DiscoverUrban Fantasy



Worth reading 😎

Solid story, interesting characters. Enjoyed the world building and the magic system. Would have liked more gender diversity.

Comic artist Clyde Williams didn't expect to see his best friend Kev ever again; a reasonable expectation considering Kev died in a convenience store robbery. Imagine Clyde's surprise when Kev turns up in their apartment because Clyde unintentional called him there through a necromantic bond -- one a secret agency is interested in using against those who intend to use similar magic to steal souls and exploit them for financial gain. And then there's Konstantin Kozlov, a member of an ancient Siberian shamanic order who has his own plans...

Hourglass is a twisty, turny paranormal tale that takes the reader on a ride through a well-built world with a unique magical system pulling from books like The Dresden Files and Shadow and Bone, Greek and Norse mythology, and even Buddhist folklore, the elements coming together to craft something entirely its own. I was fascinated by ways in which James played with both ghost and portal lore and the ways in which his tweaks and reimaginings set the world of Hourglass apart from other genre titles.

I did feel that the story leaned heavily on a couple of tropes that aren't, necessarily my favorite: the nerd and the lone, badass female. As someone who writes about comics, the titles and authors cited in the story felt more like a checklist than a well-researched survey and honestly, some nerds do both (I've studied six martial arts by choice while nerding). Hourglass was also much more dude heavy than I usually prefer with the lone female character slotting neatly into a very specific place which... I don't love. The book could also have used one more editing pass; there are a lot of Britishisms in the speech and inner monologues of characters who are from New York and other parts of the States.

Hourglass is an enjoyable and complex book; brain candy with an undertone of moral and theological consideration. Worth a read if you like urban fantasy that's a bit off the beaten path or magical systems that swerve off the straightaway. Not one of my most diverse reads of the year but a solid one.

Reviewed by

Shiri lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, two smaller humans, and two geriatric, leftover-stealing felines. She has been a registered nurse for fifteen years with writing as a side hustle but is ready to embrace the later as a full time challenge. She will probably die buried under her TBR pile.


About the author

Daniel James is an author of horror, fantasy, and fast-paced thrillers. When not writing, he loves reading genre fiction novels and comic books, watching movies, and listening to music (he also used to play bass in a few local rock bands). view profile

Published on September 20, 2020

140000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Urban Fantasy

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