I quit reading urban fantasy and paranormal romance sometime around 2008, when you couldn’t browse bookshelves without being blinded by a sea of leather-clad heroines wielding crossbows. I mean, I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as much as the next person, but man. That show has a lot to answer for.
Now that it’s safe to shop again, I’m kinda curious about those books that survived the mass extinction of urban fantasy. I pull them off the shelves at Barnes & Noble and say, “What are you doing here?” They’re like the rebel pilots that survived the attack on the Death Star. They can hold reunions in a phone booth.
Like any publishing boom-and-bust cycle, it’s only the best that endures. So I was naturally intrigued to find Keri Arthur’s City of Light at B&N earlier this year. Arthur is the author of the Souls of Fire, Dark Angels, and the New York Times bestselling Riley Jenson, Guardian series. She’s written more than forty books, and won Romantic Times‘ Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy. City of Light is the opening novel in the Outcast trilogy, a post apocalyptic tale set a century after a devastating war tears a hole in reality, and the last remnants of humanity cling to life in brightly-lit cities that shield them from terrifying spectres. It’s a promising blend of SF and paranormal horror (even if it does have a crossbow on the cover), and has sort of a Resident Evil vibe, with a superhumanly powerful heroine who faces off against both undead nasties and an evil pharmaceutical company whose experiments on adults and children bring unexpected horrors.
City of Light won plenty of acclaim, with Library Journal praising it for “An intriguing world and a marvelous heroine who speaks to ghosts,” and The Speculative Herald calling it “Exciting and well written… a remarkable mix of intrigue and action.” The first two books in the series were published in paperback by Signet, but it didn’t do well enough for them to pick up the third volume, so Arthur self published it in the US in December of last year.
[Click the images for city-sized versions.]
Here’s the description for City of Light.
The first in an all-new futuristic fantasy series from Keri Arthur — the New York Times bestselling author of the Souls of Fire novels.
When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next, they allowed entry to the Others — demons, wraiths, and death spirits who turned the shadows into their hunting grounds. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay….
As a déchet — a breed of humanoid super-soldiers almost eradicated by the war — Tiger has spent her life in hiding. But when she risks her life to save a little girl on the outskirts of Central City, she discovers that the child is one of many abducted in broad daylight by a wraith-like being — an impossibility with dangerous implications for everyone on earth.
Because if the light is no longer enough to protect them, nowhere is safe…
And here’s the covers to the UK editions from Piatkus.
Here’s the publishing details.
City of Light (Signet, 362 pages, $7.99 paperback & digital, January 5, 2016)
Winter Halo (Signet, 360 pages, $7.99 paperback & digital, December 6, 2016)
The Black Tide (Keri Arthur P/L, 382 pages, $10.99 paperback, $4.99 digital, December 4, 2017)
See all of our recent coverage of the best fantasy series here.