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The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides) Paperback – May 28, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Shambling Guides Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Most new hires try to negotiate a higher salary. When Zoe takes a job editing a new travel-book series for Underground Publications, she needs to decide whether to get paid in hell notes, blood tokens, occult favors, or regular dollars. In Lafferty’s entirely believable world, New York City is secretly inhabited by vampires, zombies, fay folk, and assorted monsters. Public Works not only takes care of streets and sanitation, they are also responsible for keeping the balance between humans and “coterie”—the preferred term for nonhumans. Zoe’s pretty tough, and she thinks she can handle her assignment of creating a coterie guidebook to the city. But she’s ill-prepared for what awaits her in the underworld and soon finds herself succumbing to the erotic advances of an incubus coworker, tracking down raging zombies, and ultimately getting involved in an epic battle for the (literal) soul of the city. This is a funny, thoughtfully conceived, and thoroughly entertaining romp that will be a sure bet for urban-fantasy readers—and might even surprise people who don’t think they’d enjoy a paranormal novel. --Rebecca Vnuk

Review

"If Buffy grew up, got therapy and found a real job, it would look like this."―Scott Sigler

"Mur Lafferty's debut novel is a must-read book for those who like their urban fantasy fast, furious, and funny. Terrific stuff!"―Kat Richardson

"This is a great start to what promises to be one of the gems of the comic urban fantasy crown. The Shambling Guide sets the wonderful world of the supernatural--and the slightly more esoteric world of travel guide publishing--on its ear, and the result is nothing short of delightful."―New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire

"An engagingly funny, and fun, romp through NYC. You'll love Zoe... to bits."―New York Times bestselling Tobias S. Buckell

"Shows exactly why so many writers have been buzzing about Mur Lafferty for so many years: an unbeatable mixture of humor, heart, imagination, and characterization. I want to live in Mur's New York."―Cory Doctorow

"Without Mur Lafferty, the SF genre would be a much duller place. Mur is constantly inventive, always great fun and deserves every success."―Paul Cornell

"A wild ride through the secret side of New York City, Mur Lafferty's mighty debut is urban fantasy the way it should be: fast, funny, with bags of action and characters you'll love. A total delight from cover to cover."―Adam Christopher


"The Shambling Guide to New York City is a monstrously fun romp by one of our most engaging new authors."―Tim Pratt


"Zombies and vampires and golems, oh my! The Shambling Guide to New York City rounds up the biggest cast of the undead and never-quite-alive ever to appear in a single novel, along with a wisecracking heroine whose picture belongs over the dictionary entry for spunky. This is a comic tour-de-force by a writer who lives and breathes popular culture. Mur Lafferty is throwing a monster party and you're invited."
James Patrick Kelly, Hugo and Nebula Award Winner



"Mur Lafferty is a bright, shining light in speculative fiction. She brings a warm, humourous and startling fresh voice to the genre in The Shambling Guide to New York City."
Kaaron Warren



"Looking for a very different kind of travel guide? One that shows you the real Manhattan? The one the tourists haven't discovered yet, but the vampires and the watersprites have? Then The Shambling Guide to New York City is just what you need!

With really interesting restaurant recs and sightseeing suggestions, and unusual (to say the least) takes on the Statue of Liberty and Grant's Tomb, it's got everything you need to know for the trip of a lifetime--or longer! And with the smart and intrepid Zoe to show you around, how could you possibly get in trouble? I give it 5 Michelin stars and 8 Zombie Planet Thumbs Up (with real thumbs)!"
Connie Willis

"What, you thought only humans wanted to travel? Monsters are tourists, too."―New York Times bestseller Scott Sigler

"The hip, knowing and sometimes hysterically funny narrative, interspersed with excerpts from the guide of the title, lurches along in splendid fashion. Combine wit, style and acute observation: the result is irresistible."―Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Charming debut... an enjoyable tour of the city's supernatural side."―Publishers Weekly

"The Shambling Guide to New York City shows that Mur Lafferty has something different to bring to the urban fantasy genre. She's created a character that can experience the human/non-human dynamic via researching a travel guide, which we'd never see through the usual detectives and ass-kicking central characters, and with snappy dialogue, a creative cast and can-do central characters, we have fun tagging along."―Gavin Pugh, tor.com

"In Lafferty's entirely believable world, New York City is secretly inhabited by vampires, zombies, fay folk, and assorted monsters. ... This is a funny, thoughtfully conceived, and thoroughly entertaining romp that will be a sure bet for urban-fantasy readers - and might even surprise people who don't think they'd enjoy a paranormal novel."

Booklist (Starred Review)

"Well-written and immersive...a travel series you'll definitely want to stick with."―SFX

"An extremely exciting and incredibly amusing read."―SciFiNow.co.uk (5 stars)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Shambling Guides (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316221171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316221177
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Crist on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Mur Lafferty's work for years, most notably the Afterlife series and the criminally-underappreciated "Marco and the Red Granny" as well as many of her short stories, and I was very excited to be able to check out her first officially-published book. I was definitely not disappointed - this is a wonderfully fun story with a very clever take on a world where vampires, sprites, goddesses, golems, and zombies live among us, their secrecy maintained through the vigilant ignorance of human society.

The biggest difference between this and Ms. Lafferty's earlier work is that the narration seems more conversational and witty throughout. I often found myself laughing at the way situations were presented as much as I did the situations themselves. The protagonist is believable and very easy to root for as she faces down both supernatural and human challenges in various combinations, the supporting cast is a fantastically unique array of monsters (sorry, coterie) that have in most cases managed to find a way to pull together despite their oft-conflicting and occasionally-horrific needs, and the mix of humor, tension, horror, character-building, and epic spectacle is dead on.

I'm definitely in for the rest of the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On the one hand I'm not sure how to review this book. I expected something along the lines of tongue-in-cheek humor and writing (kind of like The Princess Bride) in which Lafferty subverts the supernatural genre while still somehow adhering to it.

We have Zoe, who made some really bad decisions as part of her last job in publishing and is now desperate to put it all behind her. So desperate that she ignores the iota of self-preservation she seems to have, follows a shady, kind of flirty man into a condemned looking building on the off chance he may actually work with the OTHER shady guy she had met earlier at an even SHADIER bookstore who was posting up a job notice. Both of whom told her to run away, several times, because she wasn't suited for the job.

But Zoe prides herself on fitting in! She's a little shaky on if they turn out to be skinheads or a cult, but any other type of people she can totally fit right into and she is OUTRAGED that these people are telling her otherwise. Who are they to know if she's able to fit in? She's adaptable! She's qualified! Affirmative Action!

And so begins her adventures in the Coterie (read: MONSTER, Boogedy-Boogedys, Supernatural, Paranormal, Freaky) World.

Here's the thing, the book goes on at length to explain that Zoe is very qualified (from a publishing perspective) for the job of Managing Editor, but how is that exactly? She's literally learning from a point of no knowledge about the Coterie World at all. Call me odd, but wouldn't it make more sense to have someone supervising (and writing! She was writing part of the books!) who understood that you shouldn't look this type of Coterie in the eye and you shouldn't allow this type to touch you?
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Format: Kindle Edition
REVIEW SUMMARY: A fun story of New York City's monsters trying to destroy a likable writer who just wants to get over her past, meet a good guy, and finish her tour guide of the city's secret culture.

MY RATING: 3 Stars

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A down-and-out writer is hired by a monster-run publishing company to write a tour guide to the monster underbelly of New York City. Her research leads to attacks by incubuses, zombies, golems and a secret villain who wants to turn the city on its head and unleash the brewing war between human and monster.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Likable heroine; fun supporting cast; creative world building that almost makes you want this kind of New York City to exist; establishes setting for many exciting stories.
CONS: The safeguards that allowed the heroine to intermingle with the monster culture also guarded the reader from feeling truly afraid for her life; humor fell flat too often; the ending jeopardizes future interest in this series.
BOTTOM LINE: The Shambling Guide to New York City starts out well enough to keep you reading, gets even better in the middle, and may or may not satisfy in the end. Unfortunately, for this reader the ending watered down the experience.

In The Shambling Guide to New York City, the main character, Zoe, is immediately likable. She acknowledges a somewhat innocent mistake that has caused her to start fresh where she grew up, New York City. The book makes a profound statement about how a city can feel alive, which created a strong connection to the heroine's perspective and a desire to live this story through her. She is not only perceptive to the surreal, but she's also desperate to survive and succeed.
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Format: Paperback
What it's about: I ended up reading this on a whim (and because the concept was so unique and fun ... I'm a huge Ugly Americans fan), and I'm glad I did. It was funny, and I found a great new author. Zoe is in New York City with a brand new job, one where she works with monsters and writes for monsters. Zoe is smack dab in the middle of death goddesses, vampires, and all sorts of creatures. And then the balance between monsters and humanity tilts ...

Why you should read it: Once in a while I'm a fan of the kind of book that just makes me laugh. I haven't read this author before and I enjoyed her voice. I loved the guides in the beginning of the chapters (though they didn't match the chapters always). The next book is supposedly in New Orleans (RT14!!), so I will be reading that one. If you want some urban fantasy with humor and spice, pick up The Shambling Guide to New York City.

For more check out the HEA Blog
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