Next Author: Malka Older
Previous Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin’s Roc Books and the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015), which was nominated for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature. His first collection of short stories, Salsa Nocturna and the Locus and World Fantasy nominated anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, which he co-edited, are available from Crossed Genres Publications. You can find Daniel’s thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at ghoststar.net/ and @djolder on twitter and youtube.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE BOOKS BY DANIEL JOSE OLDER.

Bone Street Rumba

Bone Street Rumba — (2015-2017) “Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.” Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death. One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead. But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death.…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Related:

Half-Resurrection Blues: This urban fantasy brings a city and a hero to life

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Jana's new review.

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

I love the world Daniel José Older creates in his urban fantasy Half-Resurrection Blues. I love the feel of Brooklyn; the sounds, the sights, the sensibilities; the descriptions of the smell of cigar smoke, booze, and food from the bodegas, sushi bars and food carts. This Brooklyn is full of life — and full of ghosts, which is where our protagonist, Carlos Delacruz, comes in.

Carlos is a half-alive; a person who has died but not completely. He “passes” for living even if his skin is a bit gray; he has a slow heartbeat, he breathes, eats, drinks (and smokes). Because of his half-dead condition, though, Carlos can see and interact with ghosts. He works for the intensely bureaucratic Council of the Dead, staffed entirely by ghosts, w... Read More

Midnight Taxi Tango: Moves to its own musical beat

Readers’ average rating:

Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel José Older

Midnight Taxi Tango, which was published today, is the second book in Daniel José Older’s BONE STREET RUMBA series. Things have changed dramatically for Carlos Delacruz, the half-alive agent of the Council of the Dead, who monitors badly-behaving ghosts and spirits in Brooklyn. Carlos has learned a bit more about his pre-death existence, and the love of his life has left him.

Carlos and his senior partner the ghost Riley are charged with investigating several strange “random” accidents at a local park, and it is clear that they are not random. Soon he is fighting weaponized child ghosts and trying to keep his friends alive.

Jana and I both read Midnight Taxi Tango and we are commenting on it jointly here.

Marion: I liked this... Read More

Battle Hill Bolero: A satisfying conclusion to an important series

Readers’ average rating:

Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel José Older

Battle Hill Bolero (2017) is the concluding novel in Daniel José Older’s BONE STREET RUMBA trilogy of urban fantasy novels set amid the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn, NY. While not as strong as the preceding novels, Half-Resurrection Blues (2015) and Midnight Taxi Tango (2016), Battle Hill Bolero does deliver on what Older does best: vibrant and diverse characters, a multi-cultural and multi-faceted city that fully comes to life, and a hefty dose of righteous indignation. Bear in mind that this... Read More

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper — (2015-2017) Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world. Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on. With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one — and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come. Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and writing as luscious as a Brooklyn summer night, Shadowshaper introduces a heroine and magic unlike anything else in fantasy fiction, and marks the YA debut of a bold new voice.

Shadowshaper: Five-star characters with five-star prose

Readers’ average rating: 

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

I’ve commented before that I give very few five-star reviews. Usually, I expect a book to somehow change my thinking, or how I see the world, in order to rate it a five-star book. As I sat down to write this review I was going to say something like, “While that didn’t happen with Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older, I still…” and then I thought more about it, and decided that Shadowshaper has changed how I think about the world, mostly because of the time I spent with the main character, Sierra Santiago, who is a hero, an artist and a genuine girl.

As far at the plot goes (and it’s a fast-paced one) in many ways Sierra is a classic Chosen One, a trope that some of us feel has been done a... Read More