A spellbinding new paranormal anthology edited by P.N. Elrod featuring never-before-seen stories from New York Times bestselling authors Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn, Ilona Andrews, and more!
In the magical world that lies hidden beneath our own, witches and conjurers exact sweet revenge on those who dare to cross them. They know just the right spell to punish an ex-boyfriend--and the perfect hex to bring rivals to their knees. But what if you're the unlucky soul who falls victim to a conjurer's curse? And if you had the power to cast a magic spell of your own, would you use it? In this bewitching collection, nine of today's hottest paranormal authors tell otherworldly tales featuring spell-spinners who cast deadly hexes--and stories of their hapless, and not-so-hapless, victims. Chock full of paranormal hijinx, this fantastic collection will hold readers spellbound--and enchant readers everywhere with its irresistible hex appeal!
Retribution Clause by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels' world)
The magical world of the Kate Daniels series is unparalleled in urban fantasy. Truly. So it was great fun to read a story that takes place across the country from Kate's Atlanta in Philadelphia. There are no character crossovers, but the hero is Saiman's cousin and also a frost giant. The characters are impressively developed for the page length, and the Seek and Assassinate mission that Adam and his partner go on is packed with magic and mayham...and even a little romance. Fans of this world will love this and new readers will get hooked on this world.
Bigfoot on Campus by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files)
Jim Butcher is the king of short stories. I've yet to read one that wasn't thoroughly entertaining, and I think Bigfoot on Campus is the best yet. Professional wizard, Harry Dresden agrees to investigate a potential threat against his friend Bigfoot's son. There aren't any real clues as to when this story takes place chronologically in The Dresden Files, so longtime fans and newbies alike can jump right in. Harry's trademark biting wit and sly observations are out in force here. Easily my favorite story in the anthology.
Holly's Balm by Rachel Caine
So glad to see Holly and Andy back. I loved them in the STRANGE BREW anthology and hope to see more of them in future short stories (or full novels). It reads a little like an early Anita Blake story...she's a Resurrection witch and he's an Old West gunslinger she resurrected and then fell for (read their first story in STRANGE BREW). The romance is sweet and hopeful which contrasts nicely with their hunt for a magical serial killer who is resurrecting his victims to kill them again. This story/series is unlike anything else Rachel writes and it's one of my favorites from her. Here's hoping she has future plans for these two.
Snow Job by Carole Nelson Douglas (Delilah Street)
Having read only the first book in the Delilah Street series previously, I felt a little disoriented reading Snow Job. The worldbuilding in this series is very good, but it's complex and really difficult to grasp in these few pages. The author does explain everything, but that unfortunately hurt the story and emotions in my opinion. Too many info dumps. I image readers who are brand new to this series will feel overwhelmed rather than intrigued by this story which involves a missing rock star, a vengeful hell goddess, and a personal grudge between Delilah and Snow.
Outside the Box by P.N. Elrod
A simple, straightforward story that appears to be separate from Elrod's Vampire Files series in which a witch and a vampire work as partner's for The Company, a bureaucratic agency that monitors new vampires. A supposedly standard rising turns into a search for a missing woman and a hunt for her sire/killer. A little lackluster in terms of excitement, but the world was intriguing.
How Do You Feel by Simon R. Green (Nightside)
The Nightside series features a diverse and densely populated world, and that is no more apparent in How Do You Feel. In this story, we follow an unwilling zombie (aka Dead Boy) on his quest to feel and track down his murderers. Nightside tends to be hit or miss for me, and I'm afraid this story falls into the latter category. It's just bizarre. The ending especially since it involves a shapeshifting, self-aware car from the future as a love interest. Too weird for me.
There Will Be Demons by Lori Handeland (The Phoenix Chronicles)
Here's another series where I've read the first book, but it's been years and my memory is foggy at best. Not sure if these are primary or secondary characters from The Phoenix Chronicles series, but it involves fairies, dhampires, skinwalkers and fallen angles. Forced to partner together in a demon killing mission, Summer and Jimmy complete their bloody task and then fall into bed together. It wasn't exactly clear, but there may have been reincarnation or soul mate destiny between these two. That or memory loss. Again it wasn't clear enough for me which ended up leaving me more confused than entertained.
Cherry Kisses by Erica Hayes (Shadowfae Chronicles #4.5)
Set in the world of the Shadowfae Chronicles, Cherry Kisses follows a resourceful con artist on a job that literally forces her to take a trip to hell to steal an object from a demon. A much too handsome and definitely too honorable guy has his own reasons for helping her. I'm so glad this story was included as it gave me the opportunity to enjoy Hayes' writing without the darker, erotic tone of the full novels. There is a wonderful flavor to the writing that really brings the fae/vampire/demon infused world to life. One of my favorites in the anthology.
The Aracane Art of Misdirection by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville)
According to the author's website, this story is part of the Kitty Norville series, which I've read some of, but I didn't recognize the characters. It follows a blackjack dealer in Vegas who spots a cheating scam and leads her to magician Odysseus Grant. A little on the slow side compared to the other stories in this anthology, but it is an unusual tale.