Urban Fantasy, the genre where elements of the everyday and the fantastical interact and even clash, has experienced somewhat of an oversaturation of late. With some exceptions, a majority of urban fantasy has a tendency towards feeling the same. Such genre pieces as ‘vampire ran nightclubs’ or ‘werewolf street gangs’ have a bad habit of repeating over and over again despite differing authors. Thus it can be hard to find any urban fantasy that recaptures the freshness and innovation of the genre from its early days. Such is not the case with A Net of Dawn and Bones, independently published book by C.R. Chancy and the focus of this entry of Xlibris Reviews.
It has been twenty years since the Dark Day, when the supernatural came out of shadows suddenly and violently. Now vampires and werewolves are acknowledged as citizens and magic-users are simply service-providers of a kind. In Intrepid, North Carolina, it is nearing Halloween and a series of annual series killings may turn out to be a prelude to something even more sinister… literally Hell on Earth.
To save countless lives are police officer Church, half-demon fire-mage Aidan, and the demon-slaying heretic Myrrh of Alexandria. Together these three must navigate cold cases and the culture clashes between supernatural and mundane societies that have been forced into interacting with each other. This is further complicated by the fact that the vampires and werewolves have been very good spinning a public image of themselves as tragic romantic figures to humanity while at the same time not telling the human public everything about themselves and the supernatural world.
In A Net of Dawn and Bones C.R. Chancy takes a well-trod genre, deconstructs it, while at the same time drawing upon the same folklore and legends that are half the fuel of urban fantasy. C.R. Chancy is one of the few writers of urban fantasy who addresses the culture clash between general humanity and those people and beings on the supernatural side, especially in cases where the supernatural is partially in the open.
C.R. Chancy has also clearly done the research, drawing upon ancient folklore regarding supernatural creatures and magic, as well as ancient Christian beliefs and practices. Chancy uses said research to inform and structure the setting, in particular the magic systems, which are consistently established and written throughout the story.
The characters are wonderfully human in their drives and emotions and all the more likeable for it (especially the half-demon). The villains are evil and horrific, in no way cool, but nonetheless are believable and effective as antagonists. In particular, the main villain is a cocktail of arrogant, sociopathic, but still incredibly clever and innovative making them a more than credible threat.
The writing in the book both fluid and organic. Dialogue and thoughts tend to flow in a natural manner.
A Net of Dawn and Bones is not without flaws. It features extensive dialogue may not to be some reader’s taste. And in addition, the author’s rapid yet fluid writing style can require readers to double back and reread segments to better understand what is going on. That said, C.R. Chancy’s writing style also makes for easy and enjoyable rereading.
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By Ian Smith