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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

146) Dark And Stormy Knights by Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn & Others

The Blurb -

Elrod has collected nine original stories by the modern masters of urban fantasy; an anthology that will both thrill fans and serve as a nice introduction to an increasingly popular genre. Several of the stories are set in the authors' series worlds but feature minor characters; Jim Butcher's “Even Hand,” for example, uses the landscape of the Dresden Files series but focuses on Chicago Mob boss Johnny Marcone. Carrie Vaughn's “God's Creatures” features Cormac, who must track down a rogue werewolf. All the stories feature knights of one kind or another, but none is the conventional knight of history. The entire collection is strong, but the two highlights are Rachel Caine's “Even a Rabbit Will Bite,” about two old foes, and Shannon Butcher's “The Beacon,” in which a reluctant hunter must decide the fate of a small girl.

My Thoughts -

If you read my blog on a regular basis you will know that I am not a huge fan of anthologies. Sure I have read a few stunners in my time but usually I end up moaning about the stories and hating myself again for being drawn in by the big cool names. Dark and Stormy Knights is, yet again, one of those moan and groan ones. I however will try and keep the whining down to a minimum because I decided to try this on audio and I think that made it even worse.

A Questionable Client by Ilona Andrews

I haven't really read anything by this author. I think my eyes have passed over another short story and I do believe I read her debut release. However I haven't, for some reason, followed up on her books. After listening to this story I have to admit that I do feel the urge to take a look at this author again. It was a good strong story and I liked the idea. Full of the paranormal this was not the best of the collection but it was certainly one of the better ones.

Even Hand by Jim Butcher

I am not up to date with the Dresden series and even though the books are on my shelf I never feel in the mood to pick them up. However it doesn't really matter if you have visited Harry Dresden lately because Johnnie Marcone is telling the story this time around. Which kind of put me off. I mean I don't like Johnnie. He is the bad guy. Sure the story is well written but to be honest this didn't do anything for me. The narrators voice also put me off and I found myself not caring for this tale at all. Could have been much better.

The Beacon by Shannon K. Butcher

Finally I get to see what Jim's wife can do! And I was slightly impressed. This story had good and bad parts but all in all it was quite an interesting one. Much better than what the husband contributed and it left me even more eager to try Shannon's books. Well worth reading.

Even a Rabbit Will Bite by Rachel Caine

This story about a dragonslayer who is about to retire really got me excited at the beginning. After all Rachel Caine is one of my favourite writers and who doesn't love dragons? Anyway it became clear to me very quickly what was going to happen to the dragonslayer. The only mystery to me was how long it was going to take. As the story went on and on I found myself wanting to scream at the slayer. How could she be so old and wise yet so stupid. I have to say the story was actually good and fans will love it however it wasn't the best in the book.

Dark Lady by P.N. Elrod

I remember starting the Vampire Files series a long time ago and giving up after a couple of books. This short story started off very good and promising but at some point lost the plot and also lost interest.

Beknighted by Deidre Knight

While I have heard of this author I don't believe I have ever read any of her books. So it was to have a new author pop up in this anthology. Unfortunately this story really didn't grab my attention in anyway and I found it quite boring. Sorry! Although I have to say that the woman reading this story may have played a big part in it. She showed no emotion what so ever and I could have fallen asleep listening to her.

Shifting Star by Vicki Pettersson

It was a big mistake to listen to this one. I am obviously not far enough into the Zodiac series to understand who the character was telling this story was. I feel sorry for anyone who has never read the books because this story would make no sense to them at all. As it is I know my way around a little but I still drowned listening to this one and hated the fact that I had no idea what was going on. Time to catch up with this series.

Rookwood and Mrs. King by Lilith Saintcrow

This wasn't bad. Definitely not my favourite but a very good addition to the collection and one of the strongest. Lilith always writes a good story and I got pulled into this quite quickly and enjoyed it.

God's Creatures by Carrie Vaughn

They saved the best to last. Not a Kitty story but set in the Kitty world, this story follows Cormack as he hunts down a werewolf. No fuss, no romance and no rubbish. This was the best of the bunch and my reward to listening to all the stories!

All in all - Not a good anthology. Read the Carrie Vaughn story in the bookstore and if you can get away with it (or on another trip to the bookstore) maybe read the Lilith Saintcrow and Rachel Caine ones too. The Ilona Andrews is also worth some of your time...if you are in the bookstore...why not?


Lemonitsa said...

I tend to have the same opinion about anthologies... I see them in the book store and they look exciting and stunning with all the glitter and loved authors... and then... the cake falls flat.

I'm glad you liked a couple of the stories and I want to read Carrie Vaughn's (I like her writing!) so I think that a trip to the book store with the comfortable chairs is in order :)

cheers to you, Amber!

Aurian said...

Hi Amber, I do agree about anthologies. I use them mostly as bath-books. Read one story, and time to get out of the tub. Sometimes you really have to read the story for an ongoing series, but I also like to try out unknown authors to get a feel for their writing style. But indeed, mostly good and bad mixed up.

Sharon S. said...

not an anthology fan either. Usually you have to know the series the author writes to appreciate the shorts.

You must try the Kate Daniels series! I discovered it this year and it is probably one of my favorites now. You won't be disappointed