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Topic: 2012 Fantasy Challenge -- Urban Fantasy Discussion

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Subject: 2012 Fantasy Challenge -- Urban Fantasy Discussion
Date Posted: 12/1/2011 4:31 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Please post all your discussion of books filling this category in this thread.

 

A Useful Definition

Urban Fantasy: Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting.

 

LISTS ONLY thread can be found here.



Last Edited on: 12/1/11 4:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2012 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,968
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Urban Fantasy
1. Read an urban fantasy set pre-1400.
2. Read an urban fantasy set between 1400 and 1900.
3. Read an urban fantasy set post 1900.  Stormwalker by Allyson James  (The heroine is renovating a hotel in the desert town of Magellan.)  Enjoyed this read immensely.  The story slowly develops until it whirls into action and one finds it difficult to lay aside.  Janet Begay is a stormwalker, one who can harness the energy of wind, lightening and water of a thunderstorm.  What she doesn't know is that Mick, her handsome protective boyfriend is a dragon who has taken human form to murder her.  Janet's evil mother rules beneath but cannot come out for any length of time without Jamet's help who is a blend of earth and beneath magics.  Janet cherishes her earthbound friends and has no intention of joining her mother or letting her mother move freely in the land she loves, particularly when she discovers that when her mother leaves a possessed woman she dies.  However, Mick is not certain about Janet's motives.  Neither is Coyote who watches her every move.  The author has done an outstanding job of blending the mythology of the native tribes of the Southwest with magic, evil and good. So the forces duel for control of the land and provide an exciting reading experience and find one eagerly wanting to read the next book in the series, Firewalker.
4. Read an urban fantasy set in Europe.  Clockwork Prince by Casanadra Clare.  Enjoyed following the adventures of Tessa, Jem, Will, Charlotte, Henry and others as Benedict Lightwood challenges Charlotte's ability to rule the London Institute.  Mortmain and his army of automatons intend to bring down the clave.  Nate, Tessa's brother, is one of those committed to Mortmain.  So is Jessamine whose treachery is discovered by Will and Tessa.  A surprising twist to the story finds Tessa becoming engaged but her heart is broken in two once she makes this commitment.  While I enjoyed this read I do think the author could have been more concise in telling it.  Good read, nevertheless!  

5. Read an urban fantasy set in Asia.
6. Read an urban fantasy set in Africa.
7. Read an urban fantasy set in the Americas.  Firewalker by Allyson James.   (The heroine is renovating a hotel in the desert town of Magellan.)  Enjoyed this read immensely.  The story slowly develops until it whirls into action and one finds it difficult to lay aside.  Janet Begay is a stormwalker, one who can harness the energy of wind, lightening and water of a thunderstorm.  What she doesn't know is that Mick, her handsome protective boyfriend is a dragon who has taken human form to murder her.  Janet's evil mother rules beneath but cannot come out for any length of time without Jamet's help who is a blend of earth and beneath magics.  Janet cherishes her earthbound friends and has no intention of joining her mother or letting her mother move freely in the land she loves, particularly when she discovers that when her mother leaves a possessed woman she dies.  However, Mick is not certain about Janet's motives.  Neither is Coyote who watches her every move.  The author has done an outstanding job of blending the mythology of the native tribes of the Southwest with magic, evil and good. So the forces duel for control of the land and provide an exciting reading experience and find one eagerly wanting to read the next book in the series, Firewalker.

8. Read an urban fantasy set in Oceania.

9. Read an urban fantasy set in a secondary world.
10. Read a contemporary rural fantasy.



Last Edited on: 5/5/12 5:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 13
Date Posted: 1/19/2012 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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I've been reading The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne Valete. I wedged it into the pre-1400 urban fantasy catagory, considering most of the tales take place in some sort of city, if not always the same one.  I'm beginning to enjoy it much more now that Valente has given up the clunky similes. For the first half of the book it seemed like she was only using simile because she thought every other sentence should have one, even if she couldn't think of a decent one. I guess her editor got tired of it halfway through as well, and told her to knock it off. After awhile the flow of language relaxes and fits with the flow of the storylines. The way the stories bleed into each other produces a nice, dreamy effect, like when you sleep in and dream so deep you it takes you awhile to remember where you are when you wake up.

Date Posted: 1/20/2012 3:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
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I've used The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells as urban secondary world fantasy slot.  It takes place in Noble Houses, back alleys, sewers, Palaces and prisons of an imaginary city of Ile-Rien.  There is magic, gaslights and ghouls.  This book starts off with a daring robbery during a house party of one of the Great Nobles and doesn't slow down.  There is also a clever tribute to Doyle's Holmes and Watson. As the protagonist is a son of a disgraced noble family who is a retiring art importer by day and a master crimal at night, I think this book could also fit the protagonist as anti hero and the high fantasy anti hero categories.  It would also fit the woman author, urban fantasy 1400 to 1900, secondary world high fantasy, world with magic, and possibly the sword and sorcery category.

Date Posted: 1/27/2012 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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Do you ever grab a book off your TBR pile, and upon reading the first few chapters, wonder just what you were thinking when you put that book on your list in the first place? Sixty-one Nails is that book for me. So far it's an unimaginitive rehashing of fairy lore, smashed into a facimile of Gaiman's Neverwhere. It's becoming a little more interesting now that the plot has moved beyond "run for your liiiiiives!", but I don't think it's ever going to become something more than fluff.

Date Posted: 1/30/2012 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,378
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Hmm, bummer.  It's on my TBR too.  And I have that thought frequently - I'm trying to be better about giving up and reposting the mistakes.  ;)

Date Posted: 1/31/2012 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Jules Verne was like that for me.  I didn't even make it to the second chapter of Around the World in 80 Days last week and his chapters are really short.  I have no clue why I even tried to read it -- reading a book by Verne is like trying to watch a nature documentary on TV while blindfolded.

Thanks for the info on Sixty-one Nails.  This is one of the freebie books I picked up and I've been wondering if it was any good.

Subject: Definitions?
Date Posted: 2/5/2012 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2010
Posts: 13
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Ok, so I've been scouring the internet for books that might fit into these categories, and I could use a bit of help on the definition. I seem to be running into all sorts of definitions of urban fantasy that have been hampering my efforts. From the definition above, it seems there is a very broad definition being used here. It really just has to be set in a city? Could it be in the 'near future' of the city (looking at Zoo City for 'set in Africa, for one)? 

Oh, and Sixty-one Nails is also in my TBR pile. Perhaps I'll skip that one.

Thanks

 

Date Posted: 2/6/2012 4:35 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Chris -- I like using the broadest possible definition of urban fantasy -- so yes, it just has to be recognizably fantasy and to be set in a city. If you're concerned about the spirit of the challenge, then the city should be a pretty important feature -- it should feel specific, like a character, not just a generic city that could be anywhere. But definitely Zoo City would fit!

Date Posted: 2/6/2012 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2010
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Thanks!

Date Posted: 3/22/2012 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
Posts: 95
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And now for the rest of of what I read during my two-month absence from PBS...

In retrospect I think I may have been a tad harsh on Sixty-One Nails. It is fluff, so don't expect great things from it. And although the mythology is pretty much still "fairies hate iron!", Shevdon at least works it into the plot (eventually) in a fairly entertaining way. 

Also, I made a mistake with The Orphan's Tales. I read In the Cities of Coin and Spice first, which actually comes second. So of course I had to go back and read In the Night Garden, and now see if I can't wedge that into a challenge category somewhere.  That might be a bit difficult since considerably fewer of the stories take place in a city. I was glad to note there were none of the clunky metaphors that spoiled the first few chapters Cities. I suppose everyone stumbles now and again. If you read Night Garden first, it'll be forgivable by the time you get to Cities.

Currently I'm reading The Native Star. I noticed a couple people have this one on their lists, and now I'm starting to feel like a harbinger of doom. This book is just immature. One of the main characters worries that she's a 25 year old spinster, yet she acts like a 12 year old brat. It reminds me of Harry Potter, if Harry Potter was set in America and tried to take itself too seriously (and lost all of its charm in the process). It was nominated for a Nebula award, so I'll stick with it and hope for a miracle. 

Mel - I went through a huge Jules Verne/H.G. Wells phase as a kid, but I still had to laugh at your discription. Even though I loved his stuff I can't argue with that! ;) I'd have to say H.G. Wells is the better author though, you might like his stuff better if you haven't already tried it. 



Last Edited on: 3/22/12 3:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/22/2012 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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At least you're the harbinger of doom on cheap books and not the expensive ones!  It's on my TBR list too, though not for the challenge.  I mostly only bought it because it'd been nominated for awards and put on so a couple "books of the year" lists that I thought it had to be worth at least the quarter I paid for it.  Maybe I should have taken the fact that it was on a clearance rack less than a year after publication as a warning.

Is Native Star possibly a weird western?  The description makes it sound like it's set in the West at least.

And yes, I like H.G. Wells much more than I like Verne.

Date Posted: 3/23/2012 1:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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Nah, there's nothing wierd about it, but it is set in the west. Mostly. They're going back to New York now...it seems to range from country to city and back and forth again.