on October 22, 2001
This book of romance tales loosely categorized as "spellbinding" is an interesting introduction to some interesting authors. I don't read much straight romance, preferring it mixed with sf, fantasy or history. As a Laurell Hamilton fan from the beginning, there was no doubt I'd have to get this book. And I was pleased to be introduced to two new authors I'll have to check out.
"Interlude in Death," J.D. Robb's tale featuring her futuristic cop Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke (of the apparently-shady past) is the strongest of the lot. It has a complete story, starting with murder at the Martian resort where the cops are gathering for a conference. And while they're busy solving the murders, we get a nice taste of their relationship and their chemistry. No supernatural elements, but decent sf. Good enough that I'll want to go back to the beginning and read them. I wanted to know more about the characters, which is pretty much the best you can get from a sort story.
In "Kinsman," Sue Krinard apparently took a departure from her more supernatural world of werewolves, and shared what might be the beginning of an sf romance series. The sf situation (featuring telepaths as liaisons to the aliens) is well set up, and intriguing; the relationship of the two characters predictable but adequately written. I remember Krinard's name from Star Wars and Mad Max fanzines 25 years ago, and was sufficiently intrigued to plan on looking for her current set of books. Not as strong as the Robb, but worth reading.
Maggie Shayne's "Immortality" was the weakest of the four tales. Although complete unto itself, I assume that it is set in a world where other such Witches exist. This is a tale of redemption for a bitter, Black Witch, who finds love along the way. The interaction between the characters was predictable, and without chemistry. The background didn't interest me, and the style of writing, where we were told how people felt, was obtrusive. This is a pass from me, not a world I'll look to revisit.
Laurell Hamilton fans will love and curse the last tale. It's obviously an excerpt from her next Anita Blake novel, Narcissus in Chains, and is not complete. The excerpt does have a start and end, but there's obviously a lot more that's going to happen that night to our daring characters (a master vampire, an alpha werewolf, and the necromancer who holds them and their magic together). It is, however, a good representation of the kind of story Hamilton tells: fast-paced, tense, deadly, sexy. This is some of the best cotton-candy around: a fast read, leaving you both satisfied and wanting more; I reread them often just for the fun of it. The world of legalized monsters -- from vampires to lamias -- is fascinating and fun. I ripped through this story and then cursed it, because I'll have to wait until early November to get the rest!
If you're looking for a little romance in a different place, this is one to check out.
on September 14, 2001
This book was a collection of four completely unrelated stories. The book came from four authors of three differnt genera, two romance authors, one mystery, and one science fiction. The four stories take place in completely different universes. I read this book because I have read all of Laurell K. Hamilton's books and liked them, however the novella in this book by her is nothing of the sort, it is simply the begining of her soon to be published book Narcisis in Chains. It has no conclusion whatsoever and in my opinion publishing portions of a book piecemeal lowers the value of the total book.
on September 8, 2001
J.D. Robb, Laurell Hamilton and Maggie Shayne wrote wonderful stories featuring worlds they had previously established. They were a delight and a joy to read. All three of these stories were up to their usual standards. Susan Krinard's fantastic world was quite a treat. With such a short number of pages available, she did a beautiful job of creating a whole new world. The story was fun to read and left you hoping that a book in the future would feature this wonderful new world. What a great book!
on September 3, 2001
to pay for the first 6 chapters of "Narcissus in Chains" by L. Hamilton.....not that I'm not going to buy it when it does come out, but the teaser for the book inferred that it was a new story, and NOT just the opening for a new book, which is why I wanted it, only to find out otherwise. The other storys were ok, having not read any of the authors before, and I might pick up another J.D. Robb story, but later....not immediately.
on August 31, 2001
"Out of This World" is a series of four vignettes whose only connection is that they each have a futuristic theme. The four are very cleverly packaged by the publisher: J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) guarantees instant sales, as Eve and Roarke fanatics like me are severely addicted and cannot pass up ANY new book that offers more of these characters. Therefore, hers is the first story in the book.
"Interlude in Death" is a quick hit of Robb's futuristic world of murder, mystery, on-the-edge business dealings, and the always intriguing, always sensual marriage of hardboiled cop Eve Dallas and equally hardboiled (and gorgeous) billionaire businessman Roarke. There is method to the publisher's madness, and Robb's as well. For hard-core fans, Robb offers an intriguing, heretofore unmentioned secret from Roarke's past. For Eve-and-Roarke newbies, there is enough standard fare to lead them straight to Robb's "In-Death" series.
"Kinsman," by Susan Krinard, is an equally brief but interesting tale about telepaths in a very structured futuristic society. Because I do not read many novels in this genre, I was amazed by the attention to detail, and the author's ability to bring the reader easily and deeply into the world of Kinsmen, shaauri, and humans. The story itself, which involves a deception that threatens the entire society, was a bit slow, but the glimpse into the author's imagination was fascinating. "Kinsman" did not hook me into reading more Krinard, because the slowness of her style would not suit this impatient reader. Nevertheless, it was fun to sample her work.
"Immortality," by Maggie Shayne, is a quick read with a pat and improbable ending, again, entertaining but not a grabber. It's the story of an ancient witch whose human form is that of a beautiful and sexy young woman. The story features a fire, a drowning, a hurricane and more--all in this brief novelette. One can hardly, therefore, call the story slow or boring, but--I didn't like the witch. When Nora Roberts writes about witches, I am completely absorbed into their worlds. I believe every word, every spell, every bit of magic. With Shayne, I was well aware that I was reading a creative piece of fluff. I was never engaged.
That's OK, however, because OH MY the Laurell K. Hamilton vignette was worth the price of the book and then some. I had never heard of Ms. Hamilton before a few weeks ago. Now I am a fanatic. She drew me effortlessly into the world of vampire hunter Anita Blake. "Magic Like Heat Across My Skin" is a dark, dangerous, deeply erotic tale of vampires, werewolves, wereLEOPARDS (an idea of which I heartily approve)--and in this story, a werehyena or two. Reading this small Hamilton offering is like dressing in black velvet and drinking a smoky dark wine. It feels dangerous. It definitely stirs one's senses. And...it does exactly what it is supposed to do, it makes one want more.
I gave "Out of This World" 3 stars because of the two middle stories; otherwise, I would have given Robb a 4 and Hamilton a 20! What? Only 5 starts maximum? That positively ruptures my aura, as Blake says.
on August 28, 2001
Unless you are dying to read a JD Robb short story, don't buy this book. It is a hodge podge of non related advertisements for these authors. Two stories are exerpts from upcoming books. I found this very frustrating and unsatisfying. Skip it.
on August 26, 2001
Out of This World is the anthology that all fans of futuristic and fantasy romance have been waiting for! For everyone moaning about the lack of futuristics available there is not one, but two fantastic stories in this anthology. J.D. Robb gives us an excellent addition to her In Death series with a story that finds Eve Dallas attending (very reluctantly) an off world police conference with Roarke in tow. When a crooked cop attempts to bring Roarke down, Eve finds herself fighting one of her own. J.D. Robb is consistently good -- and this story is no exception. Susan Krinard contributes a great futuristic of her own with "Kinsman" a sci-fi adventure telling the story of an empathic/psychic who must join forces with a not-so-truthful woman in order to save both of thier species' from destruction. "Kinsman" is an excellent story combining what I love best: Science-fiction, psychic phenomena, and a HOT love story! Maggie Shayne contributes a short story that is connected to her witch series of books. The tale of an immortal dark witch who lives to regret her actions, and the mortal man who fishes her out of the ocean, this story was very enjoyable, but in my opinion it did not stand alone. I hadn't read the most recent novel in the which series, and found myself lost a few times while reading the story. Laurell K. Hamilton contributed an excerpt from her novel Narcissus in Chains due out in October. It was a wonderful excerpt despite its teaser ending, picking up right where the book Obsidian Butterfly left off. But again, in my opinion the story didn't stand alone -- anyone not familiar with Anita Blake would have been lost. I also felt the publisher had an obligation to state on the cover of the book that her contribution was an excerpt. But as you can see from my rating, the quality of these stories especially Robb's and Krinard's were such that I still highly reccomend this read. Buy it, Read it, Love it!!
on August 20, 2001
I purchased this book because i knew it contained an excerpt from narcissus in Chains, Laurell Hamilton's next novel. This particular excerpt was as good as I as expecting, and, of course, just made me want the actual novel to come out even sooner. That said, I did enjoy the other 3 short stories. JD Robb made a respectable showing, as did susan Krinard. I did expect more out of Maggie Shayne, but this story is not bad, just not up to the showing of the other three. In all, a pretty good anthology.
on August 17, 2001
Usually anthologies have one or two great, or even good stories, and the rest are just passable but "Out of This World" breaks free from the mold of good/mediocre. All of the stories are interesting and well written. Part of what makes this anthology so good I think is that each of the authors gets the pacing right for the story. So often the pacing is off and the story suffers for it, but not here!
JD Robb (Nora Roberts) in, 'Interlude to Death', has Eve Dallas at an off world police convention in a fabulous hotel owned by the yummy Roark where of course murder and mayhem and murder occur. Short though the story is we learn an interesting fact about a possible, earlier - dark connection between, Roark and Eve's fathers'. While not Robbs best work to date it is still a welcome installment in to the IN DEATH series.
Susan Krinard is the only author in this collection who doesn't write a new chapter for an existing series, but creates an entirely new world. Because it is new however there more space given to explanation rather than story telling which somewhat weakens the story. In, 'Kinsman', a damaged telepath and a princess in disguise band together to halt a conspiracy that has universe wide implications that could create war. In the end it is literally their love that saves the day. I hope that this was just an introduction to a new world and that she writes a full book for it, perhaps for the missing - and found Prince.
Maggie Shayne's 'Immortality' gives us a more sympathetic view of Puabi, the Immortal High Dark Witch who spent centuries taking the hearts of good witches and torturing her husband for loving another woman. She is found barely alive in the ocean after her final confrontation with her husband and his lover and she at last finds the missing piece of her soul romantically and literally.
'Magic Like Heat Across my Skin' by Laurell K. Hamilton was awesome! Anita Blake finally stops fighting against the marks that bind her to Jean-Claude and Richard and embraces them in one of the steamiest public almost sex scenes that I have ever read. This was truly the best story out of the anthology because it had real character progression and looks to be a great lead in for the next installment, "Narcissus in Chains".
I highly recommend this book for long time fans and for new readers who like don't have the time to invest in getting to know a new author that they may not like after all.
on August 15, 2001
This anthology of four paranormal romance stories totally rocked! Laurell K. Hamilton and J.D. Robb are my two favorite authors, but I've never read books by Krinard or Shayne before.
J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, contributed 'Interlude in Death.' This mystery/romance story follows her bestselling In Death series, as NYPD Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband, Roarke, chase an esteemed *rogue ex-cop* at an intergalatic conference. The cop harbors a personal vendetta against Roarke because of his mysterious past. All in all, the story stands well alone, and will prove satisfying whether you're a long-time Robb fan or a new reader to the series.
Susan Krinard's story 'Kinsman' is a futuristic/romantic thriller. When her brother's ship disappears during a secret space mission, a young princess of a small planet asks a 'Kinsman,' (a member of a special human *race* that possess certain telepathic powers) for aid. Along their journey to find the missing prince and his crew, the two discover a conspiracy brewing among the Kinsman's own people. They also discover that they're falling in love. I find this the weakest of the four stories, mostly because there were a lot of names and species that I didn't understand.
Maggie Shayne's 'Immortality' continues her Witch series. Puabi is an Immortal High Dark Witch who finds, after 4,000 years of existence, that she doesn't want to continue her old, evil ways. After being rescued by an unsuspecting human man and getting stranded on his island, Puabi rediscovers the zest to her life, as she and Matthew grow ever closer. However, Puabi's powers are slowly but surely diminishing. And there is unknown danger on the island. Tied into all this is the memory of Gabriella, Matthew's dead wife, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Puabi, although the two women are polar opposites. The ending is very poignant, with a wonderful plot twist. I really loved this story, and I'll definitely pick up her other books now!
'Magic Like Heat Across My Skin' is a sizzling, six-chapter preview of Laurell K. Hamilton's long-awaited NARCISSUS IN CHAINS, the 10th book in her bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. After six months of celibacy, our heroine comes back to St. Louis and finds out that her wereleopards have been kidnapped by a rival group of shapeshifters. To get them back, she seeks her old lover, the sexy vampire Jean-Claude, for help. Jean-Claude agrees, but only if Anita will *marry the marks* so that she has a chance to fight and live. At the S&M club Narcissus in Chains, Anita, Jean-Claude, and Richard (Anita's werewolf lover) merge their energies, completing their triumvirate of power. Anita may be an animator, vampire hunter, necromancer, lupa of Richard's pack, and Nimir-Ra of the wereleopards, but she is human nevertheless. The line between humans and monsters is all-too-thin sometimes, and by consumating the marks, Anita may have become irrevocably changed now. Also, the story tends to lean toward the romance side, which will no doubt create mixed feelings among Hamilton's loyal fans. New readers will most likely find this story difficult to follow, but very, very sensual. I found Laurell's writing style a bit 'off,' but I still can't wait for NARCISSUS IN CHAINS in October!