Friday, February 15, 2008

"Holidays Are Hell" by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, and Vicki Pettersson

Unlike most of the people on Amazon, I picked this up because of the Liu entry; hopefully, if you've been keeping up, you know how much I like her writing. I've read the other authors (albeit not much of Sands work), so it wasn't like I was going to just read the one story. Overall, not bad, but as with a lot of these collected works, not fabulous, either. Turns out this is a sequel to "Dates From Hell", which I probably will not seek out.

Harrison's story "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" is a look at our heroine Rachel Morgan before she was a heroine. She hasn't been out of the hospital too terribly long and she really, really wants to work for Inderland Security, something her father did. However, like most teens with dreams, she's got a lot to prove and a mother to get past. It was an interesting look at a now hard-as-nails character, and it does give some insight into why certain things have been happening in the series.

"Run, Run Rudolph" by Sands is a cute look at shape-shifting and even includes a mad scientist! I've read only one of her books; her work is just a little too light and fluffy for me, this story included. Truthfully, it seemed very out of place in this quartet.

I'm going to skip ahead to Pettersson's "The Harvest" and save my gal for last. This is actually a prequel of sorts to her novels about the Light and Shadows; it tells a story involving Zoe Archer, mother of Joanna Archer, the main character in those books. I put off reading it for a while because I haven't actually finished the 2nd book in that series yet, then realized that I wouldn't be spoiling anything for myself. Zoe was once an agent of Light, going so far as to infiltrate the Shadow agents organization and become the girlfriend of their leader. Having given everything up for the sake of her daughters, Zoe is now human and trying to protect her granddaughter, who has been kidnapped by the Tulpa. The story isn't too bad; what I really liked was the idea of how powerful the human imagination is. You go, Zoe!

Now for "Six" by Liu. Six is a government agent and gets involved in vampire politics. Doesn't sound like much, but it's a great story. As one reviewer on Amazon pointed out, Liu tries very hard to make sure that her people, heroines especially, don't suffer from the "Mary Sue" syndrome - you know, where they can do no wrong, can overcome any obstacle, are basically perfect and pretty. In Six's case, she truly is a work of the state; she has no real memory of her childhood and is almost the perfect killing machine. Enter one fairly handsome necromancer, the aforementioned soul-stealing vampires, and you have a pretty awesome story. However, it's not entirely up to the Dirk & Steele standards. Luckily, she's got a new book out now and it's in my bag waiting to be read!

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