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The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,657 Ratings  ·  589 Reviews
A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city - for the undead!

Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn
Paperback, 350 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by Orbit
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Steph Not sure about the Netflix question, but the author answers the book #3 question on her GR author page. Essentially, the publisher only bought the…moreNot sure about the Netflix question, but the author answers the book #3 question on her GR author page. Essentially, the publisher only bought the first 2 books. She has written 4 more in the series & is attempting to self publish them if she can find the time.(less)

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From my blog:

Lafferty states The Hitchhikers’ Guide is one of her inspirations for The Shambling Guide, and the influence is recognizable. But instead of Arthur coping with space (which is “really, really big“), Zoe is exploring the darker side of New York City. No, not Wall Street–I’m referring to the monster hangouts. I picked this one up looking for an entertaining read, and it definitely satisfied. Set in one of my favorite cities (naturally), an open
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
How had humans not noticed these beings around them? Now that she knew they existed, she saw the city in a completely different light.

Zoe comes to NYC and applies for a job at a publishing company. She's sure the position is right for her, as she has experience editing travel books. Her would-be boss, a vampire, is a little uncertain of her qualifications. You see, he's planning to publish a travel guide, all right. A travel guide for . . . zombies, sprites, incubi and other creatures humans sel
Originally posted on The Book Smugglers

Zoe is searching for a fresh start and a new job as travel book editor now that she moved back to New York City after her last job ended badly (i.e. in tears, after she had an affair with her boss, who turned out to be married). She comes across a position as a managing editor for a new series of travel guides in a new publishing house. But every time she attempts to apply for the job she stumbles on several people telling her not to, including the owner Ph
P. Kirby
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Mildly disappointing because I expected to love this, especially based on the first few pages. The following are my immediate thoughts, which may or may not, get expanded into a coherent review.

Basic premise: Zoe Norris, having lost her previous editing job because she dated the boss, who, unbeknownst to her, was married (to a psycho), secures new employment with a New York City publishing company that produces travel guides. Zoe is totally qualified for the job except in one respect. She's huma
Oct 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very creative take on the interaction between "reality" and otherwordly creatures (so-called monsters).

Mur has lots of imagination, and reads her work well.

Still, something is missing. It never really feels like Zoe, the main character (who might be Mur's alter ego) is in danger. The characters are all somewhat cartoonish. And the dialogue is lacking.
After finding herself the other woman in a relationship with a married man, Zoe flees Raleigh, NC and returns to her home in New York. Fortune is seemingly shining on her when she sees a pamphlet pinned to a notice board advertising the job of editor for a newly established publisher.

Unfortunately she soon discovers the company is run by a vampire, his assistant is a zombie and her coworkers are a wide array of other worldly creatures. But she needs the job so she sucks it up and does her best
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, vampires
I was kind of avoiding these because… I don’t know why, really. I thought it might be more like World War Z; a gimmicky set-up with comparatively little story. Wrong! There’s a solid story and direction behind The Shambling Guide to New York City, and though it does contain excerpts from the actual guide, the book itself is not written as a guide to New York City from the point of view of monsters — called, in this book, coterie. Instead, we follow our intrepid, sometimes somewhat slow heroine, ...more
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was good, don't get me wrong, but it was definitely one of those books that just by changing one or two things it could have been FANTASTIC. The fresh look at zombies and vampires and fantasy creatures in a modern urban setting was nice. This is no True Blood, or Twilight, or even Charles DeLint, it is definitely its own thing, and I loved that unique view. I loved the concept, a human woman writing a travel guide for unnatural creatures visiting New Yor ...more
Julie Davis
We're on chapter 4 as the audiobook comes out week by week on iTunes as a podcast. If you want to hear this audiobook don't wait to download it. Mur Lafferty's agreement with the publisher is that she can only leave the audiofiles up for a week after she finishes all the chapters on the podcast. So get it while the getting is good.

So far I am enjoying this a lot. It is not another of those "the world is covered with zombies and we're all just trying to survive" books. The supernatural world is e
Jeffrey Grant
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it
This book has a lot of potential, and it was a quick, fun read. The author cited Douglas Adams as a huge influence and the “Shambling Guide” excerpts in the book are sort of her homage to the Hitchhiker’s Guide segments in Adams’ books from that series. However, the whole thing is somewhat lacking in execution.

The premise, which is rather clever, is used to shoehorn Zoe, the main character, into the world of the coterie (the “PC” label the nonhumans have adopted in this world) but then it’s mos
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have made it a mission to check out all accessible UF novels as I am attracted to novels featuring kickass female protagonists. Who are flawed but have qualities that make me root for them and their happiness despite their flaws. Protagonists such as Rachel Morgan and Cassandra Palmer. Though Lafferty has quite an impressive backlist, I haven’t read anything by her so I went into The Shambling Guide intrigued but not expecting anything. I was very pleasantly surprised. The writing is smart, cr ...more
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read This Review & More Like It At Ageless Pages Reviews

Spunky girl writer accidentally gets hired to write a humorous book for a subculture she never knew existed, while solving a mystery before the end of the world. Plus obligatory romance.

I just described one of my lowest rated books of 2012 and one of my favorite of 2013.

What makes The Shambling Guide to New York City so great is it never loses that humorous part. It doesn’t take an underground publishing company run by a vampire, a zomb
Fangs for the Fantasy
Jun 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Zoe moves to New York City to find work, after being forced to leave her old job, after being seduced by her very married boss into having an affair. Like many job hunters, Zoe is getting the run around in that she is constantly either being told that she is either too experienced or does not have enough experience. Having worked in publishing writing tour guides, Zoe decides to answer an advertisement for a new editor that she sees hanging in a coffee shop. What she does not know is that interv ...more
Alex Ristea
First things first. If you haven’t heard of the “I Should Be Writing” podcast, stop what you’re doing and head over to

This is the original podcast for writers, readers, and fans, and how I’ve come to know Mur. (And I say “know” like we’re friends, but really I’ve just been tuning in. Shows you how personal podcasts can feel…)

The Shambling Guide to New York City is a fun urban fantasy, about a human who is hired on to write a travel guide to New York City…for monsters.

The aut
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best things about this urban fantasy is that Zoe, the main character, isn’t paranormal herself. She doesn’t even know that “monsters” really exist until she’s hired by a vampire to edit a series of city guides aimed at the zombies, death goddesses, water sprites, and other supernaturals who are able to hide in plain sight among us on crowded streets and subway platforms.

Sharing a workspace with creatures who would enjoy drinking your blood or eating your brains has complications, of
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I like urban fantasy.

Well, that's not exactly true. I like the idea of urban fantasy. I like the idea of a secret hidden world within our world where magic is real, monsters live among us, and only a select few know about it.

What I don't like is much of what is published under the heading of "urban fantasy," most of which is really paranormal romance. Yes, I'm talking about Twilight. Vampires are predators who feed on the living, not sparkly emo stalkers obsessed with high school girls eighty y
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-2014
I've been a longtime listener of Mur Lafferty's podcast, "I Should Be Writing" and was really excited when she announced that she had this book coming out.

And then I started to burn out epically on urban fantasy. I accepted that there was probably some really great stuff out there, but I was tired of wading through the tropes to try to find it.

I grabbed this, admittedly mostly because of a kind of loyalty to Lafferty. If you're a writer, I heartily recommend her podcast. She is amazingly honest
Christiana Ellis
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although the premise bears some superficial similarities to things like "Ugly Americans", Lafferty's unique sense of humor combines with a real sense of danger to make something that feels fresh.

Zoe makes for a compelling lead character. She's proactive, determined and self-aware enough to occasionally take a step back and think "What the $@&* am I doing here?" The rest of the cast rounds out the narrative with a welcome mix of interesting characters, such as the mischievous water sprite, a
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you’re looking for urban fantasy, this delivers in spades. This book leans more towards urban fantasy than it does humor (as the title and cover implies). The premise is humorous, and there’s some gentle humor within, but the presentation undercuts this with some serious trauma.

I am always happy when fantasy settings incorporate Public Works (and other municipal services) into the struggle against the supernatural. Additionally, I was overjoyed when I realized this tied into previous fiction
David Rossetti
Mar 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really tried with the "The Shambling Guide to New York City", based on the concept and the positive reviews. Unfortunately, lumpy prose, a dull protagonist, and a lifeless supporting cast (no pun intended) made the first 200 pages such a slog that I finally gave up.

There's certainly the potential for an interesting book in the idea of a human exploring a supernatural underworld through the device of reading/writing travel guides; it's been done before in various forms as least as far back as
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, own
The Shambling Guide to New York City puts a clever spin on the urban fantasy genre, which involves fantasy in an urban setting. Supernatural creatures in cities. Who would have special needs and interests, different from the humans in cities.

So wouldn't they need a guidebook?

Enter Zoe Norris, skilled guidebook writer looking for a fresh start in New York City after a disastrous affair at her last job in North Carolina. She finds herself working for Underground Publishing and is initiated into th
Ginger Campbell
Mur Lafferty is one of the people who inspired me to begin podcasting, so I am used to consuming her work in the audio format. She is an excellent narrator whose voice transports the listener into whatever slightly odd world she has created. I actually listened to The Shambling Guide to New York City at normal speed, instead of speeding it up like I usually do when listening to fiction.

I have been following Mur Lafferty's writing for several years, but I can honestly say that The Shambling Guide
Joseph R.
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Like others, I am listening to the podcast version which is at chapter three right now. I'm enjoying the book a lot. The premise is fun--a book editor named Zoe who had to leave another publishing house returns to New York City to find a dream job. The opportunity arises when she runs across an opening at a new publisher in New York City looking to make travel guides. Zoe had started a successful, off-beat travel guide series at the first publisher. The thing with the new publisher is they are f ...more
Chris Gwinn
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I literally judged this book by its cover, in that the thing that initially attracted me to it was Jamie McKelvie's cover (I'm a fan). I read the e-book, so I didn't actually get to enjoy the cover. Oh well.

On one hand, it's your standard urban fantasy where a female protagonist discovers that Things Are Not What They Seem. There's a love interest, and some vampires, and some zombies, and a mystery.

But.. The main character is not dumb. And the plot twists are clever. And the writing is pretty go
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sure, you've got some baggage, but you're a smart girl in the big city. Lots of opportunity for a fresh start, if you can just get a job....

We've all had some really questionable co-workers, right? Blood sucking demons of human beings. What if they were actually blood sucking demons? You can deal with that or can you?

It's worth finding out, if Zoe can. She's got a fresh start and more than a little attitude. Sure, her boss is a vampire and a god for a co-worker. That's nothing! At least it's not
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. A smart and funny novel, with a smart, capable, adult woman protagonist. The excerpts of the eponymous travel guide are great. Mur toys with monster coterie conventions in fresh and interesting ways. I only had one question left unanswered, which may be answered in the next book in the series. (view spoiler)
Alice-ginevra Micheli
The whole book was quite entertaining, weaving in fantastical creatures in with normal life but I do feel like it kind of lost itself at the end there. It changed pace and just became something different all together which led to it feeling very rushed. Overall though I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one!

So it turns out that I'm really critical of urban fantasy. I love it as a premise/setting, it's my jam, but apparently I don't have a lot of patience for sassy mouthy heroes/heroines treading in the footsteps of Buffy. The humour has to really zing if you're going to be dropping sarcastic quips everywhere, but the book was never laugh-out-loud funny for me, so I didn't think it nailed the tone it was going for.

I do really like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-style setup, the excerpt
Stephanie  G
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Zoë worked as an editor making travel guides until an affair with her boss put her in trouble. She left for New York, where she used to live, and where she hopes she can find a new job. When she stops in a book store she finds a man putting up a flyer, they’re look for help on a travel guide. When she takes the number, the man putting it up says that the job isn’t for her. Later, after arguing with him, and another man putting up another flyer, she applies for the job, and meets back with the gu ...more
David Caldwell
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
First in a new series. Zoe Norris returns to her hometown of New York City after having a ruinous affair with her former boss. She sees a flyer for a job looking for someone to work on a travel book for NYC, but she keeps being told she won't fit into the work group. The problem is she is human and the travel guide is for monsters, or coterie as they perfer to be called. Can she really work with zombies, vampires, an incubus, water sprie and even a death goddess? But once she knows they exist an ...more
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Brain Science Pod...: Mur Lafferty's latest book 1 10 Jul 09, 2013 07:15AM  
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Mur Lafferty is the author of Six Wakes and The Shambling Guides series from Orbit books, as well as several self pubbed novels and novellas, including the award winning Afterlife series. She is the host of podcasts I Should Be Writing and Ditch Diggers. She is the recipient of the John Campbell Award for best new writer, the Manly Wade Wellman Award, and joined the Podcast Hall of Fame in its ina ...more
More about Mur Lafferty

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“Are you going to eat her here, Mr. Rand, or should I prepare her to go?” 1 likes
“Phil pursed his lips over his fangs. "Are you in league with Public Works, do you have any history with zoëtism, fortune telling, or anyone in coterie society?"
-"Does a fing look swart to the zooloofills?"
Phil stared at her blankly. "I have no idea--"
-"Exactly," she interrupted. 'I don't know what you're talking about either.”
More quotes…