Naked City

Tales of Urban Fantasy

"Urban fantasy as we have come to know it today combines the often-dark edge of city living with enticing worlds of magic. Its subgenres include noir crime and paranormal romance. But the urban landscape is what's crucial." Such is editor, Ellen Datlow's definition of contemporary urban fantasy. In Naked City , 20 stories that exemplify that definition are shared. Each has a different author and each has a different take on urban fantasy yet each has an urban center that is central to the story.

The locals that form the backdrop to the stories are as diverse as New York City and Butte , MT. There are also made up cities and worlds that may or may not reflect life on Earth. Each local is some sort of urban center and filled with life, though some of that life may magical or other worldly.

The magical or fae characters are as diverse as the cities they live in. In Chicago , Jim Butcher has his famous wizard, Harry Dresden. Except for the fact that Harry is a wizard, he appears as normal as anyone else. But in the very next story, How the Pooka Came to New York City, the Pooka is in the shape of a dog which is good as they usually have hooves and are generally pretty good size.

Likewise, none of the stories follow the same story line. One story, Priced to Sell by Naomi Novik, seems to be based on the HGTV show Selling New York. Others use characters and storylines from a series that they are already writing, such as Jim Butcher. All are unique and reflect the diversity of writing that falls under urban fantasy.

I loved some of the stories and didn't so much like others. I knew a few of the authors, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs and Naomi Novik, but had never heard of any of the others. A few, I liked. A few, I didn't. Still, it gave me an idea of how these new to me authors wrote. I didn't really see any story that I would classify as romantic urban fantasy which is a shame because there are some excellent writers in the genre.

If you like urban fantasy or would like to see if it is your cup of tea, this would be an excellent book to read. You will get a broad spectrum of ideas and writing styles. Like me, I'm sure you will find some that fit and others that don't. But each authors gives you enough of a story that you can really get a sense of their writing. Of course, for others, this book will just let you enjoy authors that you already know and love.

Book Blurb for Naked City

In this thrilling collection of original stories some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s ”Curses” Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’ “Fairy Gifts,” a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead,” the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot,” a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from 20 authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous and fantastical collection is sure to have readers coming back for more.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2011 4.50