A Review of Urban Enemies
Edited by: Joseph Nassise
I have a bit of a bone to pick with Urban Enemies, because of reading this book I have now added TEN more books to my to-be-read list (TBRL). Most of these books are also part of a series, so the potential for even more books is high. I will never get through my TBRL, and that's ok. To be honest, If I don't have a few hundred books on this list I start to get a little antsy and start the search for more.
I have admitted in the past, during my review of Equus, that short stories are not usually my favourite. Most of the time, I find that just as I'm getting into the story it's over and I feel let down by the story. Other times, there isn't enough detail for me to really get into the story or the characters I know that's the point of a short story, and I have a feeling they might be harder to write then full novels, but it just isn't my kind of thing to read.
You may wonder then, why I've read Urban Enemies, well the original reason that I wanted to read it was because it included a new (to me) Jim Butcher, Dresden Files story, Even Hand. I love the Dresden Files, I've read all the books, novellas and even watch the short-lived TV show multiple times. I think that I will always have a fondness for The Dresden Files as this is the series that first introduced me to Urban Fantasy.
Urban Enemies also had another short story from a series that I'm up to date in reading, The Cainsville Series by fellow Canadian, Kelley Armstrong. Kelley Armstrong is one of a few authors that I discovered because of The Dresden Files. The fourth book of her Women of the Otherworld Series, Industrial Magic, happened to sitting right next to a Dresden Files book at local Chapters one day. I picked it up because I thought the cover art was intriguing. Yes, I know that you should never judge a book by it's cover, and for the most part I don't. However, covers do have a way of initially grabbing your attention to pick up the book and read the synopsis.
The most surprising part I found about Urban Enemies is that once I finished the two stories that I really wanted to read, I found the majority of the rest of the stories to be mostly interesting. So much so, that as I previously mentioned, I added 10 more books to my TBR pile.
I won't finish a story that I don't like, and there were only a couple of stories in this anthology that didn't peak my interest, so I skipped over those ones. I think that part that helped me the most enjoying Urban Enemies is that the stories are written from the point of view of the villains perspective. They also seemed, to me, to be a completely separate story or a background story from the main series.
I know in the two stories I read, where I actually read the series, this villain perspective added a new depth to these characters and I can't wait to read the newest novels from The Dresden Files or The Cainsville Series. I suspect this same phenomenon would be for any of the series these villains are from and I look forward to finding out when I read the books I've added.
I also felt that for the most part, these stories were easy to follow along with, despite not having read the series they came from. The couple of stories that I did skip over, were the ones that it seemed that I was missing information to understand what was happening in the story I was reading.
There is one other author whose novels I have read, but am not currently up to date with, who's short story was in Urban Enemies, Kevin Hearne. I am currently about halfway through reading the Iron Druid Chronicles, with plans to finish them before May 2018. Why May 2018 you may ask, well, next year I will be getting the chance to meet Kevin Hearne and spend the weekend with him and a few hundred other writers and readers at The Creative Ink Festival taking place in Burnaby, BC.
Kevin Hearne is going to be one of the guest of honour of the event, and since The Creative Ink Festival is the entire reason why I'm now writing my own book reviews and have my own website, I feel I should be up-to-date with his published work. Full Disclosure, The Creative Ink Festival was created by a good friend of mine and author, Sandra Wickham, and over the last few years I have been lucky enough to become more involved with it, and for next year I’m now the promotions and volunteer coordinator. This is an amazing event which I have talked about my experiences in the past about it. It's not just for writers and as a reader I got some much out of the experience too. Definitely worth checking out.
Anyways, back to the actual review of Urban Enemies, it was a well put together anthology with a creative twist, the stories from the villain's point of view and I think that anyone could enjoy this book, especially if you are like me and tend not to enjoy short stories that much.
You might be asking which stories did I add to my TBR list:
1) Pretty Wicked (Pretty Wicked #1) by Kelly Charron
2) We are not good people (The Ustari Cycle #1) by Jeff Somers
3) The Electric Church (Avery Cates #1) by Jeff Somers*
4) Harmony Black (Harmony Black #1) by Craig Schaefer
5) Black Dog (Hellhound Chronicles #1) by Caitlin Kittredge
6) Bitter Night (Horngate Witches #1) by Diana Pharoah Francis
7) Glass Town by Steven Savile
8) Silver (Ogmios Team Adventure #1) by Steven Savile*
9) The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Murder at Sorrow's Crown by Steven Saville*
10) Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1) by Seanan McGuire
*these series were not in Urban Enemies, but another series by the same author was and when adding them to my TBRL this book also sounded interesting
These are all authors and series I have never heard of before, so to the editor, Joseph Nassise, good job, I will eventually check out the first of these series to see if I enjoy them.
Reading Urban Enemies, I also rediscovered an author I had completely forgotten about, Jonathan Maberry and his Joe Ledger Series. I've had the second book in this series on my TBRL for years. His short story Altar Boy, has reminded me of this series and I have a new desire to go back and read them.
Overall, Urban Enemies was a pretty good read. I discovered a bunch of new authors and rediscovered an old one. I think any fan of short stories and urban fantasy would enjoy this anthology.
I received an free ARC of Urban Enemies from Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I don’t usually go into details about why I’ve rated something what I’ve rated it, but in this case I felt that I should. I seem to give Urban Enemies a glowing review so why you may ask a 3 Penguins rating? Well, despite the fact that I did enjoy the book overall, it still took me quite some time to read, 10 days. The urge and desire to pick up this book just wasn’t there. It was the short story thing. Once I picked up the book and read one of the stories, I didn’t have the urge to read the next one.