Ghost Train to New Orleans: Book 2 of the Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty
|Ghost Train to New Orleans: Book 2 of the Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: The second in Mur Lafferty's Shambling Guides series takes Zoe to New Orleans to research her next travel guide for the undead. Once again Mur provides us with urban fantasy that brims with both humour and a dark side that makes it rather moreish.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: March 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
After delivering The Shambling Guide to New York, a travel guide for the coterie of the undead, Zoe the inadvertent citytalker goes to New Orleans to research the next one. She sets off with a feeling of foreboding, but perhaps she's being overly pessimistic? I mean, she's travelling with two gods, (one of whom is a rather strident ex-Valkyrie), a baby dragon, two vampires (one of whom hates her) and Arthur, her boyfriend the Public Works employee. (Yes, Public Works as in the body that polices and, where necessary, clears away the coterie.) Oh and by the way, Arthur may be turning into a zombie soon. The trip will be fine; what could possibly go wrong?
American writer and pod-caster Mur Lafferty considers herself a geek and demonstrates this propensity beautifully in a way that encourages us to revel in geekdom with her. From the Red Dwarf referenced gold fish to the cryptic comments about the 9th Dr Who (I named him!) and beyond she involves us with a wry wink. But is that all there is to look forward to? Nope – there's a lot more to this so non-geeks please feel free to dive in.
Not everyone from Zoe's last outing survived (a good reason to read the NY guide first) and we miss them as much as Zoe does. However the characters we do encounter this time flow rich and wonderfully odd from Mur's keyboard.
Centre stage this trip belongs to Opal and Kevin as they tussle with their own vampire crises that spill over into the business trip, distracting everyone from the research. I also love Eir, the strapping German goddess who has a direct manner (to say the least!) masking a heart of gold.
Unfortunately Philip the vampiric boss only turns up a couple of times via the phone but his dark, swarthy presence is replaced by the equally dark, swarthy and somewhat mysterious Reynard.
The other person we don't see much of is zombie-wound-bearing boyfriend Arthur. He just bookends the adventure but that’s not a complaint as he's instrumental in a climax worth waiting for. Indeed, Mur does set pieces well as demonstrated by the ghosts who died at an unfortunate moment with regard to their wardrobe selections.
This trip there may be a couple of times when the explanations get in the way of the momentum. However it feels churlish to moan as the explanations fill Zoe (and us) in on her citywalking heritage, helping her to become more deeply connected spirit of New Orleans than she'd like. (Plus watch out for a great take on southern soul food!)
Zoe's guide series is shaping up nicely thanks to Mur's continued verve and originality. The even better news is that Book 3 will be set in the UK; a village west of London to be precise. I know that doesn't narrow it down much but it gives we Brits something to do while we wait for its arrival. Yes indeed, out with the road maps Everyone!
A big thank you to Orbit for providing us with a copy for review.
Further Reading: If you haven't read it yet, we most definitely recommend you read The Shambling Guide to New York City before embarking on the trip to New Orleans. If you have read it and enjoyed it, perhaps it's time to introduce you to Kate Prospero.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ghost Train to New Orleans: Book 2 of the Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ghost Train to New Orleans: Book 2 of the Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty at Amazon.com.
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