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I have not read much urban fantasy. In fact, my experience with the genre is limited to Neverwhere and American Gods (probably not truly urban fantasy, but I’ll take what I can get), both by Neil Gaiman. I don’t know if it’s the covers of many of the recent UF offerings, i.e., usually a person on the cover in tight clothes holding some sort of bladed weapon. I try not to judge a book by its cover, but with so many of the books looking similar, how the hell do I choose?
In an effort to remedy my situation, I have entered Shaun Duke’s (@shaunduke in the twitterverse) contest at The World in a Satin Bag, where he is giving away three copies of Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan. I don’t know if I’ll be fortunate enough to win one of the copies, but it’s worth a shot. Hopefully it will provide the jumping off point into the Urban Fantasy genre. If you are so inclined, head over to The World in a Satin Bag and sign up yourself.
Here is the Booklist review of Procession of the Dead:
Popular YA author Darren Shan’s first adult novel is a combination of horror and near-future thriller set in The City, which is the center of Capac Raimi’s world. Moving into the city to work with his small-time gangster uncle, Capac soon finds himself at the service of the Cardinal, the leader of all the criminal gangs and the ruler of the city. Capac enjoys his new life except for a few small details, including the enigmatic blind and mute monks who have a way of appearing at significant moments in Capac’s life, and the fact that he can’t really remember any of his life before he came to the City. Then he meets and immediately falls in love with a young woman who is determined to dig out the Cardinal’s secrets. Fast-paced and exciting, Procession of the Dead is a gritty, creepy, and completely successful story with an ending that leaves openings for future series entries. Suggest to readers who enjoyed Mieville’s The City and the City (2009) for its slightly fantastical setting combined with a thrilling story.
A quick rumination: Would Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game would be considered Urban Fantasy genre if it were published today? I read somewhere that horror doesn’t really sell well these days, but it seems possible that some horror has been rebranded as Urban Fantasy or Dark Fantasy. If you have any thoughts, let ‘er rip.