I am a huge fan of the Urban Fantasy genre. The Dresden Files is one of my favorite series of all time. There’s just something about the mix of magic and mystery that intrigues me. Perhaps it’s because I love both magic stories and mystery stories. Putting the two together is a match made in heaven for me. It is because of my love of urban fantasy that I took a look at Syndicate: Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector by Lyle S. Tanner.
Syndicate isn’t really a novel in the traditional sense. Instead, it’s a collection of short stories brought together because of recurring themes, characters, and places. The stories, in one form or another, all revolve around the Syndicate. The Syndicate is a seemingly government run organization that deals in magic, both in protecting civilization from magical shenanigans and protecting the secrets of magic from the overall populace. Each story within this anthology deals with a different situation, while still seeming to follow a coherent narrative for the entire book.
You may remember that I’ve talked about this author before. Indeed, the short story I’ve talked about before from this author is the first short story presented in this anthology. The main draw of this book is the world in which these stories take place. The world and the atmosphere throughout the book are very gritty and magical. Honestly, I was reminded a lot of the Dresden Files in terms of this book’s atmosphere. The mix of the big city setting and dark magics behind closed doors felt very similar to those stories. Then again, this could be just a product of the book’s Urban Fantasy bend.
Despite the book having many different characters, each of them feels completely unique. Each story has its own voice ad personality, even down the the writing style of each story. I found it extremely creative and it felt like I was reading a book from a different author every time the book switched characters. From a purely technical standpoint, this book is fantastically written. Personally, my favorite characters were the Terror Twi… Uh… Di and Ezra. I felt like their characters were fantastic fun.
My biggest problem with the book had to do with its plot lines. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the plots of each story. In fact, I found them creative and, at many times, full of suspense. However, I feel that the characters sort of disappear once it seems like their stories are over. The stories lacked closure for me. One character is shot in the head and we never really found out why. If this is an ongoing series, I understand why the stories feel like they still need to be finished. However, as a stand alone book, this just felt jarring to me.
Despite that problem, this was a very good series of short stories. I would even call this a novel, as there definitely seems to be an undercurrent of a bigger story throughout all these smaller stories. If you like when magical stories take place in the big, dark city, you’ll definitely enjoy this. Until the next time, I’ll be eagerly waiting for the next series from this author. If only there was some sort of spell to make time go faster…