cover image Monkey Around

Monkey Around

Jadie Jang. Solaris, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-78108-920-0

Chock-full of mythological characters from a multitude of cultures, Jang’s fun if slightly overcrowded debut puts a modern urban fantasy spin on the classic Chinese tale “Monkey King.” Maya MacQueen is a supernatural living in San Francisco, but even she doesn’t know what kind she is; her range of abilities and the magnitude of her powers far surpass any other “supernat” she’s come across. She runs an activist magazine and organizes rallies in the Occupy Wall Street era of 2011, while working as a barista at a café/supernat-sanctuary owned by Ayo—for whom Maya also takes on pro-bono investigations on the side. While investigating a string of shape-shifter murders, Maya discovers that the spirit of the city is seeking a guardian to maintain stability. In her default animal form of monkey, Maya pulls out all her talents to solve the mystery and save the city from chaos. The prose occasionally rambles, with a multitude of superficial secondary characters who serve to introduce myriad folkloric backstories but do little to further the plot. Still, the coexistence of a plethora of were-creatures makes for a delightful backdrop to Maya’s adventures. Fans of new takes on folklore will want to check this out.[em] Agent: Amanda Leuck, Spencerhill Assoc. (Aug.) [/em]