A City Dreaming
Overview - A powerful magician returns to New York City and reluctantly finds himself in the middle of a war between the city's two most powerful witches. "It would help if you did not think of it as magic. M certainly had long ceased to do so." M is an ageless drifter with a sharp tongue, few scruples, and the ability to bend reality to his will, ever so slightly. Read more...
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More About A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky
A powerful magician returns to New York City and reluctantly finds himself in the middle of a war between the city's two most powerful witches. "It would help if you did not think of it as magic. M certainly had long ceased to do so."
M is an ageless drifter with a sharp tongue, few scruples, and the ability to bend reality to his will, ever so slightly. He's come back to New York City after a long absence, and though he'd much rather spend his days drinking artisanal beer in his favorite local bar, his old friends--and his enemies--have other plans for him. One night M might find himself squaring off against the pirates who cruise the Gowanus Canal; another night sees him at a fashionable uptown charity auction where the waitstaff are all zombies. A subway ride through the inner circles of hell? In M's world, that's practically a pleasant diversion.
Before too long, M realizes he's landed in the middle of a power struggle between Celise, the elegant White Queen of Manhattan, and Abilene, Brooklyn's hip, free-spirited Red Queen, a rivalry that threatens to make New York go the way of Atlantis. To stop it, M will have to call in every favor, waste every charm, and blow every spell he's ever acquired--he might even have to get out of bed before noon.
Enter a world of Wall Street wolves, slumming scenesters, desperate artists, drug-induced divinities, pocket steampunk universes, and demonic coffee shops. M's New York, the infinite nexus of the universe, really is a city that never sleeps--but is always dreaming.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
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This offbeat gonzo fantasy attempts to mock American consumerism but prioritizes the bizarre at the expense of both plot and humor. The lead, known simply as M, has the power to change reality; he’s introduced in a present-day Paris tavern, where he’s rewinding a killer’s life to erase every trace of his existence. He returns to New York City and becomes involved in a series of adventures, beginning with a foray to rescue a friend from pirates named Rum, Sodomy, and Lash whose secret code word is “Arggggghhhhhh!” From there, the story line, which builds to a dramatic climax involving the entire metropolis, becomes harder to follow. The author takes pains to poke fun at the urban fantasy genre; he devotes one short chapter to explaining that nothing much happened in a particular month, which may raise a smile but does nothing to sustain any narrative momentum. Mixing such sections with stomach-churning ones, sometimes literally so (“He spent the next few minutes vomiting up unbirthed chunks of existence”), results in a listless mess, rather than a clever tweaking of urban fantasy tropes. (Oct.)