Formulaic...but in a good way (review of Hard Day's Knight) - The Nine Suns
Urban fantasy is the hottest subgenre in fantasy nowadays – the shelves at the local bookstore (where those still actually exist….) are groaning with new paperbacks coming out by the month, and half the ebooks out out by indie writers fall within it’s boundaries. Son it’s not surprising that a genre as popular as this has it’s own conventions and cliches and well worn ruts, its plots ever recycled, its archtypical characters trotted out time and again in new clothes. Now this isn’t a bad thing by any means – every genre out there has it;s conventions, which exist large part because the readers want them. The trick is to find a new way to bring those old tropes to life.

I came across Hard Days Knight while looking for a new urban fantasy story that stood out in some way from all the rest. Bonus points if it came from an indie writer. This book fit the bill quite well. There is a sardonic tone to it that goes down very nicely, much like a bottle of vino verde on a warm summer night. The characters are not the typical vampire one comes across in this sort of story, being less iron bodied languid princes of the night and more like the kids from the Dungeons & Dragons group you hung with while in college. Everymen, basically, stuck with immortality and a real allergy to sunlight. There is a surprising depth of character her despite the short length (only a couple of hundred pages) They very much come across as a pair of ordinary fellas making the best of an unusual situation, and keeping their sense of humor in the process, a welcome change from the usual doom-and-gloom vampire protagonists.

Also, it’s set in Charlotte, NC. Nice to read a story that doesn’t take place in New York, Chicago or LA.

The only real beef I have against this tale is the somewhat rushed feeling behind it. Granted, that may have something to do with the length but it did feel a bit off. Also, there isn’t much in the way of world building, though that’s more a fault of the genre than of the author – given its conventions, most urban fantasy worlds tend to have a similar feel.

All in all, a worthwhile read.