ago and loved it. I heard what everyone was saying about this book and, contrary to my normal policy of ignoring hype, I listened. The hype wasn’t wrong. This is a great book with interesting characters and a deliciously detailed setting.


A young woman, Zoë Norris, returns to New York after a workplace romance goes horribly wrong and she finds herself hiding from the man’s wife. In New York she starts looking for work and, looking failure in the face, finally finds a place that seems like it should be perfect only to be told that, really, she wouldn’t fit in. Zoë is persistent though and eventually gets her interview, only to find that all those people who were discouraging her were totally right, she doesn’t fit in. The company she wants to work at is owned and run by a vampire and every one of her colleagues is a creature out of myth – zombies, vampires, demons, sprites, goddesses, dragons, and Frankenstinian monsters. Zoë manages to weather this though, and is starting to get the hang of dealing on a day to day basis with people who see her as food when things take a serious turn for the worse. 


This reads like a thriller in many ways, with aspects of Hitchhiker’s Guide in the way it deals with the Ordinary Person suddenly thrust into a universe they never knew existed. Zoë is kickass. A strong-willed character who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to fight for it, but one who, like the rest of us, sometimes has doubts. She’s complicated, and reading about complicated people in extraordinary situations is always a joy.


In : Book Review 


Tags: "urban fantasy" "mur lafferty" "shambling guides" 
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Meet the scribbler


I'm a writer, editor, indie publisher, and dedicated Magic Spreadsheet user. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I've been living in Japan since 1995. I've had a life-long interest in writing and in speculative fiction. My first book was published in mid-2014.
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