Saturday, March 15, 2014
Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty
If you like: New Orleans * ghosts * cats
The Ghost Train to New Orleans is the second Shambling Guide. The team members at Underground Publishing are embarking on their second adventure and working on their second guide for traveling coterie. Zoe continues to be surrounded by chaos and new experiences with the coterie. She is determined to keep her team in line, learn about her own abilities, and get another excellent guide out on time. Zoe struggles to build the bonds of friendship with her coterie coworkers, but over time they are beginning to develop an understanding with each other. They may not be friends just yet, but the professional respect is growing, and their worlds are becoming a little more transparent the more time they spend together.
Now that Zoe has learned she is a human coterie, things are a bit different for her. Living as a human in a coterie world was daunting, but she knew the risks. Discovering that she is an extremely rare being makes her life even more dangerous. She no longer has any inkling of which individuals in her life are trustworthy. She wants to believe the best about the Underground Publishing staff, but past experiences have taught her that isn’t always possible. There are untold risks associated with acknowledging who she is, but countless others associated with keeping her true nature secret. The only way she will ever be able to fully embrace her role in the coterie world is to find individuals who know the citytalker history, and are willing to educate her unbiasedly. Forming these bonds will help her to develop her skills, and also help her to form a protective group, which will become increasingly necessary as more and more coterie find out what she is.
The mixture of creatures and places in the Shambling Guides come together to create a tale that is constantly surprising. The world is vastly unknown to Zoe, and as her companions on the journey we learn of each new element as she does. This allows Lafferty to fill each book with lots of new information and ideas without ever needing a dumbing-down effect for the reader to be able to keep up. The evolution of this world over hundreds of years has lead to many innovations that add just the right amount of fantasy to the story. The coterie have unmistakable allure. The are beautiful and powerful, but manage to remain hidden. The tools and resources needed to keep up the facade provide a fascinating landscape for the world the Guides exist in. The narrative exploration of the world in order to find the best places to visit make the story all the more fun for the reader to follow. There is nothing better than a high stakes trip through a world of handsome, dangerous people who have access to unimaginable resources, all while dealing with idiosyncrasies only the coterie could encompass. The shift in focus from Zoe’s past to her future differentiates both guides, and leaves the series with plenty of room for the future. Though dangerous and often deceptive, the world Zoe has tumbled into is a enticing adventure that will leave the reader anxiously awaiting the next Guide.
If you you can’t wait to stay at Freddie’s Ready Bed-and-Breakfast, read The Ghost Train to New Orleans.
Lafferty, Mur. Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides). Orbit, 2014. Kindle Edition.