Tor.com started publishing a bunch of excellent novellas in 2015. I love the novella format - it's short and tight and doesn't accomodate much fluff, while it also provides more meat than a short story. All good things! One of the novellas I've loved so far is Matt Wallace's Envy of Angels: A Sin du Jour affair - The first book about the strange border-world of Sin du Jour, one of New Yorks finest catering restaurants. They serve a very discerning, very specific demographic. (I expect you'd find an entry on Sin du Jour in, for example, Mur Lafferty's Shambling guide to New York.)
You should read Envy of Angels before you proceed to read this second volume in the series; Lustlocked. You'll be able to enjoy it anyway, but there are references to events from the previous story, which will obviously make more sense if you've been there. Also, it's fun, so why not?
Lustlocked begins much the same way Envy of Angels did - we find Ritter and the rest of the supply & stock team out somewhere in the world, busy acquiring a vital ingredient for the Sin du Jour kitchen. They need to provide for a goblin wedding, this time. Not just any gobling wedding, actually - it is the wedding. A royal one.
By the way? Are you sad about losing David Bowie? This story packs a little extra punch for Labyrinth-y people. I may have cried a little bit.
Of course, we're quickly back to Darren and Lena, Sin du Jour's newest line cooks. Despite their experiences in that kitchen, it really is hard to turn down a job that pays more than they'd earn as sous chefs anywhere in the city.
I don't know about you, but I watch cooking shows a lot (especially while I consume ugly junk food) - and Matt Wallace has managed to turn the entertainment kitchen, and the overall foodie trend, into an urban fantasy universe. I love it, I love the descriptions of the pastry chef's meticulous presentations. AND I'm very relieved that the phrases "Me on a plate" and "Cook your heart out" are not included anywhere in the text.
Lena continues to be beautifully competent, Darren continues to be weirdly incompetent, and Dorsky is a doofus. As expected.
The short story "Small wars" is included in the e-book copy, and also available to read online here. It details exactly what went on with Ritter, Cindy, Moon and Hara on their mission at the start of Lustlocked, and as a bonus it offers glimpses of how Ritter even found these people. Pretty naff!
Do I recommend it? Yeah! I haven't even mentioned the lizardy snake people things. They're there, you know.