the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘urban fantasy’ Category

flex cover artFlex, by Ferrett Steinmetz

published March 3, 2015

where I got it: received eARC from the author (Thanks Ferrett!)

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I’m a tough customer with many Urban Fantasy titles. I tend to either really like the book, or be bored out of my mind by it, and I struggle with understanding why some UF books rock my world and why others don’t work for me. Luckily, Ferrett Steinmetz’s Flex falls firmly and undoubtedly in the first camp. He takes the “people learn how to do magic, will they use it for good or ill?” question and blows it right open, exposing the soft underbelly of a society that first resorts to fear and violence when faced with something they don’t understand.  And I fricken’ loved every word of it.  The magic is weird and soul-crushingly expensive, the characters are fantastic, the stakes are high, and the story is intimate. That my friends, is what I’m always looking for.

 

Allow me to set the stage: Insurance agent Paul Tsabo is still in shock over his recent divorce, still trying to make his new apartment look fun and friendly to his six year old daughter Aliyah. An ex-police officer, he lost a foot in the event that brought his police career to a screeching halt. It’s okay though, Paul actually loves doing paperwork and investigating insurance fraud.  The stingy insurance company he works for loves him too – he saves them a fortune in paying out claims. After all, if the injury or damage was caused by ‘mancy, it’s not covered by insurance. Paul can sniff out ‘mancy like the best of them, because after all, he is a ‘mancer. He loves the idea that his forms and paperwork can track anything that happens, or anything that someone wants to happen.

 

No one really understands how magic works, but everyone knows three things: Your ‘mancy is directly connected to what you love; physics and magic do not get along and the side effects of ‘mancy are often fatal; and if caught doing ‘mancy you are arrested, mind-wiped, and given a life time membership to the military hive mind. Very few people understand how ‘mancy works, and since it’s illegal to learn about it or discuss it, finding what knowledge does exist is even harder.

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I have a guest post over at Bastard Books today, and we’re talking Urban Fantasy.  Or, to be more specific, why most UF turns me off.   There’s already some interesting conversations going on the comments.

leave it to Bastard to get me to lay my soul bare.

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snarky snippet:

So much of the urban fantasy I see when I go to Barnes and Noble these days seems like a fashion spread for really tight pants, anorexia, and neat tattoos. A stupid reason to be sure, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the cover art on a lot of these books is a major turn off to me. Judging a book by the cover? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. . .

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Storm Front (Dresden Files, book 1), by Jim Butcher

Published in 2000

where I got it: purchased new

why I read it: wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

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Everyone knows who Jim Butcher is, how can you not?   I even watched the short lived Dresden Files tv show that ran as an aperitif for Battlestar Galactica. I must live under a rock, as I’ve never read a single Harry Dresden novel.

Until now.

It’s Chicago police noir, except the expert on retainer to the police department is a wizard. And broke. And usually in some kind of trouble with the wizard-y council. And electronics hate him. And as the bodies start to pile up, Harry Dresden, wizard, quickly becomes the prime suspect.

Juggling the lovely but cold Karrin Murphy at the Chicago Police department, his new private client Monica Sells, the flirtatious tabloid journalist Susan Rodriguez, and a deadly vampiress who runs a high end brothel, Harry Dresden has enough on his plate that he shouldn’t have to worry about some dark rogue wizard ripping the still beating hearts out his victims.  Too bad this weekend is all work and no play for the only professional wizard in Chicago.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.