Now this is what an anthology should be! MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING succeeds as much as BLOOD LITE failed. To be fair, since we're dealing with 9...moreNow this is what an anthology should be! MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING succeeds as much as BLOOD LITE failed. To be fair, since we're dealing with 9 vs 21 short stories, I shouldn't be surprised. Here the stories are more like novellas so they have sufficient time to develop character and plot. MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING also showcases IMO the cream of the urban fantasy crop. As is indicated by the anthology's title, all of the stories deal with supernatural weddings.
Again, my draw to the book was knowing a Jim Butcher Dresden File was within. The fact that Charlaine Harris and Lori Handeland contributed stories too was just icing on the Wedding Cake! Even better, I like 6/7 stories this time!
L.A. Banks' "Spellbound" -- Take the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud, throw in a little Romeo & Juliet romance, then add the supernatural. Not the strongest tale, but sweet little romp.
Jim Butcher's "Something Borrowed" -- Werewolves Billy & Georgia are getting married and Harry's the best man. As is always the case, something is keeping things from running smoothly. Georgia's not acting like herself, and Harry has to call in Murphy to help him save the day. Another high action winner from Butcher. One of my favorites of his short stories.
Rachel Caine's "Dead Man's Chest" -- I really enjoyed this tale too. A twist-filled tale that I thought would be a (yo) ho-hum story at first, but bloomed into a fun, romantic adventure. It even made me look forward to her continuation story in MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON.
P.N. Elrod's "All Shook Up" -- Definitely the weak link of the book. A pre-cog caterer meets an Elvis impersonator at a wedding; a great premise that fails to deliver. Perhaps she should stick to editing because she did a great job assembling this anthology.
Esther M. Friesner's "The Wedding of Wylda Serene" -- This story was also less enjoyable to me, but at least the ending ramped up the action and consequences of Greek Gods meddling in human affairs.
Lori Handeland's "Charmed by the Moon" -- Creepy and romantic. I'm new to Lori's novels and haven't read her Nightcreature series yet, so I can't say how it falls into the existing series, but I like the story enough to put them on my "To Read" list.
Charlaine Harris' "Tacky" -- I've yet to read her Southern Vampire novels (waiting on availability through my library), but I love HBO's "True Blood" and her short stories are fun and amusing. This tale deals with the delicate wedding details when a vampire bride stoops to marrying a werewolf.
Sherrilyn Kenyon's "A Hard Day's Night-Searcher" -- Again, I'm unfamiliar with the author's Dark-Hunter series, so I can't comment on whether or not this short story fits the mold. My only complaint is that it didn't really define the world enough for those who don't follow the series. However, I found it to be an enjoyable story about Dark-Hunter whose naive squire publishes a magazine story that too-closely resembles his Dark-Hunter's life. When another more Type-A female squire comes to arrest his bumbling squire, the Dark-Hunter makes a deal hoping to win her affection and save his squire.
Susan Krinard's "... Or Forever Hold Your Peace" -- I liked this tale set in a Victorian alternate universe where magic is inherited along with one's title. An imaginative concept to comment upon societal class struggles when a bride is kidnapped at her wedding.
Another fabulous adventure for Sadie and Carter Kane in this second offering from the Kane Chronicles. The novel takes off shortly after the events in...moreAnother fabulous adventure for Sadie and Carter Kane in this second offering from the Kane Chronicles. The novel takes off shortly after the events in The Red Pyramid and is just as much of a whirlwind, can-stop-reading page turner as its predecessor. The ancient Egyptians gods are loose in the world and this time Carter and Sadie must stop Apophis from rising and bringing forth Chaos. The Kane kids have barely managed to set the Brooklyn House back in order, let alone fully master their powers. As if that isn't bad enough, their new recruits have barely grasped their own potentials, when Sadie and Carter must leave them behind to protect the Brooklyn House, while they locate the Book of Ra and use it to restore the Sun God before Apophis breaks free in a few days.
The Throne of Fire continues to switch POV narration between Carter and Sadie, which IMO makes it all the more accessible to boys and girls. Riordan also does and excellent job of creating realistic characters that you quickly care about and sets them off on a roller coaster ride of mystery, danger, and mythology. Relying not only on their magical abilities and brains, but their new recruits and a handful of the Egyptian gods, the Kane kids rush to save the world without getting killed in the process.
The Kane Chronicles is, in my opinion, Riordan's best series to date. Everything (plot, characters, pacing, tone, and balance of dialogue/description/action) is pitch perfect.
My only gripe ... the cliffhanger ending with no idea of how long we have to wait to read the third installment in this series!(less)
This anthology of three novellas serves its purpose extremely well. I picked up the book specifically to read Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms's short s...moreThis anthology of three novellas serves its purpose extremely well. I picked up the book specifically to read Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms's short story, but all three contributions grabbed me enough to add the other authors' series novels to my TBR list.
Mercedes Lackey's "A Tangled Web" (Five Hundred Kingdoms #5.5) - Featuring Brunnhilde and Leopold from TheFive Hundred Kingdoms, I thoroughly enjoyed Lackey's mash-up of Norse and Greek deity myths inserted into this series' Godmother/Tradition framework. Especially making Persephone a stronger character who willingly participates in her abduction by Hades rather than acting solely as the victim of a tragic tale. Instead she and Hades are the calm, rational romantic partnership, while Bru and Leo service the hero/heroine functions to satisfy The Tradition. The unexpected twists and winks that characterize this series add humor and enliven these classic myths, while seamlessly intertwining them.
Michelle Sagara West's "Cast in Moonlight" (Prequel to the Chronicles of Elantra series) - I was intrigued with Kaylin and the other main characters almost immediately, and I think Sagara West did a terrific job with the plot and pacing. I was quickly swept into the action and felt very satisfied when I finished. However, a few things irritated me--although not enough to not recommend reading this novella. My frustration was with the minimal world building and limited characterizations. Particularly in regard to the geography, politics, and role of magic within the Empire (especially the city of Elantra) versus that of the fiefdoms (especially Nightshade where Kaylin is from). I am also still not sure what the Tha'alani, Barrani, and Ferals look like--are they anthropomorphic like the Leontines (feline-humanoids) and Aerians (avian-humanoids) or humanoid mortals/immortals similar to our Fae? Because this prequel appears after many of the novels in this series were released, I'm hoping that the first and subsequent novels in this series have addressed these omissions and space restrictions for this short story necessitated trimming them out.
Cameron Haley's "Retribution" (Prequel to the Underworld Cycle) - I immediately connected with enforcer Domino and was sucked into her travails despite my dislike of mob/mafia stories. I think the fact that the mob in question is Israeli rather than the typical Italian, Chicagoan, Russian, Asian, or Latin gangs found in most popular media was an interesting choice--especially given the setting of Los Angeles County. The fact that this novella is a well written revenge scenario with a paranormal twist also helped.(less)