Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Unbound" by Kim Harrison, Jeaniene Frost, Vicki Pettersson, Jocelynn Drake and Melissa Marr

Short story time! And this one wasn't bad as short story collections go; I've read three of the five authors before, and indeed, follow their series. The tag line on the back of the book says "Not all hunters are bound by human laws...", so you have an idea what each story will be about. And it's always nice to have some light reading that doesn't involve romance!

"Ley Line Drifter" by Kim Harrison was quite the treat. No sign of Rachel, our favorite witch/demon here, only her pixie partner, Jenks. He's been contacted by another pixie to investigate what's killing his children. If you know anything about pixies, you know this is extremely rare, one asking for help from a member of his own species. It's a good little mystery, and Bis, the young gargoyle, gets enlisted to be Jenks' sidekick. Definitely worth picking up.

In "Reckoning" by Jeaniene Frost, immortal hitman Bones must solve a mystery involving a very infamous pair of serial killers. The story is set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, a perfect time for any serial killer to hit town. I've never read Frost before, but I'm much more inclined to pick up her Night Huntress series after reading this story. She has good character development, nice touches of humor, and a darn good little mystery.

"Dark Matters" was very enlightening, if not one of my favorites here. Pettersson writes the Sign of the Zodiac series, which I've been following, although it requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. I like the characters and the action enough to mostly ignore how darn impossible a lot of sounds. Anyway, this piece delves into the background and history of one of the key players in that series. No, I won't tell you who - because it truly came as a surprise to me when I realized the twist. Definitely good for filling in that back story. Not great, however, as a short story overall.

The fourth entry was the one I read last, due to how much I love the author's work. Like saving something for dessert! "The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten" shows us our favorite fire-starting vampire Mira before she meets Danaus, the vampire hunter. A nightwalker has been killed in Mira's domain of Savannah and she's got to investigate and bring the killer to justice. Her right-hand man, Knox, is on the page quite a bit, and that was great; you don't get much info on him in her Dark Days series, and I like Knox. The Council plays a role here, too, in the form of Bishop, a vamp from Mira's past. If she can't control her city, the Council will demand her return to Europe, something she does not want. I'm so glad I saved this story for last because it was fantastic! I just can't say enough good things about Drake - you really, really need to check her out!

Finally we have the first adult offering from Melissa Marr, who's famous for her Wicked Lovely young adult series. "Two Lines" is about Eavan, a glaistig (which read very much like a succubus, but I'm still not clear on that). She's still human at this point but will become a full-blooded glaistig if she hunts and kills a human, and has sex, not necessarily at the same time (but they usually do). The glaistigs normally all live together (hmmm.... sounding like the Valkyries from Kressley Cole's Immortals After Dark series); Eavan has been "allowed" to live away from her kin for now. It's sort of confusing and I wasn't very impressed by the characters. I don't know if that's because Marr usually writes for teens, or if I just didn't like the story.

Overall, a good collection to pick up, with some great stories from some great authors.

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