Huntress Mass Market Paperback – Jun 30 2009
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From the Back Cover
It takes a real man to satisfy the powers and passions of the HUNTRESS
Supernatural bounty hunter Lilli Corbin made a pact with the Prince of Hell: She agreed to recover a book of prophecies. When she learns it could trigger the apocalypse, Lilli is forced to make the ultimate choice: save her soul, or the man she loves?
Marjorie M. Liu
"The Robber Bride"
Welcome to a post-apocalyptic world where women are fed on for their life forces. Now it's up to Maggie, one of the last female survivors, to hunt down and destroy an army of darkness…
"Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go"
Ava is a demon slayer who needs help from mage Jack Winter to reach the demon underworld―a place of dark seduction…and, maybe, one of no return.
London 1889. Jack the Ripper is killing off the city's vampire population, and now it's up to Cin Craven to hunt him down―and save the infected Michael, the love of her undead life.
About the Author
Christine Warren is the bestselling author of The Others series, including Wolf at the Door, Big Bad Wolf, Born to Be Wild, Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here, and Black Magic Woman. Born and raised in coastal New England, she now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. (She completely bypassed those states in the middle due to her phobia of being landlocked.) When not writing, she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.
Marjorie M. Liu resides in the Midwest. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Hunter Kiss series and the USA Today bestselling Dirk and Steele series.
Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the Nocturne City and Black London series, as well as several short stories. She lives in Olympia, Washington.
Jenna Maclaine has a degree history from North Georgia College & State University. The author of the Cin Craven series novels, she spends her time caring for the 90+ animals that share her family farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
Christine Warrens story "Devils Bargain", was my favourite one in this book. I could be enticed to read more of her work in the future.
Marjorie M Liu's story "The Robber Bride", was an interesting story; but I can't say that I googled her to find more.
Caitlin Kitterdge's story "Down in the Ground where the Dead men go" was my least favourite. I've never read any of her work before. The story itself was alright, but I found myself frequently annoyed with the way it seemed that her main characters accent seemed forced and fake to me.
Jenna Maclaine's story "Sin Slayer" is the whole reason why I purchased this anthology. I read a different Cin Craven story by Jenna in "Strange Brew", and it caught my interest. I chose to buy this anthology so I could read another Cin Craven short story - to see if I wanted to invest in the series. (Which, after reading this short story, I will!)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first story in this collection is The Devil's Bargain by Christine Warren. Lilli Corbin made a deal with a devil and all she has to do to finally fulfill the bargain is retrieve an old book. Too bad it's a book of prophecies that will bring about the Apocalypse. This story was just okay for me, and my least favorite. Didn't really warm up to either Lilli or Aaron, the current owner of the book. And while this book is classified as a romance, I thought the sex scene was a little unnecessary.
Next up is The Robber Bride by Marjorie M. Liu. Maggie runs a junkyard in a post-apocalyptic world, on the outskirts of a small settlement of other survivors. Maggie's world is turned upside down when a strange gang of bikers invade her town and make off with several of her neighbors. Concerned for an old friend when she sees one of the bikers with Trace's necklace, she sets off in pursuit. Think this was my second favorite story, as it had interesting characters with a good plot. Loved the twist towards the end, and think Maggie deserves to have a full length novel of her very own!
Third story is Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go by Caitlin Kittredge. This one features Jack Winter, the bad boy mage we all know and love. Jack is tricked into helping a sexy demon slayer seek revenge against a demon in the underworld. While I usually like Jack, I didn't really care for this story. Couldn't really get into it, and wasn't really invested in the outcome.
Last but not least is the final story, Sin Slayer by Jenna Maclaine. Think this one was my favorite and I'm looking forward to reading more by Jenna, as she's a new discovery for me. Cin Craven is a vampire witch and a member of The Righteous, a group of vampires who police the vampire world and answer to no one but the High King. Jack the Ripper has started targeting vampires, and it's up to Cin to stop him. And oh yeah, Jack just happens to be a demon who's possessed Cin's husband, Michael. This was a great story with all the action you could possibly want, plus well developed characters that left you wanting more! Very happy to discover that Cin has her own series, as I'm now a fan!
Gave this collection a 4 out of 5, as thought that two of the stories were really, really good, and the remaining two were okay. Definitely worth buying!
I must confess that I read Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go by Caitlin Kittredge first. We get to see Jack in all his glory before he meets Pete and goes down the dark road of addiction. Very unique story and I was riveted until the end.
Then I went back to the beginning and read Devil's Bargain by Christine Warren. I hadn't read Ms. Warren since she first broke into big time publishing. I enjoyed this story with its geeky hero Aaron Bullard and Lilith Corbin, the huntress. Lilith needs to retrieve a book that Aaron owns to return it to the devil Samael in order to end her bargain with said devil. But it turns out that it isn't just a book and Lilith isn't just a huntress.
The Robber Bride by Marjorie M. Liu was so good, words escape me. I would love LOVE love to see more of these characters. After a horrible virus wipes out a large portion of the population, people make do with what they have, what they can grow, and what they can trade or scavenge. Maggie is a fixer, collecting pieces of civilization that was and making it functional or using the pieces to make something new. One day a strange man on a motorcycle shows up and changes the course of Maggie's existence. In order to save a friend, Maggie sets out to find the man on the motorcycle and finds more that she bargained for.
Originally reviewed at Night Owl Romance
Christine Warren's "Devil's Bargain" was a good story, it was by no means the greatest story I have ever read, but I definitely enjoyed it. There was action, sex and magic - an excellent mix.
Marjorie M. Liu's "The Robber Bride" was my favorite story in the entire book! It's actually one of my favorite stories ever, but then I love post-apocalyptic worlds. Liu's writing was fantastic, you could picture everything she described in her unique tale. I loved it so much that the second I finished reading I rushed to see what else the author has written.
Caitlin Kittredge's "Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go" was so horrible I didn't even finish it. I love the occasional raunchy story, but this one was just so lame that it made me roll my eyes and skip to the next tale. It was like the trailer trash of the book, all the other stories shined, but not this one.
Jenna Maclaine's "Sin Slayer" was another good one. I loved her ass-kicking vampires. I loved how it was a woman that saves her true love, not the other way around.
Honestly, if it wasn't for Marjorie M. Liu's story this book would have got 3 stars instead, but she saved it. This was a good collection, but it wasn't an amazing 'read in one sitting' one.
The first novella in "Huntress" is 'Devil's Bargain' by Christine Warren and is an old-fashioned yarn that, except for the hot sex, could easily have appeared in the old pulp magazine "Unknown/Unknown Worlds" during the forties, which specialized, in such modern updates of classic fantasy themes. Here hottie supernatural retrieval artist Lillith "Lilli" Corbin is hired by the demon Samuel to retrieve a stolen book, and in doing so, she will complete her contract with him, something she desperately wants to do. Things are never as easy as they seem to be. As Lilli is searching Alistair Carruthers' house looking for Samuel's grimoire, she meets Alistair's nephew Aaron Bullard. Mistaking her for a burglar, which she is, they get into a tussle over the book, kick the stuffing out of each other with Aaron coming out on . . . ah . . . on top. It's only after they swap stories, amongst other things, do they realize that they have got a tiger by the tail, as Samuel wants the book for an apocalypse. You know, demons eating people, dogs living with cats, conservative talk show hosts saying nice things about Democrats, "Lost" will actually start making sense, and the world will end. So in between being distracted by each other's tight pants (yes really) they have to figure out how to complete Corbin's contract, keep the book out of Samuel's grasp, stop the apocalypse, and stay alive long enough to make like rabbits in heat. This is a good, light entertaining puzzle fantasy in which the two leads are BOTH intelligent, competent, and knowledgeable about their chosen specialties. The humor that infuses this story is evident from the snippy first sentence which I'm using for the title this review.
Marjorie M. Liu just seems to be getting better and better. Having created two major series, and having contributed to two others, Liu seems to wander merrily in and out of various genres determined to make her fans work hard to just keep up with her. 'The Robber Bride' stretches the boundaries of the romance-adventure genre by giving us a bleak, post-apocalypse world in which a bunch of mysterious bikers are raiding the few surviving settlements. Maggie is a young woman who is way more than what she thinks that she is, as she also has the ability to see flashes of the future. She also runs a junkyard and she helps a mysterious biker who takes her dignity and leaves her literally in the dust, while promising to come back for her. After this encounter, she acquires a crow as a familiar who seems to be bound and determined to help her. Then the bikers return, some village women are kidnapped, and her friend has disappeared, and in true Joseph Campbellian manner Maggie begins her journey to find who and what she really is. Liu's training as a lawyer does her well, as her story stays on track, with no wandering filler, and with prose that is concise and to the point, not given to being overly descriptive. Liu's story will give literary purists hives as she creatively mixes the science fiction, fantasy, romance, adventure, coming of age, and biker (!) genres into one great dark fantasy that others would have turned into a massive trilogy instead of a mere novella. `The Robber Bride' should reach a greater audience that it probably ever will.
If Liu's fantasy was dark, but with an underlying streak of hope, then Caitlin Kittredge's wonderfully titled 'Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go' is almost positively black. This is the story of struggling punk rocker, mage, and new series character Jack Winter, who is contracted by the Goth Ava who wants Jack to do a job for her. He doesn't want to, she insists, he still doesn't want to, she insists even more, yes THAT way, he agrees, against his better judgment and against his will, and so starts this gritty and bleak tale about a quest in the seamy, dark underside of Edinburgh. Yeah, really.
While Warren's story is amiable, light, and fun, Kittredge's story is dark and nasty, and told in a typically cynical, and nihilistically noirish way. Jack will find things that will strain his abilities to survive, to succeed, and he will find new allies, be betrayed, and Kittredge will truly stretch the definition of what a "romantic-adventure" is. I suspect that those that liked the comfortable feel of Warren's story may be disturbed, or offended by the continued proclivity of this anthology's to continue down the path into darker and bleaker themes and tones until we end up with Kittredge's story ending up having more horror than romance, with even the romance elements being dodgy at best. But, for those who are willing to open themselves to supernatural noir, then they may very well find this, like Liu's to be one of the year's best fantasies.
The last story is a story in Jenna Maclaine's Cin Craven. Having never read one of Maclaine's novels I don't know where this story fits into Craven's mythology, but I know that the story pretty much stands on it's own, at least when I read it, and I was able to enjoy it on it's own merit without having read any previous stories in this series.
'Sin Slayer' starts out with Cin Craven being interrupted at an opera and being informed that she is being summoned to London from Paris. The reason is that somebody is killing vampires and her expertise is needed. Like Warren's story, this is a light adventure involving a strong female character in an action driven story. This is a historical that involves long simmering hatred and vengeance, demons, and the supernatural. The love and dedication that exists between Cin and her husband is great, there is no quest between the two to prove their love, by the time that 'Sin Slayer' takes place that love is already a given. And in a reversal of the old pulp tradition, Maclaine has the woman end up saving the man. Maclaine also takes the time to have all of the supporting characters strut across the stage, gives us a suitably bad (Boo! Hiss!) villain, a nasty killer, a smart and dependable (Yay!) protagonist, and a hell of a slam-bang climax. Good stuff.
"Huntress" is a major anthology in that it is not a strictly "romantic" anthology involving the paranormal, as the definition of what romance is stretched to here almost the breaking point. The Kittredge and Liu stories really go far beyond the sex and supernatural clichés that seem to populate most of these anthologies. Both of these stories are more dark fantasy than paranormal romances and will have a wider appeal to more people than those that this anthology is marketed to. And each of the stories here has their own tones. Warren's is a traditional modern paranormal romance adventure, Liu's is a post-apocalypse quest story, Kittredge is the anthology's horror story, and Maclaine's story is a historical superhero story.
I can't really grade the stories in this anthology as I think all four stories deserve five stars, and all are good professional entertainments that will encourage me to read more of their works.
And one last thing. Aren't we all getting tired of these anthologies being anonymously edited? I for one would like to know the editor's name. Is the editor ashamed of their work here? C'mon, sign your work, give us a name, and let us know who you are.
Jenna Maclaine "Sin Slayer" Cin and the rest of the Righteous (the Righteous are fellow vampire friends of Cin who police the vampire society as a whole) hunt down Jack the Ripper. It seems Jack has grown tired of killing mere humans and has now taken up whipping vampires out of existence. While I've enjoyed Jenna's Cin Cravel series, I've also been on the fence about continuing to the read the series or not. Don't get the wrong, there is nothing wrong with the series but lately I've been feeling like there isn't an exciting pull to make me want to read the series either. This fantastic novella renewed my craving to read the next Cin Cravel novel, Bound by Sin. 5/5
Christine Warren "Devil's Bargain" Lilith, half demon/half devil bounty hunter accepts her last assignment from the devil, that when completed, will finally fulfill her bargain and debt to him. Only one obstacle, should she succeed, she just may start the apocalypse! She should have known the job sounded way too easy..... I've read a few novellas by Christine Warren and never really cared for them. However, this short story was excellent. It was mysterious, creative and dark. The predictability of this novella didn't make the story any less exciting. The story delivered a huge entertainment factor that was smoothly done. 5/5
Marjorie M. Liu "The Robber Bride" Marjorie has built a dark desolate world where most of humanity has been ravished and killed by a deadly pandemic. A gang of demons violently feed and pray off of what little humanity remains on earth. On the outskirts of a small town, Maggie Greene, thought she was just a junk yard owner and "fix-it girl" of her small town. But when women from her town go missing, Maggie goes on the hunt and awakens her own inner demon. This novella was different and interesting, however, had a few dry/boring parts. Nevertheless, the story did flow nicely and felt complete. 4/5
Caitlin Kittredge "Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go" This novella is set in Caitlin's Black London series world. Jack gets tricked into becoming a guide for Ava, a demon slayer, down into the City of Demons. This novella was dark and different. The story felt just a but choppy but was nonetheless interesting. 3.75/5
Overall, I thought this anthology was a success. My favorite novella turned out to be Jenna's Sin Slayer story, which surprised me because I actually got this anthology for Caitlin's story; which turned out to be my least favorite from this anthology. I really liked Lilith's character from Christine's novella. If Christine ever decided to turn Lilith's character into a full series, I would definitely read it.
I also recommend:
The Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss, Book 1)
Wages of Sin (A Cin Craven Novel)
Ravenous: The Dark Forgotten
Undead on Arrival (Crimson Moon, Book 3)