ARC Review: Urban Enemies: an urban fantasy anthology by various authors

Flora reviews… Urban Enemies: stories from the Villains of your favourite Urban Fantasy Series by Joseph Nassise (Author & Editor), Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, Kelley Armstrong,  Jonathan Maberry, Jeff Somers, Steven Savile, Caitlin Kittredge, Sam Witt, Craig Schaefer, Jon F. Merz, Faith Hunter, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Lilith Saintcrow, Carrie Vaughn and Domino Finn. My thanks to the publisher Gallery Books (via Netgalley) for the advanced ebook.

What’s Urban Enemies about?


 Read: 29th July – 12th August 2017

The publication date was 1st August 2017.

I requested Urban Enemies from NetGalley for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I was hoping to find some “new to me” authors and series. I was also looking forward to reading work from those I’ve admired but as yet unread. And finally, I was excited about and reading some new tales from a couple of existing favourites.

For each of the sixteen stories in Urban Enemies, I’ve given a brief review and rated it. Click an author’s name to be whisked away to their little corner of the web.

Urban Enemies: What did I think about each story?

Story 1 – Even Hand (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher

Although I have, of course, heard of Jim Butcher, I have yet to read any of his books. However, after reading this short story about the human criminal boss, Marcone and his staff, I want to read more. Will it taint my view that I actually really like the son-of-a-B? I’ve already added book 1 of the series to my Amazon wish list.

My Rating: 5 stars (Loved it!)

Story 2 – HOUNDED (Cainsville and Otherworld series) by Kelley Armstrong

Believe it or not, Kelly Armstrong is another new-to-me author. Although I have of course heard of her I haven’t read her books. I really liked this story. It feels like a traditional tale, a story to teach the reader morals/ethics. Unsure whether I’d read the actual Cainsville series but I’ll take a closer look.

My Rating: 4 stars (Loved it!)

Story 3 – NIGSU GA TESGU (An Ustari Cycle Story) by Jeff Somers

Jeff Somers is a completely new-to-me author. Therefore, I have no previous knowledge of the series that this short story is set in. Our main character here is definitely one of the baddies; she’s got no redeemable features! But what I like here, is her opponents are not nice either so as this story is written in the first person from her perspective, you end up rooting for her. Lol! Although I loved this short story, I don’t think the series is one that’s for me.

My Rating – 5 stars (Loved it!)

Story 4 – SIXTY-SIX SECONDS (Harmony Black series and Daniel Faust series) by CRAIG SCHAEFER

Craig Schaefer is another completely new-to-me author so once again I have no previous knowledge of his worlds that this short story is set in. I’m assuming that our main character in this tale is on the “enemy” side of this series, but I liked him; it’s the romance of the story that swung it. I liked the way the story was broken down and the pace of the adventure; I think I may have to find out more about this series before committing to buying any books.

My Rating – 4 stars (I liked it!)

Story 5 – KISS (Jill Kismet Series) by LILITH SAINTCROW

Ok so although I have heard Lilith Saintcrow, I haven’t read any of her books. I found this story very hard to read; lots of personifications, I had to keep stopping to get my head around what exactly the text referring to and lots of references that I had to look up. I understood what the story was about by the time I’d finished. It was OK. However, it hasn’t piqued my interest in the series.

My Rating – 2 stars (It was OK)

Story 6 – THE NAUGHTIEST CHERUB (The Iron Druid Chronicles) by KEVIN HEARNE

I am already a fan of Kevin Hearne’s writing style and although I have only read the first book (Hounded) in the Iron Druid Chronicles I don’t have extensive knowledge of this series. I loved that this epic adventure was squeezed into so few pages without losing the plot’s integrity or balance, I loved the humour that found its way onto most of the pages; it’s what keeps it enjoyable for me. I loved this short story starring Loki and Lucifer; it has reignited my desire to read the rest of the series!

My Rating – 5 stars (Loved it!)

Story 7 – THE RESURRECTIONIST (Hellhound Chronicles series) by CAITLIN KITTREDGE

Caitlin Kittredge is another completely new-to-me author. I really liked her writing style and fell right into this story. This short story had mystery, action and moral/ethical debate; I like it when monsters are more complex than just good or evil. I will be adding this series to my Amazon wish list.

My Rating – 4 stars (I really liked it)


Ooh, a short horror story. Joseph Nassise is another completely new-to-me author. I liked his writing style and felt gripped throughout; the tension was maintained and you definitely don’t see our main character, Simon Logan, as a good guy even after what he has to go through – true villain. Does this tale reflect the style and sub-genre of the series? I really liked this story but not sure if the horror theme will end up being too dark for my tastes.

My Rating – 4 stars (I really liked it)

Story 9 – BELLUM ROMANUM (Kitty Norville series) by CARRIE VAUGHN

Carrie Vaughn is yet another completely new-to-me author. I found her writing style easy to read and you definitely got a handle on the sort of man Gaius Albinus was/is but I thought this story was going to be about how he became a vampire. This story was a nice mix of historical fact and paranormal fiction but I felt there was something missing, it didn’t grip me enough to find out more about the series.

My Rating – 2 stars (It was OK)

Story 10 – ALTAR BOY (Joe Ledger series) by JONATHAN MABERRY

Jonathan Maberry is another author that although I have heard of, I’ve yet to read any of his books. But oh I loved this short story; his writing style just had me completely engaged with Toys and his life, the pace was perfect, the plot well thought out, balanced and even contained unexpected twists! Loved it! I will definitely be adding his books to my Amazon wish list.

My Rating – 5 stars (Loved it!

Story 11 – MAKE IT SNAPPY (Jane Yellowrock series) by FAITH HUNTER

Faith Hunter is yet another new-to-me author; although I have, of course, heard of the Jane Yellowrock series I’ve yet to read any of the books. I found this quite an easy read, the pace of the story felt slow and a bit introspective a couple of times considering the shortness of this story and although I didn’t think it added anything new to the classic vampire traits already prevalent in the PNR genre, I did enjoy this story; it made me smile, there were some good characters, nice banter and generally I liked it. I may consider adding this series to my wish list in the future.

My Rating – 2 stars (It was OK)

Story 12 – CHASE THE FIRE (Lawson Vampire series) by JOHN F. MERZ

John F Merz is a completely new-to-me author. Without a doubt, our main character here is no hero; Shiraz Aziz is quite the cold-hearted villain and, in fact, I felt that the whole story was cold, lacking passion, clinical. I think that this tale is more of a bonus ‘flash fiction’ for existing Lawson Vampire series fans. Neither the plot or characters in this story have sparked my interest enough to want to read the series.

My Rating – 1 star (I didn’t like it)

Story 13 – UNEXPECTED CHOICES (Horngate Witches series) by DIANA PHARAOH FRANCIS

Diana Pharaoh Francis is another completely new-to-me author. This story grew on me as it progressed. Books based in sci-fi or fantastical fantasy worlds are not my preferred reading genre; I find myself to often getting lost in the world descriptions and loosing the plot thread too easily. I did enjoy the characters in this story and I liked Shoftiel; he’s my kind of hero-in-the-rough. I am considering adding the Horngate Witches series to my Amazon wish list because of him.

My Rating – 4 stars (I really liked it)

Story 14 – REEL LIFE (A Glass Town Story) by STEVEN SAVILE

Steven Savile is yet another completely new-to-me author. Books based in sci-fi or fantastical fantasy worlds are not my preferred reading genre; I find myself to often getting lost in the world descriptions and loosing the plot thread too easily. This was a surreal horror tale, our main character, Seth Lockwood, has no redeemable qualities and is a true villain. This short story was well written and had real depth, I was intrigued, however, the thesis for the world was too complex and tricky for me to get my head around. It won’t be a series I’ll pursue.

My Rating – 2 stars (It was OK)


Domino Finn is yet another completely new-to-me author, his story is well written, scenes are well described and the plot progresses at a good pace. However, this short story is a sort of blood-thirsty horror-slasher-type tale; lots of explicit violence, blood and torture which is not my preferred reading genre when it comes to series but I was intrigued by the plot here and our main character is definitely a true villain, no redeemable qualities. So, although I did engage with this story I won’t be adding Black Magic Outlaw to my wish.

My Rating – 3 stars (It was good)

Story 16 – BALANCE (InCryptid series) by SEANAN McGUIRE

Although I know of Seanan McGuire work; I’ve yet to read one of her books. I really enjoyed this story; it was well written, I found her writing style easy to read and I like it when we view things from the other side of the fence, it makes you think. I particularly like it when authors include our very human double standards,

Does a human who makes their dog work for its supper consider themselves malicious? Do they feel like terrible people because they enjoy a good piece of steak on occasion? No. They recognize themselves as the higher creature, and they use the lesser as they see fit. We simply do the same. We simply do it to them.”

Although the pace of this tale is gentle, it doesn’t lack content and it has a great dramatic ending. It gripped me and has captured my attention. I will be checking out the InCryptid series.

My Rating – 4 stars (I really liked it)

Story 17 – EVERYWHERE (Pitchfork County series) by SAM WITT

Sam Witt is a completely new-to-me author. I loved the ending to this short story, however, the ending wasn’t enough to counter-balance my confusion from start to finish. I was unable to visualise many of the scenes that played out in this story, I was bewildered as to who the good or bad guy was – I wasn’t given enough information within these pages to make the choice myself – I couldn’t determine what/who was the Long Man was, I didn’t like the Joe Hark character and didn’t understand why the Long Man was treated like he was by the Father. This story assumes the reader has read the series and has adequate knowledge of the characters and past adventures, in short, I think that this tale is more of a bonus ‘flash fiction’ for existing Pitchfork County series fans.

My Rating – 1 star (I didn’t like it)

Basically, what I’m saying is…

I think that this is a good anthology. It’s got a nice assortment of different settings, writing styles and sub-genres under the urban fantasy themed umbrella to suit most tastes. The collection of villains that we meet here are just as varied. Some are predators just doing what they do naturally, some are potential heroes in the rough and some would be better off obliterated from the face of the earth. *shiver*

I’ve enjoyed having Urban Enemies as an ongoing back-up, to be able to pick up and read when I’ve had a bit of free time.

Who doesn’t have time to squeeze in a short story?! What I’m thrilled about is that I have found a couple of new-to-me authors to check out. Plus I’ve finally read work from authors that have popped up on my radar for years.

I’ve really loved reading 4 out of the 17 tales. While about 6 stories didn’t float my boat, I think that level of satisfaction is quite exciting for a collection of this quantity, don’t you? However, at the time of writing this the price for Urban Enemies on Amazon UK is £8.49 Kindle (approx 50p per story) and £12.99 paperback (approx 76p per story) – paperback due to be released in September 2017. Therefore, this is not a cheap and cheerful book. If I’m honest, it’s probably a bit out of my price range but only you will know whether it’s worth the price for you.

So, has my review of URBAN ENEMIES sparked your interest in this book or any of the stories listed? Click on the links to check out this anthology yourself.

Keep reading to find out more about the authors.


Thanks for visiting and reading my review. Have you read Urban Enemies or any books by these authors? Drop me a comment below.

signature graphic. Happy reading from flora image sitting on books

You’ll find many of the authors on my favourite authors’ page. Don’t forget to check it out before you go.

Bye for now,

Flora x

book cover for Urban Enemies -an anthology by various Authors

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