Hello everyone, welcome to the bargain book review! The concept is simple: to find out if those dollar store books are ever worth the purchase. So today, guest reviewer, Morgan, is going to review one such book she found in the bargain section: “The Shambling Guide to New York City” by Mur Lafferty.
The first in the series, the book stars Zoë Norris, a mortal woman who has recently had to make some life changes due to a bad breakup with her former boss and has moved to New York City. She is looking for a publishing job when she finds a small publisher looking for someone to create a travel guide for NYC. The catch? It turns out that it’s a guide for modern supernatural creatures, collectively known as coterie. So begins her journey into learning what the coterie culture is and how she can develop the appropriate travel guide.
As someone who loves urban fantasy, I enjoyed every moment of this book. Lafferty has enjoyable characters and witty interaction among all of them, highlighting the fact that her protagonist Zoë is thirtysomething and has had life experience before. While new to the coterie and its subcultures, including BDSM clubs, Zoë is a competent woman with her own problem solving abilities. She does need a save by her coterie coworkers every once in a while, but she is never treated like she is unable to do simple tasks. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite parts of the entire novel and Lafferty has telepathically heard my pleas for such a protagonist written in a third-person point of view.
Some drawbacks on the novel are based on why I love it so much: its niche. Lafferty has experience in podcasting and writing in the geeky subculture, including fanfic. As a fanfic reader myself, I feel like her writing style reflects what I search for: subversion of troupes, references to kink culture, queer characters, well-researched mythology. I understand, however, that this could be off-putting to others who have not experienced a transformative fiction culture.
If you love travel, research, and a little bit of supernatural drama of the coworker variety, I highly recommend this book for you.
Get the book wherever bargain books are sold or use this handy Amazon link for the paperback: