Customer Reviews for

The Shambling Guide to New York City

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
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(7)

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(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Great Introduction to a New World

This is the first book I've read by the author, though I've heard of her for years. I am so sorry I haven't been paying attention! I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out, New Orleans sounds like it'll be awesome.

posted by Rissani on June 4, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

I've been a fan of Mur Lafferty's podcast, I Should Be Writing,

I've been a fan of Mur Lafferty's podcast, I Should Be Writing, for a while now, I've listened to her Marco and the Red Granny and Playing For Keeps (both available on Podiobooks), and was very excited when she sold her first book to a publisher. Mur loves her fans, so ...
I've been a fan of Mur Lafferty's podcast, I Should Be Writing, for a while now, I've listened to her Marco and the Red Granny and Playing For Keeps (both available on Podiobooks), and was very excited when she sold her first book to a publisher. Mur loves her fans, so one of the things she did was podcast her book for free. We're on an extremely tight budget right now, so although I wanted to buy the book I had to listen to the podcast and console myself that I would buy the sequel. 
The best thing about The Shambling Guide is that it's fun and fast-paced, and the main characters are colorful and engaging. I particularly liked Morgen the water sprite and the baker at the cafe, they stole the show at least half the time for me. There was snappy dialogue, descriptions that set the scene just enough without taking away the readers' ability to fill in some details on their own, and enough humor to make me chuckle on a number of occasions. I had a blast listening to it. Of course having the author read the book is an extra bonus because they put the emphasis where they want it to be, and the whole experience feels more intimate than when there's a professional voice actor in the picture. 
Lafferty's world-building skills deserve a special mention. There are zombies, vampires, golums, all of which roughly follow the traditional lore of being dangerous creatures, but the author has made them her own and humanized them along the way. Of course this happens when you are looking at them from inside their world and witness their weaknesses and their struggles to make it in a world where nobody's supposed to know about them. 
There's a lot to recommend this book, yet there was enough that didn't work for me to spoil the experience. Some characters came to life and some were pretty flat. Take Arthur the love interest, he was just a generic hot guy with a bunch of preconceived notions. The protagonist, Zoë, is too comfortable too soon in her new job and with her co-workers. Yeah, the pay is good and she needed the job, but she is almost blasé when it comes to the world of monsters where she suddenly finds herself. Would you be totally cool if you found out that your boss is a vampire (not vegetarian either) and that every one of your coworkers can kill you without exerting themselves too much? I know I wouldn't. 
There was a sex scene, which, although well-executed, didn't have to be there and didn't really do anything to move the story forward or develop any of the characters. (For fairness' sake I do have to admit that this is my usual complaint about sex scenes, and unless the book is a romance I'd rather authors kept them out of the story. After all, what exactly has to happen between the sheets to serve the story or character development? Off the top of my head, not too many options there.) The mystery at the center of the story was interesting and I was surprised to find out who the villain was, but there was so much going on during the final battle that frankly I lost track of it all and just waited for it to be over. If it was a paper book I would've skimmed the pages and gotten to the end. All in all I thought her shorter works were tighter and therefore more effective, the novel format allowed for too much room for digression. 
The Shambling Guide is a fun read and if you've had a stressful stretch it's just the thing to get your mind off the problems. Get the audio book to give you a charge for the work day or to help you unwind during your commute in the evening. It's not great, but for all its faults it is good enough to make me want to pick up the sequel, Ghost Train to New Orleans, and to hope that there will be a third book. After all, I believe writers get better with every new novel. Unless their work becomes formulaic, but that's a topic for another time.

posted by bolgai on January 29, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    Great Introduction to a New World

    This is the first book I've read by the author, though I've heard of her for years. I am so sorry I haven't been paying attention!

    I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out, New Orleans sounds like it'll be awesome.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I've been a fan of Mur Lafferty's podcast, I Should Be Writing,

    I've been a fan of Mur Lafferty's podcast, I Should Be Writing, for a while now, I've listened to her Marco and the Red Granny and Playing For Keeps (both available on Podiobooks), and was very excited when she sold her first book to a publisher. Mur loves her fans, so one of the things she did was podcast her book for free. We're on an extremely tight budget right now, so although I wanted to buy the book I had to listen to the podcast and console myself that I would buy the sequel. 
    The best thing about The Shambling Guide is that it's fun and fast-paced, and the main characters are colorful and engaging. I particularly liked Morgen the water sprite and the baker at the cafe, they stole the show at least half the time for me. There was snappy dialogue, descriptions that set the scene just enough without taking away the readers' ability to fill in some details on their own, and enough humor to make me chuckle on a number of occasions. I had a blast listening to it. Of course having the author read the book is an extra bonus because they put the emphasis where they want it to be, and the whole experience feels more intimate than when there's a professional voice actor in the picture. 
    Lafferty's world-building skills deserve a special mention. There are zombies, vampires, golums, all of which roughly follow the traditional lore of being dangerous creatures, but the author has made them her own and humanized them along the way. Of course this happens when you are looking at them from inside their world and witness their weaknesses and their struggles to make it in a world where nobody's supposed to know about them. 
    There's a lot to recommend this book, yet there was enough that didn't work for me to spoil the experience. Some characters came to life and some were pretty flat. Take Arthur the love interest, he was just a generic hot guy with a bunch of preconceived notions. The protagonist, Zoë, is too comfortable too soon in her new job and with her co-workers. Yeah, the pay is good and she needed the job, but she is almost blasé when it comes to the world of monsters where she suddenly finds herself. Would you be totally cool if you found out that your boss is a vampire (not vegetarian either) and that every one of your coworkers can kill you without exerting themselves too much? I know I wouldn't. 
    There was a sex scene, which, although well-executed, didn't have to be there and didn't really do anything to move the story forward or develop any of the characters. (For fairness' sake I do have to admit that this is my usual complaint about sex scenes, and unless the book is a romance I'd rather authors kept them out of the story. After all, what exactly has to happen between the sheets to serve the story or character development? Off the top of my head, not too many options there.) The mystery at the center of the story was interesting and I was surprised to find out who the villain was, but there was so much going on during the final battle that frankly I lost track of it all and just waited for it to be over. If it was a paper book I would've skimmed the pages and gotten to the end. All in all I thought her shorter works were tighter and therefore more effective, the novel format allowed for too much room for digression. 
    The Shambling Guide is a fun read and if you've had a stressful stretch it's just the thing to get your mind off the problems. Get the audio book to give you a charge for the work day or to help you unwind during your commute in the evening. It's not great, but for all its faults it is good enough to make me want to pick up the sequel, Ghost Train to New Orleans, and to hope that there will be a third book. After all, I believe writers get better with every new novel. Unless their work becomes formulaic, but that's a topic for another time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    I been listening to Mur Lafferty's podcast for years. When I hea

    I been listening to Mur Lafferty's podcast for years. When I heard the first chapter of this book from her feed, I was hooked. Mur is a very talented writer, don't pass up a chance to get this book. You will be hooked as well.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Fun!

    I read Lafferty's _Playing for Keeps_ and loved it, so I decided to give this book a try. It is very different, but just as good. The world is very fully realized, and the characters are diverse and interesting. Great for fans of the UK "Being Human".

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Oh goodness yes. Fun twist to the city of New York and story.

    Zoe has moved back to her home city, New York City, after a terrible incident with her last boss and...his unbeknownst to her, wife. She has some money to live off of, but needs a job. She is a wiz at travel guides and the book store and coffee shop she stumbles into has the perfect add on it's board.

    Zoe feels she's a perfect fit. The owner...not so much. Zoe learns of the special employees and that she might be in mortal danger from them. These beings are all through the city. Then the danger she comes upon with the city as a whole. Zoe tries to balance the attacks on her, find out who and why they are after New York City, and finish a layout for the new Travelers guide all at the same time.

    Mur takes New York City and twists what we know to the supernatural lives as well. What we know as one meaning also has another to the supernatural world. We start with the implications and feelings there is something off with a few places. We are human and the supernatural do hide themselves rather well, but we the readers are looking for it and see the small flickers in their glamour. ;)

    The first chapter left me wanting more. I was curious to what the world is like behind the curtains we don't know are there. I did get the feel there were some supernatural in the world. And when Zoe was talking about the publishing company; on yes, something was going on.

    Zoe's personality is perfect. One that takes things in stride, and what she learns about what's been in New York City all these years, and everywhere, trips her up for a heartbeat but she goes on. She needs the job to badly and finds it all interesting at the same time. I love her thinking process on the monsters in the city. They'd been here for some time, so why was it different from last week? I love seeing Zoe interact with the "monsters" and all that is present in the world. The connections of Zoe's life to what's happening around the Coterie is not viewed as a coincidence by the Coterie. There is more to it. Then we meet Zoe's neighbor, nice young man, Arthur. But Arthur has a secret as well.

    I love that we get Zoe's story and clips from her guide book at the end of each chapter. The clips give an insight to what we've already learned, places we've visited, and what's to come.

    This story has a blend of everything here. Fun. Supernatural. Story that grows as we get more and more acquainted with the world. And a spark of relationships. Definitely a must buy series for me! Mur is wonderful at weaving fun into a story. She has a great cast of characters and twists things with a supernatural element along with her quick one liners that make me chuckle. Mur weaves a whole system to the supernatural world. One that keeps it secret to the human world as well.

    Thank you Mur, and Orbit, for podcasting this book. I loved every minute of listening to it and HAD to get the book! I want this to show off and go back through.

    This fun humored read and story is one I'll suggest to many for the fun and world. You'll be flipping the pages to learn what next is in this world and the humor that will come with it. Then, you'll find you are sucked in to a story that you didn't see coming.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    Good book, with fun characters, but not as great as I'd hoped it

    Good book, with fun characters, but not as great as I'd hoped it would be. It contradicts itself several times, which is annoying (or arguably one of the characters does, so maybe it's just him, but none of the other characters pick up it, suggesting it's not).
    A fun read, despite the contradictions and occasional plot hole, but it's definitely less 'Zoe is putting together a supernatural travel book' and more 'Zoe fights monsters, and occasionally claims to be a book editor'.
    Also, heads up for the sudden sex scene in the middle of the book, it's brief but graphic enough that I wouldn't give this book to a 13 year old. If your teenager wants to read this, I suggest reading it yourself first and deciding if you think it's appropriate.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    competent but a bit bland

    This book has everything one expects in a modern urban fantasy. The plot moves along nicely, the protagonist is a reasonably smart, tough chick with a little hidden twist, magic doesn't entirely hang together with itself or reality as we generally know it. Speaking as a native New Yorker, the book is peculiarly lacking in New York flavor, despite presenting that flavor as a big element of the plot's own raison d'être. Enjoyable but not groundbreaking; recommended as an easy intro or a fan's regular fare for the genre.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    awesome read

    awesome read

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    Unique story line.

    Check it out. A very different story line. Characters are interesting
    and fun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Good read

    At first I wasn't sure about the book, but the title intrigued me. Am reading book 2 now and can't wait for the next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    A great sequel

    This book follows the shamblers guide to New York and is a great sequel and stands pretty well on its own too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Great!

    Oh wow!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    Terrific!

    Fun urban fantasy with an engaging heroine, a tour book writer & editor. Zoe's returned home to NYC after a disastrous affair. Between dragonish booksellers, peculiar bakers, and a run-in with a vampire, she falls into the perfect job: writing a travel guide for the supernaturals.
    There are introductory bits to each chapter with amusing anecdotes for the traveler, and an exciting adventure/romance for Zoe.

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  • Posted December 9, 2013

    A highly enjoyable book. I found Zoe and the supporting characte

    A highly enjoyable book. I found Zoe and the supporting characters to be highly believable. Zoe doesn’t make all the right decisions, and she doesn’t come through the battles miraculously unscathed. Instead, she muddles through and manages to come out right in the end because she’s willing to make friends in unlikely places. I love the concept of a travel guide for the coterie and the excerpts at the end of each chapter were some of my favorite parts of the book. Lafferty also does a great job with the coterie – no sparkling vampires or mindless zombies here. Nothing too deep, but it’s fun and exciting, and I’m curious to see what Zoe does next in Ghost Train to New Orleans

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    Scourge

    "Why? Why would you kill yourself because of some stupid event on a nook?"

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Damien

    Walks into his house and sighs

    0 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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