Tag Archives: Anthology

Dead Men Don’t Cry by Nancy Fulda: Review

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What you’re lookin’ for. You won’t find it here…Folk find lots of stuff in this place, but never what they came looking for.

These days novels get all the attention, but there is a wealth of fantastic stories that can be found if you explore short fiction. It’s with that thought that I pick up books like this. Dead Men Don’t Cry is a collection of short fiction by Hugo and Nebula nominated author Nancy Fulda. Nancy has also won the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story contest. With a record like that, I reasoned one of her short story collections had to be good, and I was not disappointed.

Dead Men Don’t Cry contains eleven stories that ask questions I never even thought to think about. What do you do if you’re a billionaire living on the moon and just must have French pastries? You hire a ship to bring them to you from France every day (Pastry Run). How do clones feel about being clones? What about the person they were cloned from? (Blue Ink) How do you deal with a dead mother who just won’t leave you alone? (Ghost Chimes). My personal favorite Monument, deals with humanity making a tremendous decision, one that they will likely never know if it was a good one or a bad one.

Each of the stories in this anthology are unique and each one drew me in with its own special way of telling. Nancy Fulda has a powerful voice and successfully emerges the reader in nearly a dozen worlds, be they on earth, in space, through time, or in another dimension. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction. If you haven’t tried out the short form, this is a great place to start. If you have, you won’t be disappointed in this book.


BLACKGUARDS: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues — Only 7 days left!

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ROGUES. ASSASSINS. MERCENARIES.

Coin is their master, and their trade, more often than not, is blood. Something about these nefarious types appeals to the fantasy reader. Perhaps it is that they have abandoned the moral set that dictates what is socially acceptable in our world. In these tales, we live vicariously, intrepidly, and by our blades or our wits or a culmination of both to some degree. These are BLACKGUARDS.

If you haven’t already heard, Blackguards is the new anthology being put together by the guys over at Ragnarok Publications; the same people who did the Kaiju rising anthology. Their Kickstarter has only a week left, and they’ve already raised $27,000; when their original goal was $14,500. That is, as of me writing this post, they’re over185% funded. If that alone doesn’t speak for the anthology, check out their lineup, and take a look at their Kickstarter, using the link at the bottom of this post.

Their lineup includes stories by:

  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Mark Lawrence
  • Shawn Speakman
  • Django Wexler
  • Carol Berg
  • Richard Lee Byers
  • Anthony Ryan
  • John Gwynne
  • Tim Marquitz
  • Jon Sprunk
  • Snorri Kristjansson
  • Paul S. Kemp
  • David Dalglish
  • Lian Hearn
  • James Enge
  • Peter Orullian
  • Joseph R. Lallo
  • Cat Rambo
  • Anton Strout
  • Laura Resnick
  • Mark Smylie
  • Kenny Soward
  • Jean Rabe

They also have opening for 1-2 others! You can join this amazing lineup by checking out their open submissions.

They’ve got a fantastic lineup, and a lot of great backer rewards to choose from. Take a look, check it out, and you’ll be sure to find something that interests you! They just unlocked their t-shirt add-on stretch goal as well!

Find their Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1089607742/blackguards-tales-of-assassins-mercenaries-and-rog

Remember, there’s only one week left. Get in before it’s too late!

 


Shifting Shadows: Stories From the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs : Review

Shifting

Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…

Normally I am not a big fan of anthologies as I find myself unable to enjoy them when one story ends just as it starts to get interesting, but this one really stands out from the others I have read.

Shifting Shadows is an urban fantasy anthology set in the world of preternatural shapeshifter Mercy Thompson. There was not a single story in this anthology that I did not enjoy in some way. When a series of books is written in the first person, its makes the short stories told from the perspective of someone else. We get a really good look at some characters who are only briefly mentioned in the main books in the series, and some insights into the lives of werewolves, vampires, and ghosts.

I wasn’t quite sure how to go about writing this, so I just decided I will go through and write a small little review for each story in the order they appear in the book. I did my best to keep any actual spoilers out of them while still giving my impression of each one.

Silver:

Silver tells the origins of Bran and Samuel becoming werewolves and an explanation of sorts as to where werewolves originally came from. We also get a glimpse into the early life of Ariana and the ill fated romance between her and Samuel. Though a time period is not given as to when this story is set, its obviously a very long time before Moon Called takes place, and gives a pretty good idea how long a werewolf can live. It was really interesting to see the origins of a number of characters who only get small amounts of screen time in the main series, as well as what’s probably the origins of the werewolves themselves.

Fairy Gifts:

This story is interesting in that it tells a story in two alternating timelines, the year 1900 in Butte Montana, and present day Butte Montana. I found myself enjoying this quite a bit, despite the fact that it’s told from the viewpoint of a character only seen briefly in the Mercy Thompson book Frost Burned. We get a good look at what it means to be fledgling vampire and what abilities you get after you’re turned. I found myself disappointed that it ended so fast, and hoping we see more of Thomas Hao, he seems like a unique vampire who’s owed his own story.

Gray:

This was a really sad and melancholy story, almost a little to much for my taste. In this one we get to see the regret and depression of a female vampire who has returned to her former home in an attempt and live on her own without a seethe.

Seeing Eye:

Wendy Moira is a good witch, something not often seen in a world where witches gain their power through the mutilation and suffering of others. Tom is a werewolf intent on freeing his mundane brother from a coven of black witches. Together they might be enough to do it and survive. What made this story the most interesting for me is it gives us a good look at the inner workings of witchcraft and gives you a good idea that you do not want to get on the bad side of anyone with witchblood in their veins!

Alpha and Omega:

This is by far my favorite short story in the entire anthology, and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Alpha and Omega takes place during the events of Moon Called and fills in a lot of the plot holes from it that have been bothering me for a few years now. It tells the story of how Anna Latham and Charles Cornick met, while explaining what started the chain of events leading up to Moon Called. Anna is probably my favorite character from the anthology and it’s interesting to see a new type of werewolf I don’t remember being mentioned before, an omega. I will definitely be buying Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega series in the next few day, I can only hope its as good as this short story was.

The Star of David:

This was probably my least favorite story of the anthology, mainly because it’s supposed to be a Christmas story about werewolves, and I hate Christmas stories. When I try and do my best to forget its a Christmas story it’s pretty enjoyable and tells the story of the army ranger turned werewolf, turned werewolf mercenary David Christiansen who appeared in Moon Called. The most enjoyable part of this story for me was how believable David’s conflict of what he is, and who its made him become.

 Roses in Winter:

This story is a good example of why I really love this anthology, it’s always get a glimpse into the life of a character only briefly mentioned in the main series, or more detailed dynamics of being a werewolf. Roses in Winter tells the story of Kara Beckworth a thirteen year old girl briefly mentioned in Blood Bound as having been turned into a werewolf. She’s now become the Marrok’s newest problem to solve, as a young girl unable to control her wolf is a danger to both herself and all werewolves. This book gives some really interesting insight into the laws that the Marrok has laid down to protect all the werewolves, and why they are necessary to uphold. It also gives us a decent look into what happens to a werewolf who has been alive for centuries and is nearing the end of his expected life span.  All in all this this is up there with Alpha and Omega on my list of favorites from this book.

In Red, With Pearls:

I don’t quite know what I think of this one, I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but afterwards I couldn’t quite figure out why. Not a whole lot really happens in it, and what little action there is just kind of bored me. The only thing I liked about it was learning that zombies exist in the world of Mercy Thompson.

Redemption:

I struggled getting more than a few paragraphs into this story at first, it throws a lot of tech jargon at you in the beginning which kind of threw me out of the story. I found it quickly got better though, and we got a good look into what makes Ben the werewolf tick.

Hollow:

I don’t know why it surprised me that Mercy Thompson didn’t make an appearance till the very end of the anthology, I should have expected that to be the way it would be. This story has about everything you can expect from a Mercy Thompson story. There are werewolves, shifters and ghosts, not to mention Mercy taking her usual mental and physical beating. While this was of course a great story, as any story featuring Mercy would have to be, I found my mind wandering a bit while reading at certain points. Mercy is much more suited to full length novels.

 

I suggest anyone who is a fan of the Mercy Thompson or Alpha and Omega books buy this book, it fills in a lot of gaps in them both, and I know I’ll be adding it to my collection when it releases. In fact, I hope anyone who reads this is encouraged to go out and read all the other books by Patricia Briggs set in the same world, she is quite an author and I know I’m more than looking forward to her next book.

Shifting Shadows is set to be released September, 2nd by Ace

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 


Check out RLovatt’s interview with Patricia Briggs on the ArchedDoorway here.

 


Magic City: Recent Spells edited by Paula Guran : Review

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Bright lights, big city… magic spells, witchcraft, wizardry, fairies, devilry, and more. Urban living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment.

Street kids may have supernatural beings to protect them or have such powers themselves. Brujeria may be part of your way of life. Crimes can be caused (and solved) with occult arts and even a losing sports team’s “curse” can be lifted with wizardry. And be careful of what cab you call—it might take you on a journey beyond belief!

Some of the best stories of urban enchantment from the last few years gathered in one volume full of hex appeal and arcane arts.

Magic City: Recent Spells is a collection of previously published short stories by some of today’s top urban fantasy authors with a new introduction by Paula Guran.

The most important thing to remember when you go to read this anthology is the fact that all of these short stories have been published in other anthologies or made available elsewhere by the authors. There is no theme behind the anthology and nothing tying them together other than the Paula Guran’s insightful introduction to the genre and the fact they are all urban fantasy. I would suggest not reading the stories in this anthology in the order they are listed as I struggled to get through the first couple stories before they progressively got better.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about reviewing this anthology and decided to pick the two stories I liked the least as well as the two stories I liked the most and review those. I am a fairly big fan of the urban fantasy genre and had read the majority of these stories back when they had originally been published, so to find any stories in the anthology I did not like in some way was difficult.

Street Wizard by Simon R. Green:
This was my least favorite story in the anthology and proved to be a “day in the life” story with no real plot or direction. It did provide however, a decent glimpse into the world created by Simon R. Green, and interest me enough that I will definitely check out more of his writing.

Paranormal Romance by Christopher Barzak:
I still don’t quite know what to think of this one, it was more of a romance story with bits of urban fantasy thrown in to spice it up some. I though the main character was somewhat shallow and found myself a little offended that she would use her magic for something so frivolous as affecting hers and other peoples love lives.

Dog Boys by Charles de Lint:
I’m not that all that big of a Charles de Lint fan, but this turned out to be one of my favorite stories in the anthology. Brandon is the new kid in town who finds himself in the middle of what is essentially a gang war between the 66 Bandas and the Native kids from the nearby Reservation. It is about doing what is right even when no one else will.

Curses by Jim Butcher:
This was by far my favorite story out of them all as is probably no surprise as Jim Butcher is a master of the genre, though I am a little shocked to find a short story of his I have not read. In Curses Harry Dresden is employed by the Chicago Cubs in an attempt to break the Billy Goat Curse. Like any other story in the series Curses is full of Butcher’s trademark humor, the Fae, as well as a certain talking skull. I’d certainly consider this the crowning jewel of this anthology.

I would certainly suggest to anyone who is a fan of the genre to check out this anthology, but would also suggest they look carefully to make sure they have not read the majority of the short stories contained within it. For those who have read the majority of the short stories I would suggest buying it anyway, there is no such thing as rereading a story too many times.

I received a free copy of this publication in exchange for an honest review.


Neverland’s Library

Hey guys,
I wanted to do a bit of a post explaining this website’s inactivity. Some of you may have noticed that there haven’t been a lot of reviews lately, and there are a variety of reasons behind this (though, I promise there will be a few up in the next couple of weeks!).

One thing that has taken up a fair chunk of my time is an anthology called Neverland’s Library. Which (most of you from Facebook will know all this already) is an anthology that I’m co-editing, and am currently trying to get funded through an Indiegogo campaign. This is a joint project between myself, and Roger from A Daily Dose of R&R.

Neverland’s Library is a fantasy anthology, focussing on a theme of “Rediscovery” and we have some fantastic authors involved:

  • Introduction by Tad Williams
  • Miles Cameron
  • Mark Lawrence
  • William Meikle
  • R.S. Belcher
  • Jeffrey J. Mariotte
  • Marcy Rockwell
  • Peter Rawlik
  • Marie Brennan
  • Jeff Salyards
  • Kenny Soward
  • Ian Creasey
  • Stephen McQuiggan

And we’re still open and looking for submissions; stories between 2,000 and 8,000 words — full guidelines can be found here.

Our goal for this anthology is to help raise money for a non-profit organization called “First Book” which provides literature and educational resources for children and young adults in impoverished areas, helping to decrease illiteracy rates and promote learning. It’s something Roger, and I have become really passionate about supporting over the past while, and we want to do what we can to help.

So, I’d really like to encourage you guys to take a look at our Indiegogo, and if you can chip in a dollar or two, that’d be beyond fantastic… Or even if you could help share the word and spread the link, we really would appreciate it. For all the information, the campaign page can be found here.

Thank you guys for your patience… I’ve gotten a few messages asking about whether I’m still reviewing, and I promise you, I am. I’ve just (unfortunately) had to put this website on the back-burner for a little while to work on the anthology and other things. Reviews will be posted regularly again, starting this week.

Thanks,
Rebecca

Concept cover art by Gabriel Verdon

Concept cover art by Gabriel Verdon

 

Also — we have a new reviewer on board: Nick Sharps. I encourage you to heckle him once he starts posting reviews!


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