A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky

Posted September 28, 2016 by Minx

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 6, 2016
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 256
ISBN: 1473634253
Purchase at: Amazon
Minx's Rating:

M is a drifter with a sharp tongue, few scruples, and limited magical ability, who would prefer drinking artisanal beer to involving himself in the politics of the city. Alas, in the infinite nexus of the universe which is New York, trouble is a hard thing to avoid, and when a rivalry between the city's two queens threatens to turn to all out war, M finds himself thrust in thrust in the unfamiliar position of hero. Now, to keep the apocalypse from descending on the Big Apple, he’ll have to call in every favor, waste every charm, and blow every spell he's ever acquired - he might even have to get out of bed before noon.

Enter a world of Wall Street wolves, slumming scenesters, desperate artists, drug-induced divinities, pocket steam-punk universes, hipster zombies, and phantom subway lines. Because the city never sleeps, but is always dreaming.


This book felt like a series of short stories with M being the main character and the world he inhabits is unlike anything I have ever read before. It seems to be commentary about M’s life, friends, and the city where he lives. It was very challenging to find the overall plot. If anything I felt that nothing made sense. There is no explanation of the world you find yourself in. Witches, Goblins, Humans and many other magical creatures all in a melting pot of NYC, why? How did they come to be there? A world need to be supported in order to be fully conceived in the eye of the reader. Even the characters themselves were not developed. They are introduced and then off you go. I prefer character shaping in order to draw me in to what is happening to them.

There was little background information to support the world as it was and even less for items found in this world. The items and weapons introduced for example a “gravity knife” but no explanation was given as to what it did exactly. After being introduced it was not even utilized, so how am I supposed to know what it does? So all these cool items are mentioned but the writing does not explain or support their use. Just introduces the idea because it is cool. I prefer if you are going to talk about weapons that they would be written in such a way that we would understand their use.

So M has magical ability and he has been away from New York for a period of five years. Now he returns and is catching up with old friends. When reading the story, it is like you are an outsider to the group and they are going about their business and you are left to try and figure out what they are discussing and the context of their meanings but they are not including you in the discussion. They are not giving you anything to go on, so you spend the story trying to infer what exactly is happening and who the main players are. Very confusing.

Drugs, sex, and craziness; that is how I would sum up this story. Without the utter violence I would relate this to trying to watch Clockwork Orange. Felt the same way to me trying to figure out what was going on and not really understanding why anything was happening. There were some good points, it is very imaginative, I like the whole idea that zombies can eat and drink but cannot have salt without bad things happening, and there is quite a bit of humor throughout the story. For me this was not a winner but I also do not think I was the target audience.

*Thank you to Regan Arts & NetGalley for this eARC of A City Dreaming*

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