Tag Archives: Naomi Novik

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
naked-city

Title: Naked City
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jim Butcher, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Kushner, Christopher Fowler, Patricia Briggs, Pat Cadigan, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Matthew Kressel, Kit Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Nathan Ballingrud, Melissa Marr, John Crowley, Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Caitlin R. Kiernan & Elizabeth Bear
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 28th June – 26th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Out in Brooklyn in a couple of spots you can walk down a street and almost think it’s a hundred and twenty-five years ago.

Synopsis

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’s “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 twenty authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed!

Thoughts

This is a seriously diverse collection of urban fantasy short stories. Not to mention fun and engaging. Probably moving right to the top of my list if I’m being honest. Normally my purview of urban fantasy is kind of small. But the breadth and width of these stories and the style in which they’re written… just wow.

I loved the fact that most of these short stories were standalones. I used to really enjoy finding new series through short stories and novellas. But, I have so many now that sometimes just reading a standalone without having to hunt out more of that world (I’m obsessive, I do this EVERY time) was kind of nice. I got a great taste of the imaginations and storytelling talents of a variety of authors, without actually feeling the need to buy more, more, more. Honestly, there is nothing worse than finding myself a new series to obsess over and then realising that I have a whole slew of new books to buy…

Although this is an urban fantasy collection, it does have a darker twist to it than usual. Every single one of these stories is a little bit dark, a lot bit fun and most don’t have a happy ending. Which, I tend to love, because I get a bit over all the happily ever afters… but it’s definitely something to keep in mind as you rip through the stories.

<- CorpsemouthCurses ->

Image source: Patricia Briggs

Priced to Sell by Naomi Novik

Overview
naked-city

Title: Priced to Sell
Author: Naomi Novik
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Urban fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 25th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: To make the day complete, after she’d gotten off the phone with the vampire, Jennifer’s phone went off with another all-caps CALL ME!!

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Real estate is a tough enough gig. But what happens when you are trying to find the paranormal beings that go bump in the night a home? When the homes are cursed? And your latest customer just happens to be Jekyll and Hyde…? Everything must be priced to sell.

Thoughts

We’ve just been through the process of trying to sell a house. So reading a short story about the difficulties of real estate felt a lot more real and hilarious than it probably would have previously. Especially the trying to sell your house in a way that matches your perspective buyers’ desires… the fact that there is a paranormal element added to this mix just made it all the more entertaining.

I had the pleasure of reading my first Naomi Novik story earlier in the month, and I absolutely adored it. However, I did wonder whether or not it was a once off, or all of her work had that same beautiful flavour. I’m pleased to announce that it wasn’t a fluke. She’s amazing. I need more of her. She takes me to many a happy place…

There were so many little threads running through this story. It wasn’t just a tale about one house and one client, but a number of them. There was a vampire, Jekyll & Hyde… and, my personal favourite, a cursed wall of bugs. All in all they combined to make the rigors of attempting to sell a house with paranormal influences downright hilarious. Impossible to forget, and an industry that I really, really want to read more about!

 <- Underbridge ReviewThe Bricks of Gelecek Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Overview
Image result for spinning silver book cover

Title: Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Magic, Retellings, Strong women
Dates read: 5th – 9th September 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: MacMillan
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I woke thinking not of my mother, but of the ring; I wanted a chance to touch it, to hold it.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

WILL DARK MAGIC CLAIM THEIR HOME?

Miryem is the daughter of a moneylender, but her father’s too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart to collect his debts. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets Miryem an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she dies. Yet if she triumphs, it could mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly involves the unhappy daughter of a lord.

Irina’s father schemes to wed her to the tsar. However, their dashing ruler hides a terrible secret that threatens mortals and winter alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will encompass sacrifice, power and love.

Thoughts

This is my first every Naomi Novik. I know that there’s been a lot of hype around her work, so I was kind of looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. And now I understand the fuss. It is well deserved fuss. This book was amazingly written, incredible fun and seriously intense. For some reason I was kind of expecting a young adult, easy read which would sweep me away to a beautiful, magical kingdom. This is not that book. This is a book about three different women and how they become the strong, independent women they need to be to defeat a great evil.

I normally struggle a little with storylines that jump between narrator voices. Especially when it isn’t necessarily clear who is the primary voice. The first few jumps between Miryem, Wanda and Irina kind of frustrated me because it was a little difficult to follow each storyline. And then I started recognising their narrations and their voices. Suddenly, I loved jumping between the three girls as they became women. Jumping across voices and storylines in a completely haphazard way which sucked me in completely.

One of the themes that is incredibly strong and prevalent throughout this story is the idea of paying what you are owed. Whether that was to the moneylender or paying the debts that you have accrued through your actions. It is this great reminder that every action has a consequence, and sometimes you have to face up to those at the worst possible moments. Although, this wasn’t entirely negative. Wanda helps to save Miryem because she feels like she owes her and is thankful to her actions. Miryem finds her own happily ever after partly because she honors another being and does what is right, rather than what is easy.

I love how each of the three women who are featured in this story come into their own powers under their own volition. They aren’t immediately strong. And all of the decisions that they make are for survival and their families – it’s not about suddenly being a grown up, but the process through which it occurs. There is a fantastic gradual change to the characters throughout. One which makes you reflect on your own life at sixteen and how you changed over those years (alright, I wasn’t getting married to demon spawn and fighting for the survival of the world, but still…)

 <- Will Supervillains be on the Final? ReviewUprooted Review ->
Image source: Pan MacMillan