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CITY OF ROSES

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 details just as I’d imagine they’d happen, without pausing for unnecessary signifiers. Other times it’s bothersome and obviously out-of-step with normal grammar, which usually happens during slower sections of the tale. It took some getting used-to, but once I adapted to it I found myself unwittingly slipping into that cadence whenever I typed.

The characters are usually unique and interesting. The author utilizes a good cross-section of what would normally be considered the fringe of society—people with dreadlocks, punks, the homeless, goths, telemarketers, etc. These people typically play an important role in the fae underworld, which makes their outsider appearance even more enjoyable.

There’s definitely a hint of Gaiman’s Neverwhere in this particular style of urban fantasy. There’s a whole world that exists alongside ours, but it’s structured along the lines of high fantasy kingdoms. This image is completed by focusing on kings, queens, dukes, knights, hunts, balls, and much more.

One interesting quick for the fae is that they slip in-and-out of human consciousness. The fae could party all night with a human without the mortal remembering the next day. They’re also capable of wiping humans away from the urban area they’re in, so that only the fae and the chosen mortals are able to move around. It makes certain battle scenes and hunts all the more attractive, because they’re taking place in such everyday places as abandoned malls, freeways, parking garages, and clubs.

There’s also a distinct lack of what’s commonly become associated with urban fantasy, such as werewolves, vampires, witches, etc. While there are fae, they don’t typically resemble modern interpretations of the fae in urban fantasy—it seems to appear only in the facts that they’re immortal (unless hurt by a human), that their currency seems to be fairy dust, and that some names are taken from famous fae.

The author manages to skillfully weave in subplots and intrigue without them becoming a distraction. After six chapbooks, several sub-points are still unclear—the purpose of the wild nicknames (things like Axe, Chariot, Mooncalfe, etc), the ties between various members of the court, what Ysabel’s plans are, where Joe’s ultimate alliance will be, and whether or not readers will ever discover what’s playing on Roland’s headphones. With each new chapter as many questions are raised as answers given, and yet it’s never anything that detracts from the plot.

If you like urban fantasy, this story is a something you should check out. Even if you only peek into it for the unique style, don’t pass it up. The characters, subplots, and intrigue are bound to drag you under the story’s spell.

3 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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