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Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance v. 3.0

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39 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Well, our views on Peter Grant do not align, obviously, but I found three parts dead to be stronger than its sequel, two serpents rise, but I thought both Pale in comparison to full fathom five, the best in the series, so far, as I have yet to read book four.

I found the Peter Grant books to be pretty poor.  The main character manages to be even more unlikeable than Harry Dresden, somehow.

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I would have missed Peter Grant but for my younger sister who lent them to me. I was sufficiently fascinated to read the first four! books and one reason I am badmouthing the series is continuing disappointment because it  does have great ideas and I would like to like them more than I do because I think it could have been much better than it was with not all that much more effort.

I mentioned these before: My problem is not the main character (although he is far too loquacious) or the supporting cast (clicheed they might be). It's that the books rely too much on gore/disgust for shock effect, that every book introduces some new critters that are never really explained (and they usually cease to be of any importance in the next book) and overall there are too many threads left dangling. There are also too many dead ends and red herrings, lots of things are introduced in a grandiose fashion without becoming important.

At least two books rely far too heavily on external stuff (jazz and architecture) and long sections tend to become boring if the reader does not share these interests. Overall they often feel "unfinished": ideas and scenes thrown together without sufficiently tightened up. (And the poor, fast work also shows in the many grammatical errors, typos, the sometimes ludicrously wrong Latin and German etc.) I am also not familiar with London having been there only once for a day which is another problem as the books rely heavily on the atmosphere of that city (or parts of it).

But overall, I think I am just not the audience for stuff that more or less reads like Harry Potter for young urban people of the 2000s. I am slightly too old, decidely un-urban and I want fantasy/SF to be as different as possible from contemporary mystery thrillers, sitcoms, romcoms. "Three parts dead" was sufficiently weird and atmospheric not to feel like that (except for the law school/practice bits).

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I couldn't make it through Rivers of London, even though it was recommended to me by Lyanna, I believe, who I trust with book rec's.  Mainly I was just irritated by all of the British colloquialisms - I had a list of something like 40 different phrases or words I had encountered in the first 1/4 of the book that I didn't understand, and I was interested in reading escapist stuff at the time, not studying what I was reading.  I didn't have that problem with the Felix Castor novels, and I found them to be HILARIOUS. I mean, HI-LARIOUS.  

Darth RIchard - you should go ahead and add the Felix Castor books to your list.  I also have a TBR list that is very long, but I also average about 50 books per year.  I'm a single mother of 3 boys with a full time job and an unhealthy television and movie addiction :P  What's your excuse? :P

Chaldanya recommended the Alanna (Song of the Lioness) books by Tamora Pierce and I love them.  They're YA fantasy thought and not UF.  I started and finished one in a day so I should be through these pretty quick :P

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I never had any problems with phrases in the Grant Books, but I might have read a bit too much British SFF growing up. As for him being less likable then Dresden, well, let's just say I find you stance baffling and we will never agree.

Ive had Felux Caator on the list for a while but no bookstore here carries it. I need to do an Amazon order soon.

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I read almost exclusively on my Kindle App on my smartphone at home and kindle cloud at work.

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I dont do the ebook thing, mainly cause all the ealry versions hurt my eyes, and now I can;t afford one at the moment plus i have a stack of books already and I like paper ok, I'm weird. (I have nothing against people who prefer ebooks, honestly, as long as they don't preach at me, same thing with vegans, heh).

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Recently I checked out Liesmith by Alis Franklin from the library. It's an urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Over the years I've gotten a bit tired of books about mythological figures brought to life as paranormal characters (in this case, Norse), so I was a bit wary. I found it to be very charming, however. I was even more wary of the 'nerdy' main character, but he turned out to be truly adorkable, also in an entirely charming manner. It was very clever and I laughed out loud at multiple points.

Plus its set in Australia. Granted, there isn't much of a 'Straya sense to the setting, but it was nice to read urban fantasy that wasn't set in Europe or the US.

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There's Jacquelyn Carey's Agent of Hel series, for example. Visitor's come to the town for magical tourism because it is located in the Norse Underworld goddess' territory. The main character (Daisy) basically makes sure that Hel's rules are followed by the magical inhabitants of the town (and that the tourists aren't eaten). 

In this case Hel isn't one of the main characters, although her presence is felt throughout the book and Daisy does go into the underworld to meet with her. In Liesmith, the Norse mythological figures have more prominent roles.

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one million at the height of the Empire in Rome itself 

[/quote]

That's debatable, most sources I've seen puts Rome at around 800,000. (Similar to Constantinopole at it's height) while Baghdad being the first city in the world to reach the 1-million mark. 

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So that wouldn't fall into a more historical fiction genre?  Is there a subgenre for mythological historical or religious fantasy? lol

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I'm reading The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams at the minute and it got me thinking some more about what makes Urban Fantasy. I think one important feature, at least for me, is that the city is not merely a setting but is almost a character in its own right, if that makes sense to people. It has its own personality, its own history, etc. I'm not the most well read in urban fantasy, but to me that seems to be one of the important elements.

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Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs (the 9th Mercy Thompson installment) is out today, but they're having issues with the US Kindle version.  GRRRR.

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They fixed the ebook issues on Amazon and I started it.  

One great thing about Urban Fantasy set in modern real-world locations is that sometimes you can google image search stuff in the books because they are real places.  The Mercy Thompson books are set in Pasco, Kennewick and Richland (the Tri-Cities area) of Washington and the cable bridge and Lampson crane company are in the beginning of this book.  I enjoy that.

Edited by Mandy

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Sorry for the multi-posting, but I just don't even know where else to discuss this...

Spoiler

So... Patricia Briggs essentially just had Mercy Thompson claim the city JUST LIKE Kate Daniels did a book or two ago in Ilona Andrews' series. Ummm... WTF? This is a little bit more than simply having shape changers in both books.  I like both series of books, but out of nowhere like this? It hasn't been a discussion before- not a hint that it COULD be done, much less than it might... it seems incredibly unnecessary to the plot of the books and I'm just kind of dumbfounded at this point that it's happened.  I'm sure it's one of those things like the idea of resheathing used in Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels that has been used in books before... 

so at what point do we call idea stealing... stealing?  What are the criteria?  It'd be pretty difficult to claim that you came up with the idea of werewolves, for example, but... this bothers me a lot.

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Well, I;ve never read either but it would depend on what the ideas are based on, and if they have any common original in myth or lit, and so on. Idea stealing, particular in SFFis just a clusterfuck to get into. Unless you pull a CC and just steal entire passages, of course :P

 

I like the idea up thread a bit about Urban Fantasy having the city as its own character. Makes sense.

 

Edit: Ha, I didn't mean to imply the city as character idea was stolen, just realized how that could be implied. I need food.

Edited by Darth Richard II

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I'm planning on reading Fire Touched later this week but Anne Bishop's Marked in Flesh also came out today and I have to read that one first.  Figures there'd be no urban fantasy I want to read for months and then two on one day!  I've loved the first three books in Bishop's The Others series so I have high hopes for this fourth one.

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4 hours ago, Mandy said:

Sorry for the multi-posting, but I just don't even know where else to discuss this...

  Hide contents

So... Patricia Briggs essentially just had Mercy Thompson claim the city JUST LIKE Kate Daniels did a book or two ago in Ilona Andrews' series. Ummm... WTF? This is a little bit more than simply having shape changers in both books.  I like both series of books, but out of nowhere like this? It hasn't been a discussion before- not a hint that it COULD be done, much less than it might... it seems incredibly unnecessary to the plot of the books and I'm just kind of dumbfounded at this point that it's happened.  I'm sure it's one of those things like the idea of resheathing used in Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels that has been used in books before... 

so at what point do we call idea stealing... stealing?  What are the criteria?  It'd be pretty difficult to claim that you came up with the idea of werewolves, for example, but... this bothers me a lot.

I'm not exactly sure how it works in the Mercy Thompson series, but at least in Kate Daniels the basic idea of claiming territory having some magical component was forshadowed in an early book when everyone was freaking the hell out over a Tower showing up over some population center.

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Exactly. Not so with Mercy.

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Yeah, the claiming-the-city is nothing new. Kate Griffin did it several years ago with Matthew Swift. It basically sets up a magical connection between the character and the city as a whole.

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