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City of Roses by Kip Manley

A Serialized Phantastick on The Ten Thousand Things & The One True Only 

City of Roses is about what happens when Jo Maguire, a highly strung underemployed telemarketer, meets Ysabel Perry, a princess of unspecifiable pedigree. It’s also about hearts broken cleanly and otherwise, the City of Portland, Spenser, those moments in pop songs when the bass and all of the drums except maybe a handclap suddenly drop out of the bridge leaving you hanging from a slender aching thread of melody waiting almost dreading the moment when the beat comes back, and the occasional swordfight.

Note: City of Roses contains some graphic sexual content, graphic violence, and harsh language.

An ongoing series, with new episodes sporadically

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Listed: Sep 1, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

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Lyrical, sensual, and cryptic

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Nov 22, 2009: Grungy call centre worker Jo Maguire’s life takes a turn for the surreal when she ends up at a distinctly otherworldly party, gets challenged to a duel, and becomes the guardian of a flighty and headstrong fae princess who loves hanging out in alt.music night clubs but has only the dimmest concept of how common mortals deal with chores like earning money and doing laundry. With Lady Ysabel and Jo now bound together as constant companions, Jo is plunged into the dangerous and mysterious political power games of the supernatural beings who dwell beyond the veil of ordinary perception in the city of Portland, Oregon. And Ysabel has to learn to conduct phone surveys on consumer preferences for mutual funds.

As other reviewers have noted, the style is lush, lyrical, sensual, edgy, and evocative, like a rich, dark brocade embroidered with gold thread and rare gems. As the plot deepens and more characters are introduced, it does start to jump around more and parts of the narrative become a bit of a challenge to follow. If you like your storytelling straightforward and down to earth, this might not be for you. But if you can tolerate, or even delight in, some moments of bemused befuddlement, you may willingly pay the price to cross over into the mists of this urban fairyland.

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Breathless Anticipation

By Morgan O'Friel, editor

Dec 20, 2008: The first thing I noticed upon viewing the site was that the author utilizes a heavily stylized form of sentence prose. The rhythm of the sentences can get choppy in some areas and overly-long in others. This style’s employed, as far as I can tell, to attempt to mirror the way that people experience the world around them.

Sometimes, particularly in fight scenes or at dances, this works wonderfully; it picks me up and scurries me along with a flurry of [more . . .]

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Beauty, grit, and song

By Sarah Suleski, editor, author of Sidonie

Sep 1, 2008: When I first I click on a link to web serial it’s without any intention of reading it right then and there. I just want to have a nose around the site, scan a few paragraphs, look at some pictures if there are any, and decide if it’s of interest to me and how soon I may return to read further.

I did that with City of Roses and after an hour found that I had read all of Act One [more . . .]

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Show Don’t Tell

By M.E.Traylor, member

Aug 6, 2010: I nearly didn’t read this story the first time I came across it, because I read the first two scenes, and foresaw angst of an unpalatable nature. Then I came across it again through an ad, and kept reading. I am enjoying myself, a LOT. There is angst, but it’s working.

I am continually drawn to stories that don’t hand me the answers. That provide me with what I need to know, then let me —make me— use my skills of [more . . .]

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Fairies invade my hometown! eek!

By MeiLin Miranda, author of The Machine God

Dec 6, 2009: I just started reading this, primarily because it’s set in my hometown of Portland. I’m not very far in, but I’m already hooked.

Con: It’s written in present tense, which is hard to pull off and usually annoys me.

Pro: Kip’s pulling it off, using it to write cinematically rather than dramatically, if that makes any sense.

If ever a town could plausibly [more . . .]

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