The Biergarten of the Damned, a review by Joanna

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The Biergarten of the Damned

Seana Kelly

Published Oct 4, 2022

NYLA

299 pages

🌖🌖🌖🌖

This is the fifth book in the Sam Quinn urban fantasy series about a lone werewolf with a traumatic past, who runs a bar & bookshop for supernaturals in San Francisco. You definitely need to read these books in order to know who all the different characters are, as you don’t get much recap. I enjoyed this one more than the last couple, because the Faerie plot lines take a back seat to the main story, which is mostly about Sam trying to deal with a demon threat.

Sam and her vampire husband Clive are living in the apartment behind the bar with their new puppy Fergus, and looking forward to moving into their new home together. Dave, the half-demon cook who normally always has Sam’s back, is behaving strangely and seems determined to alienate her. When he quits and goes to work for another bar, Sam knows something must be very wrong – but getting him back may be her biggest challenge yet.
The best thing about this series is the array of interesting magical characters from across the UF spectrum, and how they interact in the modern world. Unlike most of this genre, they’re not romance stories – Sam and Clive are happily married and thankfully there are only a couple of brief love scenes to detract from the plot. Unfortunately, the repetition of the previous books persists – Sam is attacked, injured and subsequently healed by one of her Wicche or shifter friends on a regular basis, but now it’s not just her – poor Fergus is repeatedly threatened and harmed – luckily they have a vet on standby. We learn more about Sam’s past, and how Dave fits in to her story, and there are some entertaining new characters like Fangorn the orc bodyguard.
This book is followed by a novella called The Banshee & The Blade which from memory came with the author’s newsletter, but the time of writing doesn’t have a separate GoodReads listing. A spin-off series about Arwen Coffey has just been published, called Bewicched, and the next Sam book is out later in the year – I’m invested in this world, so probably will keep buying them.

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