What worked best for me is how Leckie so successfully managed to create the entire empire and made it seem real for me while focusing on really a smalWhat worked best for me is how Leckie so successfully managed to create the entire empire and made it seem real for me while focusing on really a small number of characters in very focused locations. It's mainly a small story that happens to have larger implications. The focus in on the main character and very few secondary characters made it (or should have made it) easier to care about them and what happened to then, or at least be interested whether or not you are fond of them, both in this book and the last one. But she made the culture and history of the empire and the annexed cultures just detailed enough to make it feel real without ever making me feel like I'm plowing through a bunch of information. It helps that much of the cultural stuff is as foreign to Breq as an AI as it is to the reader, so the author has the opportunity to point out things that would be odd for someone who grew up in the culture to dwell on.
I didn't really connect with this book though. Most of the book took place on a planet and focused on people I just didn't care about at all. Its slow and relaxed pace wasn't the problem, I wasn't looking for it to be a thriller. But the bulk of the story was about this local tea growing family and their drama and it was just a bunch of stuff stereotypical stuff about a bunch of bullies, a teenage bully and the annexation/colonial bullies. It wasn't interesting, there wasn't anything new in those stories. It was like reading a book set in India 200 years ago, there wasn't anything refreshing or original about Breq being the only one who thought their behavior was appalling. The characters were very stereotypical and so was Breq's modern liberal reaction to them. Plus she was very distant, despite constantly telling me how angry she was, all I felt from her was that she was just kind of hovering over this dull story, disassociated from it and distanced from it somehow. And why do I want to read a 300+ pages of a book where the major mover and shaker is a stereotypical bullying, abusive brat? She's the big bad, really? The first book had Breq going up against an emperor with thousands of bodies on planets all over the universe, plus the sense of trying to figure out what was going on and that whole mystery and wonder of the first book unraveling. That would have been hard to reproduce, too much to ask for perhaps, but this time all she had to go up against was a brat and her indulgent merchant mother. Ohhh, how exciting. Not that real human drama isn't important and the root of most evils. But within the scope of these novels it was bizarre to me to spend hundreds of pages on these people. After the first three hundred pages Breq got off the planet again and things got more interesting, the rest of the pieces came into play, then the book was over. I can't help it, I'm interested in the ships, in the stations, in the people on the planets yes, but in their cultures and how they relate to the empire. I appreciate very much that to Breq every person matters, she never loses sight of that. But the story about the Citizen Fosyf the tea grower and her daughter Raughd was just not enjoyable. This human drama was unoriginal. There were pieces that played into Leckie's set up for book three in the series, but it didn't need three hundred pages to do that. I just didn't get it.
And yet, and yet, there's something quite lovely about it too. The end was just nice. It was so sweet it made me regret feeling...ennui maybe?... through much of the book. I don't know, I wasn't annoyed or bored or frustrated, just constantly wondering why in the world Leckie was making those choices and when the bit players would get offstage so I could read about someone I cared about. Not every book has to be thrilling, I definitely think that. I'm not really into thrillers and action-packed books aren't hugely represented on my shelves. Slow and sweet can be great. I like the tone of Breq's narrative very much. It wasn't that I was bored. But I won't remember it with much pleasure either, I just don't care about any of these people except Tisarwat, who was actually a very minor character, and Awn's sister, who's role is minuscule. And Seivarden, who was also barely in the book. And Five Kalr and her love of the tea sets: extremely minor but cute. The transitory characters from the local system were just so stereotypical, reading about them wasn't fun. And Breq was distant and hard to connect to. Maybe she was just as distant in the first book but it didn't matter to me because I was caught up in the fascinating page-turning puzzle of trying to figure out who this woman was and what she was trying to accomplish. And without a driving mission in this book she just wasn't as interesting. There wasn't the sense of jeopardy, excitement, no reason to rush to turn the page, no mystery certainly and no excitement. I don't need a thriller but I need something compelling. Breq in book one had a compelling mission and that translated into a compelling story. This Breq felt lost and it left me feeling lost too....more
I got this a part of a book bundle. It's just a silly little book, pretty darn short as far as I could tell from the ebook, but cute, and actually infI got this a part of a book bundle. It's just a silly little book, pretty darn short as far as I could tell from the ebook, but cute, and actually informative if you're into mythology. They covered quite a few mythological beasties that I'd never heard of, and I've read a lot of books about mythology and a lot of authors who've been including somewhat more obscure mythology in their books, like Ilona Andrews and Kevin Hearne just to name two. So it was actually a treat to be introduced to so many critters and creatures that I'd never heard of. The logic of what was kosher or not was generally pretty funny too, I found myself arguing along with them, it was a cute format for the material. And the story of how the book came about was amusing too. Who says social media is a waste of time? This is hardly the first book deal to come out of it. ...more
It was fine, but I suspect it might mean more to me after I read the first novel, despite having been written first and being numbered 0.5 in the seriIt was fine, but I suspect it might mean more to me after I read the first novel, despite having been written first and being numbered 0.5 in the series....more
Cat Rambo - Tortoiseshell Cats Are Nonrefundable - A very good story, about things that I'm sure everyone has thought about since Dolly and since (ricCat Rambo - Tortoiseshell Cats Are Nonrefundable - A very good story, about things that I'm sure everyone has thought about since Dolly and since (rich) people have been able to clone their pets. They aren't the same animals, no matter how much their people want them to be. But oh, how I've thought about it. Good sci-fi.
Natalia Theodoridou - The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul - I found this because I read another story by her in Kasma Magazine which was also about a guy who was alone and going a bit batty. This was OK, but I didn't get what the numbers were about at all or how the beasts were animated. But what he was dealing with alone on that world was poignant.
An Owomoyela - And Wash Out By Tides of War - It was OK, it just felt kind of jumbled to me, trying to say too much with the stuff with the soap opera and they guy who was almost a brother to her and the stuff with her mother and the suits of armor, though it took forever to figure out that that's what they were. On the other hand, there weren't enough details to picture the world. And the end was pretty cheesy.
Vandana Singh - Infinities - I always like stories that have non-Western settings or cultures, so that was plus. It just didn't really quite work wonderfully. The math part didn't have a payoff for me. Multiverse, math, not really angels but why were they shepherding him around, all mixed up in the culture wars and an aging, depressed man, it was maybe one too many ideas for me. Plus the timing was bad, I'd just been re-reading The Way of Kings this afternoon and the paper thin farishte and the worlds they took him too reminded me way too much of spren, especially Pattern, and Shadesmar. Although since this was published first in 2009 it's obviously a coincidence, or perhaps Sanderson was influenced by the powerful images. But I like the plea for peace and the statement about the insanity of many religions claiming to be about peace yet so often demonstrating the opposite. And I'm not good with subtle stuff, but I guess the end is saying that he learned to stop living in his dreams for the future, or dwelling in his despair, and to live in the moment. Or something.
John Barnes - Martian Heart - It got mushy right at the end, " Did she dream me into existence?" But it was a good story, it was very traditional "Martian" settlement story somehow, a bit spare, a bit romantic, practical plus adventure. Something of a fifties flare without being at all kitchie. It was first published in Life on Mars edited by Jonathan Strahan in 2011.
Rhiannon Held - Oral Tradition in Speculative Fiction - An interesting essay but more useful to authors than regular readers like me since it's about using oral traditions to craft stories.
Jeremy J.C. Jones - A Tribute to Manly Wade Wellman - I thought I'd just skim this because it wouldn't be very interesting, but I was wrong. I was very interested to learn about Wellman, who wrote about everything from weird fantasy to science fiction, history, YA, mysteries, you name it. The authors interviewed in the article talked most about his stories about John the Balladeer (Silver John), a wizard who wandered the Appalachian mountains with his guitar with it's silver strings. They said that he made the stories seem like new American mythology, like they'd always been true. And lucky for me, my library system has a lot of his books available, even many that are out of print, so I can give them a try.
Daniel Abraham - Another Word: Debts - Don't plagiarize but as all owe debts to the authors we've read and seen, they've shaped our minds in ways we often don't even realize. Yup. It started with L'Engle for me, at least consciously. Certainly Heinlein, maybe I shouldn't have been sneaking them off my uncle's shelf at that age. But my mom never policed what I was reading, she was great about that.
The letter from the editor was a plea for support for Jay Lake's charity. This was just in Februay of 2014 and he passed away on June 1. It's just terribly sad. But it's heartening the way that the speculative fiction community rallied around him, there are a lot of good people out there....more
This was very disappointing. The first half was OK, but if I hadn't read up in other locations about who Monica was it would have meant nothing to me.This was very disappointing. The first half was OK, but if I hadn't read up in other locations about who Monica was it would have meant nothing to me. I don't expect recap of years of history for new readers when each issue is so short, but the source of their rivalry was very unclear without outside knowledge. As for the art, it's very, very clear that the first half was better than the second, but the colors were questionable. I'm pretty sure Monica is supposed to be African American, but in a lot of the frames in Issue 7 her color is as light as the guy who I think is supposed to be Latino and Carol's skin got as dark as hers in other frames. It wasn't clear visually if she was Black or if she was just standing in some shadows. I know he was going for sun-kissed looks out on the water but if she's one of the first super awesome African American heroes, and female heroes, than she should look like a black woman. A different colorist did Issue 8 and I could see the difference, she looked better.
The rest of the book was a total disaster. Story-wise Carol was a total idiot, I hated her. I don't know this woman or her history, but I couldn't respect the idiot in this story at all. And I really thought the art was a joke when I first saw it. I thought it was like one of the extra issues that are sometimes included where they'll tell us a "fan" who's just a kid drew the comic, like maybe that kid who lives next to Carol or something. I honestly think it's the worst art I've ever seen in any comic or graphic novel, I can not believe they published it. It's insane to me. Here's an example of what they think is acceptable:
A panel that fills up a third of the page and the woman has no face, but the flowers look good and there's a buddha in the hospital room, and a really fancy mirror. And all of the women have those stupid skinny legs, the one in this picture are among the best in the book actually. It was just bad. The writing was bad, the art was bad, it was just very disappointing....more
It was fun, it you can get behind a woman being really exciting for her first official job as an assassin. It certainly showcased how far Sabina traveIt was fun, it you can get behind a woman being really exciting for her first official job as an assassin. It certainly showcased how far Sabina traveled in a few decades. Or way less since a lot of the changes happened in the months? after the books began. Anyway, Wells's three novellas from the Sabina Kane series are only 99¢ from the major ebook outlets for one more day if you happen to see this before the end of 2014....more
I really enjoyed The Andrews story about Jim and Dali. Their fans have been looking forward to that story for a long time. And Lisa Shearin's prequelI really enjoyed The Andrews story about Jim and Dali. Their fans have been looking forward to that story for a long time. And Lisa Shearin's prequel to her SPI series was a lot of fun too. Poor Mac had a really rough first day of work. I didn't read the other two stories, the book needed to go back to the library and they were by author's I'm familiar with and much more romantically focused than I generally enjoy. ...more
This was another very interesting story on Gladstone's alternate Earth. Or so it was very briefly implied in the first book in the series, I think I rThis was another very interesting story on Gladstone's alternate Earth. Or so it was very briefly implied in the first book in the series, I think I remember something about a window showing many alternate dimensions and worlds including some where magic didn't work and one that was described to be very much like ours. I didn't feel quite the emotional connection to Caleb that I did to Tara in the first book, but I liked him well enough, and the supporting characters were better fleshed out in some ways. Oy, pardon the pun, since one, Kopil, The King in Red, had no flesh, but he was interesting as well. If not quite the dramatic character Tara's boss had been, he turned out much more interesting than I expected. The Deathless Kings sounded very foreboding and mysterious in the first book. Which he was. But also a regular Craftsman managing a major Concern, a businessman. CEO's have their own sets of ...I'll say issues even though concerns is the better word. It was interesting that only two books into the series Gladstone was able to start playing with my assumptions based on myths, tales and rumors I gathered from groundwork he laid during the course of his first story about a city on other side of the world and early parts of this one, especially about the Deathless Kings, a pretty sinister sounding name for a group. I really like being surprised, I really like not knowing what to expect. One particularly interesting concept is this world where the currency is "soulstuff." I can't quite remember but the first book seemed to say that you could get small amounts from growing things. And is that what Craftswomen and men get from the stars to fuel their Craft? I can't remember. But I do remember that regular people pay with it, even just to get a glass of water in this desert city. They give up bits of their vitality, and what else? How deep does it go, or not, what is the choice of the word soul supposed to imply to Gladstone's readers? He didn't say energy or vitality or any other synonym, he used a word that indicates that they're trading unique bits of themselves. I hope we find out more about that at some point.
Gladstone writes strong women, strong females throughout the series. The two serpent gods who are going to destroy everything are females. I caught myself presuming they or at least one of them would be male and was ashamed of myself. Several times my assumptions about gender were wrong and I was glad to see it, if not to see it in myself. The head of the guard group who escorted Caleb and Mal to the emergency location several days away, basically a military squad unit of the city guard, was a woman in charge of all men and nothing was said in word or tone to indicate that this was any issue at all. There was never anything said by word or tone to indicate that men were less than women at work in any position either, just a habit of choosing the female pronoun first most of the time in both books, or guessing that someone would be female if the gender was unknown. I didn't pay enough attention to analyze what exceptions there might have been, if any, I just noted that the general rule here to choose male if gender was unknown was reversed in these cultures. There seems to be a lot more equality between the genders, a balance of power that is refreshing to see. But part of what's refreshing is that it's unspoken, it's just how it is, which is how it should be.
And I also really like when an author can take some familiar elements and make them completely her or his own. Like the way Gladstone is doing with his world and the way the gods once worked, a familiar concept, many Pantheons or concepts of gods exist in our world too, and how the gods now work less well, new and creative concept to consider when you see how he plays out the idea of the gods either being killed or damaged. He also seems to be able to take a mish-mosh of cultures, (Aztec certainly, I'm guessing that the Quechua people of South America are the inspiration for the Quechal but I could certainly be wrong) and use the parts that work for him, make up new things when it suits him, throw in typical urban fantasy elements when that's convenient for him (vampires, zombies and revenant laborers, why not?) and jumble it all together in a way that feels cohesive and functional. Of course not everything is found in every place, some of it is location specific. Which makes me very curious to see what I'll discover wherever the third book in the series takes me in this fascinating world. It's bound to be another page-turner.
Irrelevant cover rant: I usually love Chris McGrath covers a lot, but it would have been nice if this one was brighter, had the reds of the banners and blood and the golds of the sunsets, maybe with the muddy teeming streets below if he had to. Or the spires of the bustling city, eighty stories tall, a skyline with the different flyers in the sky above would have been cool too, maybe with Mal and Caleb coming in for a landing. Or at least the cards in Caleb's hands could have had some color. It's a dynamic book to be washed out so much that all we got is blurred adobe with a touch of sun and Caleb looking confused and pissed, it just doesn't capture the book as well as he usually does. I know all three covers match with this washed out look, I'm just not sure why the washed out look was cool. The third book was in a Hawaii alternate and it looks like a boring stone window that could be anywhere, nothing lush about it. all three books could have taken place in the same city instead of all over this fascinating world for all that the covers show. End rant....more
Professional fan fiction, it's bound to become a trend (if it hasn't already, I don't know of similar books or I've forgotten). Authors are fans too,Professional fan fiction, it's bound to become a trend (if it hasn't already, I don't know of similar books or I've forgotten). Authors are fans too, what a great way for everyone to make money, I bet many publishers will hop on board the train if and when it makes sense for their authors and series too. Everyone wins. Unless you're the kind of really strict fan who feels that only Harris's voice works for the characters. Now that I think of it, in some ways I guess movie, TV and video game tie-in books are sort of fan fiction in the same way that this is, maybe that's part of why several of the authors who were chosen are very experienced in writing those books. When you see how excited Kevin Hearne is to be writing a Star Wars book it's clear that it's definitely fan fiction, though I'm sure that many times when an author takes on a tie-in novel it's just a job too. But it's a skill to be able to step into an established world and write a story that readers will love. I was impressed at how well almost everyone in this book did it. And how good all of the stories were. There were no actual stinkers. There were a few that I had some quibbles with, that it would be fun to talk to someone about and say, "Hey, what did you think about this..." But most of these voices worked for me much more than the dark and dreary tone of the TV show, which I never could come to enjoy. And many, by choosing lesser known supporting characters, don't have to be measured as strictly against the original since they aren't as familiar. I was impressed with how well the authors captured the tone of the series, I generally felt like I was in the familiar world where I expected to be, if looking at it from some different angles and perspectives than normal. But that was fun, many of those perspectives were ones that I've always wanted to know more about. Some were characters I didn't remember at all, but that's fine too, in the right author's hands some of those stories were able to be a bit more... creative maybe?... without as many restrictions as the more well known voices. Like Nicole Peeler's story, she chose such a minor character, or even though I critiqued it a lot, Leigh Evans had a lot of latitude to write a more creative story, as opposed to writing about Bubba, Alcide, Pam or Eric, all characters who's situations and personalities leave less leeway for playing. Which is it's own kind of fun and interesting challenge I'd think. But anyway, I enjoyed seeing what all of them did and how they did it and made it feel natural.
There were a lot of stories where people were essentially thinking most of the story to themselves, basically internal monologues. The more successful were those with interaction and actual action, plot, beginnings/middles/and ends.
I really hate getting to the end of books and finding things that would have been really helpful to have known were there all along, like glossaries, or in this case author biographies. I should have looked, they're usually there in anthologies, I just didn't think of it. I wasn't really thinking of this as an anthology, for that matter. The bios were actually helpful with a few of them, the condensed format has the information I wanted and didn't really find looking them up on Goodreads or in Wikipedia. Oh well!
Rachel Caine - Kevin and Kenya are trying to capture a criminal and get a bit caught up in the vampire scene in Dallas. Caine always writes good short stories. She did a very good job of making me feel like I was reading a story that was a part of the genuine Sookie universe, despite being from a different POV. The details were all there and the tone was right, the emotions and motivations felt genuine. It felt right and it was an interesting story. Plus I always wanted to know more about how those two got together.
Christopher Golden - What the heck have I read of his before? His book list is endless between his many series and the many TV tie-ins he's authored. I have no idea what I read and his book list is so overwhelming it's actually a turn-off, I can't see the original series from the TV series to find the ones I know I read. Other than some interest in some of his comic books I just don't want to wade through it all. (I wish I'd seen the bio in the back, I'd have been less frustrated to know about the comic books he's writing with Harris and the other books he's aiming for us to focus on.) But the story about Quinn the weretiger was...uneven. At the beginning I felt for his love for his mother and his frustration with not being able to make things better for her in her older years. A lot of us have been in that place in various ways with our parents. And then it got worse. Not it was a bad story-worse, but upsetting it's a good story-worse. It wasn't something I could relate to, thank goodness, but it was all too believable, sadly. Too often when I read fiction I wish that what I'm reading wasn't possible, that the authors were making up the depths of what despicable things people will do to each other to get what they want, but I know that they're really just making up the circumstances and it hurts my heart. So that part was good, in a way, it was good writing if not happy writing. And the story had a good twist at the end. But the overall pace was off, it's all build up then it's over but not actually resolved, his mother is still in danger and the story just ends. It doesn't feel at all like a complete story. Maybe he's planning on writing another story to continue it in another anthology, I've seen that plenty of times, but it felt incomplete and unsatisfying.
Leigh Perry - When Harris calls her, "my friend" in her intro she meant it, it's Toni Kelner. No wonder she got Diantha, her favorite character is many people's. I've read a number of very good stories by Kelner, but this one was just kind of cute, it didn't have the depth that I expected from her. Diantha wasn't exactly doing anything, I mean she was investigating something but there was no plot or story or jeopardy. It was mostly description. So cute, not thrilling.
Jeffrey J. Mariotte - This is another author where knowing that the bio in the back existed would really have helped me. I couldn't find anything under his full name for some reason (he's written quite a few books under that name) and got swallowed up by the huge Jeff Mariotte list of licensed properties/tie-ins of books and graphic novels based on TV shows: Angel, Charmed, CSI, etc. His bio was much more helpful again. So...The story is about Andy Bellefleur dealing with the awful aftermath of the night he got drunk and got a ride home from his sister, and then found something terrible in his car the next day. I liked the detail that Mariotte picked to explore in Bon Temps history, slotting it naturally into the flow of familiar story as though it could have been there all along. It fit very well into the mythology of the series and captured the tone very well. I guess he's an expert at doing that with all of his experience writing in universes he didn't create but has the responsibility to expand. He did a really nice job of capturing the town, all of the little details, and capturing Andy and maybe expanding our understanding of him just a little bit too. It was really very well done for this book.
Seanan McGuire - Seanan always writes good short stories too. She captured how annoying Amelia can be, and yet there's still that something about her that's kind of fun. And she showed a little bit of why Amelia takes the chances she does, what the draw of magic is for her, what risks she'll take and where she draws the line.
Jeanne C. Stein - It was fine. She tried to show why Adele, Sookie's grandma, did what she did and I think she explained it exactly right. It's certainly a story that belongs in this book.
Jonathan Mayberry - An action-packed story about Mustafa that showcased the darker side of this world. The change of pace to a darker tone and the action story was good editing.
Nicole Peeler - What a nice surprise to turn the page and see her name! She's one of my favorite authors and she doesn't do a lot of anthologies. I don't remember Bethany or Desiree or even the Bat's Wing bar in Dallas that apparently inspired quite a few of our authors/fans in their fiction. But it didn't matter, it was still a good story just with the basic concepts of what vampires and shifters are in this world. With a few edits the story could stand on it's own in another anthology and still be very good. I liked the personal elements of the story, the intimate level of it was immediate and bold and real. And the political level of the story as well, the bigger picture that Nicole brought in which added so much depth, it wasn't just about these few people and their jeopardy, they were placed in the world and it's politics and economics. It was an interesting and timely projection to think about how the vampire and shifter situation would influence immigration and the border situation, since they've been such big news in the real world for the last couple of years. So it was a smart story to use those elements and project a potential situation that a woman running from Dallas could get into. Even if the character wasn't one that some fans would be excited to read about because she's so minor in the Sookie universe.
Leigh Evans - Finally a new author who interests me! Remember when anthologies had just a couple of big names and then a bunch of lesser known authors, which was a great way to get introduced to new authors you might like? Especially an anthology like this that can feature mixed genres, fantasy and mystery authors would both work in Sookie-land, it could be really fun. It's nice to see familiar names and know the story will be good, but I'd like more variety. Without having to pick up books as huge as GRRM and Gardner Dozios's massive editing collaborations to do it. It was a cute story. But...I'm not exactly sure it's message about women's body image hit the target. The main character was obsessed with being too heavy because she was bloated from PMS when she was turned into a vampire, and because she was a dancer, a showgirl. And she figured out by the end that it was also because of when she was born. She had a breakthrough when she realized that Renaissance women loved being plump and the men then loved that about them. Which helped her get over the anxiety she'd been carrying around from a relationship with her ex-boyfriend, who it turns out was from the Renaissance, so that's why he was always impatient with her obsession with her weight. OK, great, good for her for getting over him, but she didn't get over her obsession with her weight or realize that she was just as beautiful at any size or any of those healthy body image things. In fact her bad body image was actually kind of rubber stamped, like saying well that's what our generation likes so she should go for being as skinny as possible. Even though she's starving herself and it's idiotic for a vampire who can't actually lose weight. And it never crosses her mind maybe her boyfriend was concerned about her starving herself, or annoyed because she was being ridiculous, she just chalked the whole thing up to him liking plumper women. And the other woman in the story was this smart, take charge totally successful hard ass who dropped it all because she found out that the guy she was supposed to marry was a famous artist. OK, I get it, if Van Gogh was suddenly alive and sane I'd probably go all fan girl wild, just like a lot of women would, makes sense, except it stole the sense of her being so cool. First she seemed like a brat, then when she said she was managing everyone's money and a major businesswomen she seemed different, then suddenly she was a gushing girl and it was all over for her. The story said she'd probably be back to being strong in a week, but it stole my enjoyment of her character. I'm not usually so critical, but it just bugged me that she wrote these women who were so messed up. And body image stuff always really bothers me, I really dislike women who are so down on themselves and it especially bothers me that I don't think the author would even say the story was negative. I think she thinks it was a woman getting over her issues, so it bothers me more that she doesn't see that the character is so hung up on her weight in a really unhealthy way. On the surface the story was cute, fluffy and enjoyable to read, but there were so many underlying problems with the characterization that will make me cautious going into her books.
Bill Crider - The ultimate in fan fiction, just a light story closely mirroring the incident that I even kind of remember when Bubba helped Sookie and Eric rescue Bill from Russell's compound. Harris including Bubba in her stories is fan fiction anyway, and this was just a fun, fluffy fantasy of a story and captured the Southern Vampire tone quite well.
Nancy Holder - I got excited when I saw her name because I thought it was Nancy Holzner. I have had this Nancy on my to-read list for a long time but never got around to her. She had so many books she originated and she's another one who's book list is really hard to wade through because of the huge number of novelizations of TV shows - Buffy, Angel, Charmed, many more, some co-written with Jeff Mariotte even. Is this a publisher connection? I'm sure dozens of authors would had liked to be included in this book. They're all very well-known authors for all of their work, the worlds they created and the tie-ins are all very successful, I've just never seen so many authors with such huge tie-in book lists in one anthology. Or maybe I didn't notice. I'm familiar with Christopher Golden but I never noticed his tie-ins before, I probably didn't look because I was familiar with him. Anyway, this was a dark and sad story about Alcide that tried to have a happyish ending but it was already too late for that and it wasn't believable. Some broken things can't be fixed.
Miranda James - a good reminder that I liked her first Charlie and Diesel cozy mystery. Diesel is a cool cat. And it turns out from the bio and Miranda is really Dean, so I can check out his books now too, which is the point of writing in anthologies, getting now readers, a success for him. Didn't Claude turn out to be a right bastard though, am I remembering wrong? It's funny that this author was still so interested in him. Maybe not so much him but them now that I've read the story. And I didn't remember any of how Claudette died or who killed her, so I could totally be wrong anyway.
Suzanne McLeod - Now here's someone I like who isn't in anthologies much, such a nice surprise. It took forever just to get the most recent book (4) in her Spellcrackers.com series in the US, the publishers were playing very annoying games. This was a good story about Luna the werebat, another character from Dallas, though not in Texas this time. It also featured Sookie's nephew and his dad. It was a little bit, I don't know, distanced somehow, but I liked Luna and it was nice to read a story from her that was so different from Spellcasters. And I liked the the idea of the werebat a lot, the small non-agressive flying shifter has a lot of storytelling possibilities.
Dana Cameron - It's funny how Harris introduces so many of the chapters, ..."Pam is a favorite of this author..." Well duh, of course she is, she's everyone's favorite, just like Alcide is and Eric is and Diantha is and so many of the characters are. They had rich pickings. I do wonder if there was a bidding war over Pam though. Maybe Cameron had to give a big check to charity or she won a huge game of rock/paper/scissors. But I didn't entirely get the story. On the one hand, it was exciting, it captured a bit of Pam's spirit in a joie de vivre kind of way. Though I'm not sure I always though of her that way, I could buy into that being some of what's going on under the surface that she never could or would explain to Sookie or let her see. But it skipped right over why Eric turned her and it still seems so completely out of character the way it was described here, they were total strangers, she wasn't dear to him, why would he do that? Again, maybe it was in the books and I've forgotten, but it should be in the story briefly too then, I shouldn't have to remember. And if I was supposed to care who this Morgan guy was and why he was after Eric, well I didn't. I kind of digged Pam the hero, juxtaposed with Pam the violent killer vampire, and Pam the slightly romantic, it was effective. But there were also some too convenient things, like all the stuff with Quinn being in here at all (he came off as kind of dumb, which he is not), her just happening to fit into the show perfectly in the dress of the one woman who didn't show. It just didn't sit right at times, like those novels where the author is so excited to showcase the ideas she's become attached to that she can't or won't edit or realize that she's trying too hard to make them work beyond what's even fantasyland believable. I just didn't buy into a lot of it.
MaryJanice Davidson - Lucky MJD got the Eric of the future. Unfortunately, I thought this was the least successful story in the book. It didn't sound particular like Eric to me, whatever that means. He was stiff and robotic. It was an oddly difficult and confusing story to read, unfortunately like her other stories going to the future have been actually. Several times I had to go back several paragraphs and re-read to try to figure out what was going on. I get the points she was trying to make with it about the choices Eric made versus the choices Sookie made and that part was good, though the implication that Sookie wasn't happy with her choices was odd to me because I think she made the right choice and Eric in this story sure emphasized that, she had no place in the world he created, she was a creature of the sun. I just don't get all of the choices MJD made in writing the story. It was jumbled up somehow. She used to be such a clear and easy to read writer, I don't know where her flow went....more