Series: The Shambling Guides #2
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit Books on 4 March 2014
Reading Challenges: 2014 Antique Reading Roadshow
Our intrepid human travel guide Zoe quickly discovers there is something rotten in the state of New Orleans. Zoe and her band of coterie get drawn into another mess involving zealots, zoetists and zombies. In order to stay alive, Zoe must get to know the spirit of New Orleans and try not to avoid all the good advice coterie give her.
I had hoped that Zoe would hone her skills and develop more as a character and was partially rewarded. Zoe finds out more about her citytalker background and how to build connections with cities. I appreciated how different New Orleans’ personality was to New York’s. Zoe’s personal life is still a mess though as she constantly runs towards danger with little to no backup, reveals her citytalker past to all and sundry (even though her kind were hunted almost out of existence) and has a couple of meltdowns. Her romance with Arthur was one of the weaker aspects of the story and I was pleased to see that resolved.
The plot bounces around a little and at times I thought Lafferty was trying to spread herself too thin with multiple threads heading off in different directions. Zoe doesn’t really investigate anything but lurches from one near disaster to another. New coterie were introduced which kept things fresh and but I would have liked more time getting to know their attributes. The novel is rife with humour and although most of it sticks, a few jokes invariably fall flat.
The strength of the novel lies in the novelty of the coterie and the rich description of New Orleans. I enjoyed this outing but wish the plot could have been streamlined a little more.