I enjoyed this book. The only series in this anthology that I follow is Seanan McGuire's October Daye and I picked it up to read Tybalt's stand alone...moreI enjoyed this book. The only series in this anthology that I follow is Seanan McGuire's October Daye and I picked it up to read Tybalt's stand alone story which I thought was well done.
(view spoiler)[I liked the idea of having to choose a new name when he became king although since that was made clear until the end I kept wondering why he was called Rand.
I'd also like to know how his court moved so far. There's a story there, I'm sure. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This isn't a traditional anthology. It's in the style of "found" documents and the multiple authors contributed.
I was disappointed with this one. I'd...moreThis isn't a traditional anthology. It's in the style of "found" documents and the multiple authors contributed.
I was disappointed with this one. I'd read Zombie Apocalypse! and thought it did an exception job of showing a civilization in decline before the zombies even showed up. Since this is a sequel of sorts, I thought it would pick up about where the other one left off but instead a lot of the book covered the same territory from other points of view but there was very little indication of a society already in decline except for the mention of austerity here and there.
The actual zombie stuff wasn't all that interesting. (view spoiler)[I think they made a mistake in having a section from the point of view of the zombies because then you start to get into logistics. There's a throwaway reference to a meat farm but at some point food becomes a major issue. They tried to do some interesting things with acquiring the memories of another person but I'm not sure it makes sense that if zombies can't think or think creatively they'd be able to carry out complex military operations. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I thought this anthology was uneven. There were a few stories that really stood out but most didn't make a lasting impression.
I liked The Lost Boy by...moreI thought this anthology was uneven. There were a few stories that really stood out but most didn't make a lasting impression.
I liked The Lost Boy by Barbara Hambly. (view spoiler)[ It was interesting reading a story from Mary's point of view. But it was really the idea of a young Sherlock in Neverland that piqued my interest. Perhaps that's why he wanted to be a pirate. (hide spoiler)]
I also enjoyed His Last Arrow by Christopher Sequeira. (view spoiler)[The premise is fascinating. Sherlock Holmes is literally a dying John Watson's biggest desire. That is, a life full of fame and adventure. But the cost to others is high indeed. (hide spoiler)]
I loved Red Sunset by Bob Madison. I loved Sherlock as an extremely crotchety man over a century old. But mostly I love it because he has a picture of a younger John Watson on his desk and he tells his visitor he only called him John, never his surname. That little touch made it my favorite story of the collection. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I enjoyed this anthology, though a few of the stories did suffer from the Watson isn't terribly smart/completely oblivious problem. I really wish the...moreI enjoyed this anthology, though a few of the stories did suffer from the Watson isn't terribly smart/completely oblivious problem. I really wish the final story had continued because it ends on a frustratingly ambiguous note.
Many of the stories were actually quite sweet and the couple involved was not Watson/Holmes.
The beginning section lays out some evidence that suggests Holmes may have been canonically gay. It's interesting. I'm not sure I totally buy it but interesting nonetheless. (less)
It's entirely possible that this anthology is more brilliant than it appears because I'm not familiar with the ACD canon and so stories that appeared...moreIt's entirely possible that this anthology is more brilliant than it appears because I'm not familiar with the ACD canon and so stories that appeared to have little relationship with Sherlock Holmes (including an entire entry by someone writing about the fact that they didn't know anything about Holmes) are actually clever allusions to canon that I just missed. Or not.
I did get that some were retellings of ACD stories with other people standing in for Holmes and Watson (why, I don't know).
There were two stories that stood out. One is Neil Gaiman's The Case of Death and Honey (full disclosure: I'm a fan of Gaiman's other work). His dealt directly with Sherlock Holmes. I liked his portrayal of Sherlock's relationship with Mycroft. (view spoiler)[ I also liked his suggestion of how Mycroft could have kept the Empire running on his own but that without it him it would crumble. I also liked his portrayal of John Watson fading away as he got older and suffered losses. And I definitely buy the idea that were Sherlock to discover how to reverse aging or how to make himself immortal, he'd do it to John without telling him first). (hide spoiler)]
The other was The Case That Holmes Lost by Charles Todd. It dealt with some of Doyle's ambivalence about Holmes and an intersection between (fictional) Doyle's life with Holmes. I'd like to read more about Doyle, I know he had something of a love/hate relationship with his creation.
This was a well put together anthology consisting of short stories written in established series created by several different urban fantasy authors. I...moreThis was a well put together anthology consisting of short stories written in established series created by several different urban fantasy authors. I found a new series to check out which is always a plus. It's a good sampler if you're looking for a new series or author.(less)
I thought this was a well put together anthology. There were only a couple of stories I didn't particularly care for and a few others I thoug...more4.5 stars
I thought this was a well put together anthology. There were only a couple of stories I didn't particularly care for and a few others I thought didn't necessarily fit the theme of "monster" but the vast majority of the stories were really quite good which is all I ask from an anthology.
This is an anthology only in the strictest sense (it has many authors). I assumed it would be like other mammoth anthologies in that it woul...more3.5 stars.
This is an anthology only in the strictest sense (it has many authors). I assumed it would be like other mammoth anthologies in that it would be a collection of short stories. Instead, it's a collection of documents generated during a zombie apocalypse.
I was actually struck not by the zombie apocalypse stuff but by the sense of a country on the decline in the first few sections of the book. I'm used to thinking of America as being an empire in decline, I hadn't really thought of Britain being in decline (though I just read a story that said their economic recovery may be the slowest since 1830). It really made me want to read more fiction with that as the focus, the decline of countries since the 2008 financial crisis. But that was not this story. Although what started it was actually a bread and circuses type diversion from the decline of the country.
Some of the documents were interesting, some of the hand written ones were slightly difficult to read, and some of the documents were dry and boring. I did, however, love the government plan for what to do in case of a zombie attack.
Something about the book didn't quite work for me though. I don't know if it's that it was all documents or something else. I think that kind of thing tends to work best when it's incorporated as part of a larger narrative. As it is you're left wondering who this collection was made for. Somebody bothered to put it all together and even separate entries chronologically so even if someone wrote something covering a month you might get two weeks, a bunch of other documents and then the remaining two weeks. Is this supposed to be something for the military to see? The government? The average person? It needs at least a little more context.
(view spoiler)[ I'm generally not a huge fan of the zombie retains intelligence and is basically the same person except undead sort of zombie. It also ends in a way that doesn't quite make sense. Okay, fine, the zombies now outnumber the living and have taken over government. So what are they going to do for food? At some point you reach the tipping point and there are no longer enough humans to sustain the zombie population.
And what about natural rot and decay? That's never addressed at any point in any of the documents. Do they just magically stop decaying when they're reanimated?
Finally, there really should have been a stronger religious element. We have the right wing preacher responding the way right wing preachers tend to when there's a disaster and we get the Mexican death cult but that's really about it. As someone who is not religious I fully expect there would be a massive increase in people turning to religion should the dead begin to walk. (hide spoiler)]
This was a very strong anthology of dystopian stories. There are a lot of well known authors, often multiple Hugo or Nebula awar...moreFour and a half stars.
This was a very strong anthology of dystopian stories. There are a lot of well known authors, often multiple Hugo or Nebula award winners. There were a lot of stories I really liked and I can't think of any that struck me as particularly weak or mediocre. I particularly liked the final story, Civilization. (less)
The vast majority of stories in this anthology were very good. There were a couple of exceptions and more than one author had to...moreFour and a half stars.
The vast majority of stories in this anthology were very good. There were a couple of exceptions and more than one author had to actually say something about how the vampires were evolving. I'm not a huge fan of authors quoting the theme or name of their story. It always feels heavy handed to me.
My favorite was easily Connie Brockway's. The love interest is a literal genius with limited social skills but she has a good heart and tries very hard to follow social cues. I have to give credit to Brockway. I really liked this story even though it involved a single parent. I have almost zero interest in reading about children.
Finally there was Vicki Lewis Thompson's story. I hated this story. A lot. I know Jon is supposed to be (endearingly?)arrogant and supposedly he's (still?) in love with her. The problem is that he clearly doesn't respect her. When she's angry his thought process is basically "oh, she's upset. Isn't that just the cutest thing?" As opposed to, you know, actually respecting her feelings. I realize the ruined pan (to take one example) may on the surface be a silly thing to argue about, the thing was, they were also arguing about philosophical differences. When he has something that is ruined/broken etc. he just buys another one because hey, he's rich, why not? Kate, on the other hand, tries to salvage what she can first. And, of course, he thinks that's just silly.
Jon thinks several times about the fact that Kate doesn't like to be bossed around and has to keep reminding himself not to do it. But I don't get the sense he's doing it respectfully. It was more that he was just indulging her foolishness.
But what bothered me the most was that the relationship "works" in the end because Kate decides to become a completely different person. So I guess the message is you too can have a great relationship if you just stop being who you are. She comes from a family that was in the spotlight when she was younger and she's clearly an introvert. And her sister and Jon both think it's great that she's now willing to talk to his fans, give up her privacy, and basically be "on" all the time. For an introvert, that kind of life is miserable. Extroverts get charged up by dealing with crowds and strangers. Introverts find it immensely draining. I'm not saying introverts and extroverts can't have happy relationships but that involves compromise on the part of both parties. This is clearly Jon giving up exactly nothing while Kate thinks she can radically change who she is to please Jon. (less)
This is a set of four novella length stories that deal in some way with tattoos.
Skin Deep by Karen Chance - Every time I read a story about Lia I thi...moreThis is a set of four novella length stories that deal in some way with tattoos.
Skin Deep by Karen Chance - Every time I read a story about Lia I think I'd like to read about her in a series but it seems that so far she's destined only to appear in anthologies like these. For some reason, the Cassandra Palmer series never really did it for me. Anyway, it's a good story although the tattoo aspect seems tangential to the story.
Armor of Roses by Marjorie M. Liu - This was probably my favorite story, but I already read the series so I think I'm biased. It's a self contained story wherein Maxine travels back in time to WWII to once again meet her grandmother and prevent something from happening in the future.
Etched in Silver by Yasmine Galenorn - Galenorn's style didn't bother me as much as it often does but I still think she had the weakest story. Part of the problem is that it doesn't feel like a self contained story. It feels like it belongs as part of a larger book and so it feels like there's not a real resolution.
Human Nature by Eileen Wilks - I liked this story as well. In fact, I liked it enough that I think I'll pick up the first book in the series. (less)
This is a good, solid anthology. There were a few weaker stories but for the most part I thought Golden made good choices.
I particularly liked Jonath...moreThis is a good, solid anthology. There were a few weaker stories but for the most part I thought Golden made good choices.
I particularly liked Jonathan Maberry's story and I was happy to learn that it's being expanded into a book. Family Business made me think about zombies in a different way and I'm very much looking forward to exploring the world he's created.
I didn't particularly care for Charline Harris's story which seemed to be more like a retelling of a Celtic myth than anything else.
I liked Nalini Si...moreI didn't particularly care for Charline Harris's story which seemed to be more like a retelling of a Celtic myth than anything else.
I liked Nalini Singh's story thought. The main characters were interesting and I liked the society she created.
I always enjoy a trip to Ilona Andrews' series. I love Kate and Curren but it was fun to spend time with some of the other characters. There was a preview for the next book in the series that made me wish it was coming out much sooner than it actually is. Something to look forward to, I guess.
**spoiler alert** This was actually a pretty good anthology.
Christine Warren's story didn't do much for me because it was one of those woman meets man...more**spoiler alert** This was actually a pretty good anthology.
Christine Warren's story didn't do much for me because it was one of those woman meets man and is in love within half an hour stories. Attraction, even affection, sure. But in love?
I really liked Marjorie M. Liu's story though. I'm always a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories and I liked the world that Liu created. The society was interesting, I liked the magic system, and I particularly liked the crow.
Caitlin Kittredge also created an interesting world. I haven't read her series though so I don't know if it's a new world or not. It was a dark world sort of in its own dimension where demons rules.
Jenna McLaine's story was okay, even if Jack the Ripper has been way overdone. I'm not a huge fan of her series (or at least, the stories that I've read in anthologies that seem to be part of a larger series) though.(less)
This was a pretty good anthology of short stories that take place in the same world as these authors' urban fantasy series. I was familiar with half t...moreThis was a pretty good anthology of short stories that take place in the same world as these authors' urban fantasy series. I was familiar with half the authors. As far as I can tell, there's no unifying theme tying the stories together but that's okay.
Kim Harrison's story was focused on Jenks. A fellow pixie comes to him for help because a statue is causing one of his children to sleepwalk/fly and attack the statue so hard she's causing herself pain. It's also caused one of his newlings (kids not old enough to be named) to die.
It was nice to see Jenks on his own. I like Rachel, but she can be a bit much.
I'd like to see more of Jenks doing some work on his own and it was cool to see Jenks having Ivy as backup rather than the other way around.
I wouldn't mind seeing more of the characters introduced in this story. They're all less annoying than Pierce.
Vicki Pettersson's story needs to have a huge spoiler warning for City of Souls. If I hadn't already read that and read this first I'd have been incredibly pissed. Having said that, it doesn't make me like the twist in that book any better. It makes me think even more the whole thing was driven by hormones (and probably some depression) so it's not so much a tragic love story (which I never thought it was) as JJ being a naive idiot.
It does explain Solange's fascination with the zodiac more and makes that cooler, but the rest? Meh.
Maybe it could have been done with a lengthier treatment but by necessity this one was pretty shallow. I can't really talk about it without giving away a fairly major plot point in book 4 of the series and while I didn't like the development, I'm not going to spoil it for others. (I talk about it at length in my review of that book if anyone is interested).
I'd honestly forgotten what Melissa Marr's entry was about, which is surprising because I think it was one of the better stories in the anthology.
A woman has to keep from having sex and killing in the same month or she'll turn into a full monstrous creature. Should be easy, but when she starts poking into the business of a drug dealing slaver, and her grandmother who wants her to join the family of monstrous creatures appoints her a hot bodyguard, it's more difficult than it sounds.
It could be really interesting to see an entire series with this character's struggle, or at least a full length book.
I haven't read Jeannine Frost's series, but this story seemed okay. Bones, a vampire, is in New Orleans trying to track down two notorious ghouls who are murdering and eating the tourists. Nothing special, but not bad.
Jocelyn Drake's story takes place just before Nightwalker. It's pretty typical, a vampire's been murdered and she has to find out who. The council is getting uptight about whether she has enough control over her territory, so if she can't solve the murder in a short period of time she's going to be called on the carpet. I really liked the reason behind the murder and I think seeing it from the murderer's point of view could have been really interesting. It would also be interesting to see if it actually affected Mira at all, alas, we'll never really know. It seems unlikely to come up in a future book since she's got other things going on.
This was a good anthology from a number of well known YA authors with their own series. The vampires were nearly all closer to the horror version than...moreThis was a good anthology from a number of well known YA authors with their own series. The vampires were nearly all closer to the horror version than the PR version, which is to say, they ate people in bloody and awful ways.
There was one story that was an exception to that, about a rock n roll vampire, but I really enjoyed the story and would like to read more about him. The band manager was hilarious.
Most of the stories were very good and it was nice to have a return to vampires being something other than misunderstood and terribly sexy people (which can be fun but can also get old).(less)
I think the stories were supposed to be linked via the use of a brew (usually a potion). Sometimes that works better than others.
I was amused by Jim B...moreI think the stories were supposed to be linked via the use of a brew (usually a potion). Sometimes that works better than others.
I was amused by Jim Butcher interpreting "brew" to mean McAnally's prized beer. It was a nice story, no guest appearances aside from Murphy, and no major revelations about things from the novels.
Karen Chance had a story from a new series that might be interesting. Then again, her protagonist is dangerously close to spending a lot of time whining about how it's not safe for anyone to love her because she puts them all in danger... not quite accidentally burned down her entire village with uncontrolled powers, but not far from it, either. I might check out the first book.
A solid anthology with stories from a few different Urban Fantasy series. (less)
This anthology has some very good stories and some forgettable stories. I know the Tiptree Awards are about rethinking gender but I must confess there...moreThis anthology has some very good stories and some forgettable stories. I know the Tiptree Awards are about rethinking gender but I must confess there were some stories that I didn't understand how gender fit in.
I liked Have Not Have by Geoff Ryman, which is apparently the first chapter in a longer work. The section included in the book suggests the novel is about the Internet reaching the farthest corners of the earth so that everyone is connected and how that would affect previously isolated peoples and communities. I've put the full book on my reading list.
Liking What You See by Ted Chiang posited a world where technology makes it possible to prevent people from recognizing a face as beautiful. It was interesting, but I couldn't help thinking it was rather pointless. If you take away beauty people will just find something else to use to put people into hierarchies. Clothes, eye color, hair color, etc. And it did nothing about body image. It also focused on faces and I think a bigger issue is fitness and weight, which weren't mentioned at all.
There was some discussion as to whether using technology to blind people to a face's physical beauty was a good idea, but I would have liked more. And there was little recognition of the fact that if people don't use beauty they would use some other standard.
Another interesting question might be whether beauty is a valid standard. People go to pretty amazing lengths to be beautiful, cosmetic surgery, lengthening bones, etc.
But is intelligence any better? Everyone is born with a certain level of both intelligence and beauty but there's only so much a person can do to raise those levels.
The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree, Jr. was an interesting tale about subversive advertising but I'm not sure what it had to do with gender.
Little Faces by Vonda N. McIntyre was strange. It's full of women, but they have male companions living inside them. However, there's nothing particularly feminine about the women (they actually felt asexual to me). The male companions inside them are mostly depicted as hungry and attention starved. They apparently have personalities, but I didn't get a real sense of that and they felt asexual too.
Shame by Pam Noles is an interesting essay on the fiction of Ursula K. LeGuin and what it means to be a fan of color. I liked it a lot, but it's another piece where I didn't see how it was related to gender.
The Future of the Female by Dorothy Allison is an essay on Octavia Butler's fiction that confirms my opinion that Butler is most definitely not for me. It sounds too much like Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, all about raising kids.
There were other stories and essays, but those were the ones that stood out to me. (less)
There's very little romance in these stories, and very little love. In fact, none of the stories felt romantic to me. The anthology has the usual mix...moreThere's very little romance in these stories, and very little love. In fact, none of the stories felt romantic to me. The anthology has the usual mix of forgettable stories and stories that offer something interesting.
My favorite story in the anthology is definitely The Moment of Joy Before by Claudia O'Keefe, but I'm a sucker for apocalyptic stories. This particular story involves a deadly plague.
To the extent there's any love or romance at all, all but one of the stories focuses on a heterosexual relationship. The final story, Le Fee Verte, has both a heterosexual and lesbian relationship. I enjoyed that story as well, which is set in Napoleonic France.
Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge is also more historical fantasy than anything else. This story takes place before the rise of the samurai in Japan.
There are a handful of standout stories in this anthology, but there are more that seem flat or fail in other ways. (less)
This anthology consists of fantasy stories by several prominent DAW authors. Some of the authors contributed stories set in an established world but o...moreThis anthology consists of fantasy stories by several prominent DAW authors. Some of the authors contributed stories set in an established world but others contributed something completely new.
I thought this was a pretty good anthology. It took me a while to get back into reading pure fantasy (as opposed to urban fantasy). I'd read or heard of the majority of authors in the anthology but I also found some new authors I'd like to try out.(less)
This is theoretically an anthology of humorous fantasy/urban fantasy stories. I don't know that I found most of them to be more humorous than stories...moreThis is theoretically an anthology of humorous fantasy/urban fantasy stories. I don't know that I found most of them to be more humorous than stories in another fantasy anthology but there were still some good stories. I enjoyed the one about Satan's bell, particularly the ending, and I enjoyed Jim Butcher's Dresden Files story about Harry's day off. I paticularly loved the image of Harry playing D&D as a barbarian. It was nice to see the pack of werewolves again, too. I was beginning to wonder where they'd gone.
Most of the stories were just okay, however.(less)
The premise of the anthology is that the stories get progressively more extreme. I'm not sure that the book really delivered on the promise, particula...moreThe premise of the anthology is that the stories get progressively more extreme. I'm not sure that the book really delivered on the promise, particularly since towards the end extreme seemed to mean "dealt with time travel in some way." There were a lot of time travel stories.
The anthology did have some good and memorable stories.
I particularly enjoyed the opening story about racist hobbits years after the events of Lord of the Rings.
I also liked the story about living in total darkness with evil dark overlords.
One of the stories toward the end that dealt with time travel and the holy grail was really very cool.
So, there were some good stories along with an assortment of pretty forgettable stories. (less)