Magic City: Recent Spells – edited by Paula Guran

20299673eARC provided by Net Galley in exchange for a review



Bright lights, big city… magic spells, witchcraft, wizardry, fairies, devilry, and more. Urban living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment. Street kids may have supernatural beings to protect them or have such powers themselves. Brujeria may be part of your way of life. Crimes can be caused (and solved) with occult arts and even a losing sports team’s “curse” can be lifted with wizardry. And be careful of what cab you call – it might take you on a journey beyond belief! Some of the best stories of urban enchantment from the last few years is gathered in one volume full of hex appeal and arcane arts.


There are two kinds of anthologies.

The first kind is when a bunch of authors get together to weave new tales around a given theme. The upcoming Rogues, edited by George R. R. Martin, is one of those. The second kind is simply a collection of previously published short-stories linked together only by an introduction.

This is the later.

The stories contained within have been published over the past dozen years or so, dating as far back as 2002. None of the stories were written for this collection. If you’re curious about what stories are included, check out this Good Read post. Given that all of these stories are reprints, if you’re a collector of anthologies and/or you’re wanting to pick this up for given author, I’d definitely check the link provided to make sure you aren’t picking up something you might already own.

Honestly, something like this is difficult to review. Reviewing 21 stories doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Some are better than others and some will interest you more than others. Some stories the magic mixes with the mundane more and some there is a greater sense of parallel worlds. It’s an anthology and the variety of the stories does at least make a decent representation of the variety that the genre can provide.

The one thing I feel like I can review is the introduction: the editor provides a short piece about what they were trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, I don’t think it really adds much to the volume. It doesn’t really provide any insights to the genre, it’s feels like it’s more explaining what Urban Fantasy is. That would be great, except for one thing: this is a collection of Urban Fantasy short stories. These stories aren’t united by theme, they’re united by genre. People picking this up are probably already going to know what Urban Fantasy is and don’t need it explained to them. It’s an explanation that might be better suited for an anthology united by theme that crosses genre, where you have decent odds that it would be new to at least some of the readers who might have picked it up because it contained a story by that science-fiction author that they love. In other words, you can skip the introduction and not really miss anything.

As for a recommendation? If you’re looking for some new Urban Fantasy authors to read, or want to dip your toes in the genre, this is worth a pick up, either from the library or maybe the Kindle edition (I do think the $13+ price tag is a bit pricey given that there is no real new content here) If you’re looking for new short stories, you’re going to want to keep looking.

Recommendation: Borrow It

Available: May 7th


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