Disclaimer: I am friends with the author; however, I purchased a hardcopy version of this book for full price.
Sometimes a book is really easy to review. I started it about an hour before I went out with friends for the night. I spent the entire evening wishing I was back home reading the book. And I promptly finished it the next morning, because I knew I wouldn’t get anything else done until then.
Oh, you want more information about the book itself? Okay, okay.
I’ve been a fan of DeCandido’s media tie-in works for years, long before I could consider calling him my friend. He’s done great work with both Star Trek and Supernatural. A Furnace Sealed is actually the first long-form work of original fiction that I’ve read by him, and I have no idea why I waited so long.
The reason I reject a lot of urban fantasy tropes in my own writing is because they annoy me. In this book, DeCandido does the opposite, by embracing those tropes and twisting them just enough, writing with enough familiarity of both the world he’s created and the audience he’s invited in, to create an appealing story with memorable characters. So much of traditional urban fantasy also defaults to Judeo-Christian mythology that I was extra pleased when this book used the setting of New York City to employ local mythology in the greater plot rather than importing Euro-centric bad guys. In an urban fantasy setting, New York City should definitely be a melting pot for more than just it’s human inhabitants. (Extra bonus points for secondary character representation of race, sexual orientation, and mobility issues.)
I adored the main character, Bram Gold, from page one. The obvious reason is that I have a soft spot for Jewish protagonists. The less-obvious reason is because Bram Gold is not your typical suave, sexy monster hunter — in fact, he’s kind of a mess. The fabulous first-person narration pulls you along so that you don’t get a chance to do more than roll your eyes occasionally, because you’re still rooting for Bram to win in every scenario.
And finally, the ultimate twist is that the Big Bad isn’t Bram’s biggest problem in this book. No spoilers, but I will always appreciate a story where the heroes don’t get to just go back to their normal life unchanged by the events that have occurred.
Don’t worry: I’ve already started poking Keith for more stories about my favorite Courser.