I don't normally read zombie books. Ever. Just like I don't read horror; nothing good comes of that. However, when I heard about this book in the comments on someone's blog, I simply had to try it. The idea of a travel guide for supernatural beings was just too good to pass up.
And it was everything I could have imagined and more. The characters, the world within our own, the set up of the story...well, see below.
Our main characters Zoe has returned to her roots after a poor choice that put her into the position of 'the other woman' with her boss back in North Carolina. When the wife is a top police official, there is no protection for you in the city. So she's returned to NYC and a job appears almost magically before her - a travel book editor. She's has the perfect experience, but there's one slight problem. She's human and the potential coworkers are zombies, a vampire, incubus, succubus, a water spirit, and a death goddess. You know, just who'd you expect to inhabit the Big Apple. She wins her boss over and steps into a world she's never seen though it's all around her.
The world building in this book is amazing. This is our world, but we are given a glimpse of a part of it hidden from normal humans. The person beside you on the sidewalk might be zombie, the homeless person by the subway might be a spy for the Public Works (who do more then fix the sewers!), or the gorgeous man tantalizing you in the club might just be an incubus. The average streets become places of mystery, a cab ride covers more than the city streets, and Central Park is home to more the just squirrels. And don't get me started on the truth of the Statue of Liberty! (I'm still freaking out about that!)
But it's the set up that I really loved. Every couple chapters, we get to see a section of the finished Shambling Guide while we read of its coming together. These give the reader additional knowledge of the coterie (what's we'd called paranormal or 'monsters') without having characters suddenly spout lectures like a professor. Thus making your introduction to the world seamless, the travel guide feel more realistic, and gives you tantalizing and sometimes worrisome hints of future events in the plot.
This is a quick, easy, and very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Urban Fantasy, non-sparkly vampires, and fun reads. I can't wait for the next book in the series to come into the library!
Warning: There is one sort of sexually graphic part of this book. It doesn't last long and I didn't have a problem with it other than surprise. However, I can see it being more than some would want to read. Just a heads up.