ARC Review: "City by Night" by J.M. Frey

City by Night by J.M. Frey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

This is a story about Mary, number one fan of the hottest cult vampire detective TV show, City by Night...until it becomes all too real. 

An accident with the Craft Services truck sends her hurtling into the world of the show, and Mary is thrilled—who wouldn't want to live alongside their favorite TV characters? Unfortunately, living in TV-land isn't all that Mary thought it would be. The charm fades when Mary realizes that the extras still don't speak, the matte paintings don't become real, and all the infuriating flaws in the writing are just amplified when you have to try to interact with the shallow characters. And then, of course, the lead character Leondre DuNoir falls for her! 

Sure, fine, he's hot...but he's also a bit, well, poorly written. And his admiration comes with its own set of problems: Antonio, Leondre's psychotic stalker, has a habit of killing off the girls-of-the-week. Not only is Mary disillusioned with what she thought was a lush world until she had to try to maneuver in it, now she's about to be murdered by one of the stupidest clichés in the history of television in a world that, pardon the pun, totally sucks. 

A loving satire of the Toronto film industry, vampire-cop television, and what it really means to be a "fan" from award-winning science fiction author J.M. Frey.



I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

After seeing the cover reveal on J.M. Frey's newsletter, I grabbed the chance to request an e-ARC. The author mentions on a special note that this story was originally published as part of her thesis.

The story follows Mary, a PA working on the tv production of a vampire tv show. Mary loves the show and the characters and she also likes screen-writing. When an accident transports her into the fictional world of the show, Mary will have to face every bad, poor and male-centered trope of the show.

The story also takes place in Toronto a city which I know, from hunting down old favorite tv shows, that is used for filming almost every time. Since the author also lives in Toronto, I trust her point of view concerning the opinions the locals form in the book. It takes almost a comedic aspect as Mary insists on loving a show the locals prefer to hate due to its poor setting and how inconvenient the filming becomes for them.

At the same time, when Mary goes into the fictional setting of City by Night, she meets the protagonist, the antagonist and the sidekick of the show. There is violence in here and there should be a trigger warning for violent themes. Mary tries to save Leondre, the main character from the clutches of his written character and at the same time she notices that the story is not as perfect as she thought it'd be.

Finally, the story is also a hard slap to the people who believe that a tv production can love the characters or the shows they create. It was also a hard slap for Mary too and while the story had the air of paranormal romance, the romantic theme was not the focus.

I do believe that a tiny part of this story gave J.M. Frey the inspiration for her another amazing series, "The Untold Tale", and also her writing will never stop to amaze me. :)

About the author:

Frey is an author and professional geek. She is a professional smartypants on AMI Radio's Live From Studio 5 morning show, is an occasional talking head on the SPACE Channel's premier chat show InnerSPACE, has appeared in documentaries, lived in Japan, and lent costumes to the Ontario Science Centre. She also has a number of academic credentials, including a BA in Dramatic Literature and an MA in Communications Culture, and has lectured at the Pop Culture Association of America's Annual Conference (San Francisco), at the University of Cardiff's 'Whoniversal Appeal' Conference, and the Technology and Pedagogy Conference at York University. Frey loves community theatre, and her dream is to one day sing a duet with John Barrowman.

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