Urban fantasy set in San Francisco

I like a bit of urban fantasy and The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar by Seana Kelly appeared to be just the kind of book that I would enjoy. Our heroine, Sam, has become a werewolf because she has been assaulted. She now owns a bookshop and bar in San Francisco which caters for the supernatural community of the city although she doesn’t consider herself part of it. She is still traumatised by what happened to her. A necklace that she has worn all her life is damaged and after she removes it she comes under attack. Bodies are found with scars that mirror hers. Her bar is targetted. She finds herself having hallucinations and nightmares.

This isn’t a wildly original book but, on the other hand, it includes lots of things that fans of urban fantasy enjoy like werewolves, witches and vampires. There are interesting characters and a love interest for Sam (not a love triangle which I am pleased about as that is becoming too prevalent in fantasy novels with a female main character). The book is the first in a series so there are a few loose threads at the end of the story but Sam has learned a lot about the supernatural world in which she lives in this book and so have we.

I did, however, have a problem with this novel. I found Sam to be a weak and reactive character who spent most of the book being told things about the supernatural life and her own past by others, and who had to be rescued more than once because she seemed to take risks and ignore the advice of those people. Sam appears as a victim who doesn’t know what is going on and waits for others to inform her or to take action for her. I had expected her to grow in confidence and take the initiative by the end of the book but she didn’t – maybe this comes in the rest of the series. I didn’t enjoy reading about Sam enough to want to follow her adventures into another book.

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