It takes nearly a hundred vague pages for the story to get going, but once it does, Stray Souls is urban fantasy done right. In the tradition of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, the book features a cast with unique twists on familiar magical characters, set against the gritty London streets and a reluctant hero who must gather the motley crew together to save the city. With doses of humor peppered throughout, a cheeky tone and a sweetly snarky protagonist, this novel is worth reading again and again.
Upon discovering she’s a shaman, Sharon Li sets up a support group for people with magical issues and meets a germaphobic vampire, a Druid with allergies, a troll gourmand and a banshee with a love for Impressionist art, among other misfits. When she learns that London is under siege by evil forces and a violent hellbeast, Sharon must lead the unorthodox and reluctant “tribe” in an effort to save the city with which she has a mysterious connection. (ORBIT, Sep., 544 pp, $14.99)