Unbound Mass Market Paperback – Aug 25 2009
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About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison was born and raised in the upper Midwest. Her bestselling Hollows novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; Black Magic Sanction; Pale Demon, A Perfect Blood, Ever After, and The Undead Pool, plus the short story collection Into the Woods, The Hollows Insider and graphic novels Blood Work and Blood Crime. She also writes the Madison Avery series for young adults.
Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online at www.melissa-marr.com.
Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series and the Night Huntress World novels. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to nineteen different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling—by car. Airplanes, children, and cookbooks frighten her.
Vicki Pettersson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sign of the Zodiac novels, a six-book urban fantasy series set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll always consider that glittering dust bowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think).
Jocelynn Drake is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Days series and lives in Florida. When not at her desk, she is most likely to be found playing video games, watching movies, or hanging with her family.
Top Customer Reviews
My favourite of the grouping was 'Ley Line Drifter' by Kim Harrison. It is set in Cincinnati at a time when the remaining human population lives in an uneasy peace with numerous 'other' beings. Jenks is a pixy who has the unusual job of a private investigator.
This was a take on pixy's that I had not experienced previously. in fact, I don't think I had even considered pixys as main characters before. I don't know why as this was a totally convincing portrayal. I loved this character and was sad when the story ended. I still want to read more of his exploits.
The creepiest story in the book is 'Reckoning' by Jeaniene Frost.
Bones is a vampire but also a bounty hunter and he is on the prowl for Delphine and Louis LaLauries who have been dismembering and eating people for two hundred in New Orleans. Bones is also a vampire with a conscience and great looks to boot. Yes, I definitely want more of him.
Dark Matters by Vicki Pettersson is the story of 2 superheros, one on the side of light and the other dark. They meet and the hormones fly. Good vs bad, love vs hate, with a illicit romance tangled within.
This story didn't really work for me, I never was much of a superhero fan.
The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten by Jocelynn Drake is the story of Mira, the Keeper of the Domain of Savannah. It's her job to police the behaviour of the 'nightwalkers' living in her territory. All hell erupts one night and Mira has to straighten it out before she is recalled to the 'Coven' to explain. That's one thing she definitely doesn't want to do.Read more ›
for urban fantasy readers, great stories, quick easy reads of a couple of the best series in the genre
However, I'd like to know more about what's inside. A Google search by ISBN and a search on Harper Collins' web site did not find this item.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Ley Line Drifter" by Kim Harrison - * * *
This is the story of Jenks the pixy and Bis the gargoyle attempting to solve a paranormal private investigation case. Jenks usually works with Rachel, but he is eager to help save another pixy's young children. I adore Jenks, always have and always will. Unfortunately a closer glimpse of Jenks and his family is the only thing recommending this story. The mystery of two statues inhabited by a demon and a nymph is too vaguely constructed to be compelling and the ending is far too abrupt. I get the feeling we will hear from these characters again in the future but in this story I didn't' find them too interesting. As a whole the story was unsatisfying Still the pages of family time visiting Jenks, his wife and their children was definitely enjoyable and worth reading.
"Reckoning" by Jeanene Frost * * * * *
This novella is about Bones, before he met Cat, and how he came to be hired in New Orleans to kill a pair of ghoul serial killers. In sixty pages, Frost manages to tell a complete and engaging paranormal tale. It beings with Bones getting a call to New Orleans and follows him as he hunts and finds the killers. There are several other characters who appear through the tale whom we have never read about in Frost's series. Still Frost makes us feel like we know these fleshed out characters. This story isn't going to change how you read the "Night Huntress" series and you won't miss anything vital if you don't read this novella. Still every page is entertainment in its purest form. Unlike Harrison's tale before it, "Reckoning" has a complete ending which I was completely happy with.
"Dark Matter" by Vicki Petterson * * * *
This is a short story set in the same superhero world as Joanna Archer's, where Light agents battle Shadow agents in a war of good versus evil. Joanna, the main character from the Signs of the Zodiac series, is missing here (mostly) as the story takes place before Joanna learns that she is to be the Kairos, a powerful woman made up on fboth light and dark who would tip the scales in favor of which ever side she chose to fight with. Instead this is a story about another Light agent J.J.. JJ falls in love with a shadow agent, and must deal with the fallout from that. This story is gripping and easy to read. My complaint with the Zodiac series is that it is bogged down and events unfold so quickly that it is hard to keep track of everything. Not the case here. Dark Matter is a powerful story that should be a must read for follower's of Petterson's series. It was sad and somewhat shocking at the end, but that only made me want to rush to read the newest book, "City of Souls". Maybe if I had already read that fourth installment, I wouldn't have been as shocked by the ending. Still this story was gem.
"The Dead, the Damned and the Forgotten" by Jocelyn Drake * * * * *
I have the first two books by Jocelyn Drake but I haven't read them yet. The good news is that the story makes me want to hurry up and get to them! Mira, a vampire, runs a domain of the undead in Savannah. She is called to the morgue to find a dead vampire. As she and her assistant Knox race to find the killer it becomes quickly apparent they are in deeper than they bargained for. An ancient vampire shows up from the head Coven in Venus and threatens to send Mira back to live under their rule if she can't get ahold on her own territory. The stakes are raised as they learn werewolves, hit men, and humans are all involved. Drake writes an intriguing story here. The world really appealed to me but I can tell there is probably more blood and violence than in most of the other urban fantasy stories. These people don't mess around! Although the story has to do with an existing world and some established characters I never felt lost. There was nothing about the story I didn't like. Easily a five star story.
"Two Lines" by Melissa Marr * * *
I have never read Melissa Marr before, and I liked her writing. This story was good but not great. It's the story of a girl named Eavan "Eve", who belongs to a family of glaistigs. Glaistigs are woman with goat bodies on their lower halves but are beautiful and human on the top half. They occasionally have to kill to live eternally. In order for Eve to be a real glaistig and leave her humanity behind, she must kill and have sex. Scared of changing over, she avoids both like the plague. This story has her fighting the urges to change, and stalking a human killer as he gives woman a zombie potion and then mutilates them. Enter Cillian, a paranormal police officer and you have her love interest.
The story wasn't bad, and I had no trouble reading through it. If this became a series, I would give it a chance. This was still overall my least favorite of the five stories.
Overall this was a rocking anthology. I usually have a couple stories I really can't get into, but this was a treat. I recommend this one to all the urban fantasy lover's out there who don't mind a good anthology.
Five very unusual stories about paranormal characters, some of which were new types for me. All of the stories were exceptionally well written. This anthology can be an opportunity to sample works by authors you have wondered about but never tried.
"Ley Line Drifter", Kim Harrison, pixy
Jenks really wants to help Vincet protect his family from whatever force is taking over the body of his daughter each night. Jenks discovers that a dryad is trapped inside a stone statue in the park where Vincet has made his home. With the help of his son Jumoke, his gargoyle friend Bis and Ivy, a vampire, they all take on the job of freeing the dryad. But is that really the best solution for this problem?
***I think the writing of this story was top notch but this author certainly didn't do me any favors in filling in the blanks concerning the pixy world. I don't know if this is a part of a series she has done and these are continuing characters but I felt like I had been thrown in at the deep end of the pool. I don't know about pixies, I don't know about the pixy world, I don't know about their relationships with humans. Even though I enjoyed this story I always felt that there was a much larger picture I didn't see. A little basic pixy information would have been nice.
"Reckoning", Jeaniene Frost, vampire and ghouls
Bones has been summoned by Marie Laveau, the Queen of New Orleans, to take on a job. When he arrives he finds that the Queen is not in town and he will be working with an associate of hers. The job is to track down two ghouls who are kidnapping and murdering ordinary humans in town to enjoy the Mardi Gras celebrations. Bones finds a human woman who saw one of the ghouls and thralls her into helping him search the city for the pair. As if that wasn't enough, it seems that a bounty has been put on his life and someone is determined to collect the money.
***I had a bit of a shock when I began reading this story because I've only met Bones before in the Night Huntress series where he is very definitely associated with Cat. Cat never is mentioned at all in this story so I was a tiny bit off balance all the time wondering when she would appear. She never does so don't look for her. In fact, there is no mention of her at all. I can only suppose this story was written before the Night Huntress series. A really well written story and Bones just has to be my favorite vampire hero in print.
"Dark Matters", Vicki Pettersson, superheroes and Shadows
JJ was only five years old when his superhero parents were killed by Shadows. Now he has been a fully trained superhero for a long time and he is starting to wonder if it is really worth protecting humans from tragedy and disasters. They don't even realize they are being saved so what is the point. Then JJ meets Solange and he falls in love, a forbidden love because Solange is a Shadow and his kinds worst enemy.
***This was more of a love story for me. The paranormal almost seemed to take a backseat. Well, as much as you can have a story fade into the background when your main male character is a superhero. The age old situation of two groups fighting against each other but two young people from different sides still managing to fall in love. Or did they? I thought this was well written but not quite as interesting as the other stories in the collection.
"The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten", Jocelyn Drake, vampire specializing in additional powers
Mira and her new assistant Knox must discover who has come into her territory and killed a vampire, leaving the body so that it will have to be discovered. So far the vampires have managed to live among the human population of Savannah undetected and The Coven expects it to remain that way. Mira is the Fire starter, the Keeper of her Domain. If she doesn't control her territory, there are others who are more than willing to step in and take over.
***Once again, this story left me feeling that I had stepped into the middle of a series. It was extremely well written and I enjoyed it thoroughly but I always felt that I was one step behind. Don't know if this author has this character in a series, but I will be checking that out. This one begins and ends abruptly.
"Two Lines", Melissa Marr, glastig
Eavan wants to remain human. She has made that choice and will do everything in her power to keep from crossing the line which moves her from mostly human to fully glastig. With a fully human father and a glastig mother she is trying to make her own choice of which world she lives in. Unfortunately she has decided to try to stop Daniel Brennan from drugging young women with a compound which turns them into zombies. He then sells them as sex slaves. Eve feels her hatred for what Daniel is doing pushing her closer to killing him, one step closer to leaving her humanity behind. The deadly combination of sex and murder, happening at the same time, will make her fully glastig and satisfy her grandmother's wishes.
***Wow! This was a story with a paranormal world I've never visited. All of the ingredients were so different that it was quite exciting and interesting. This author has created a type of entity that can really make a reader stop and think. There is a romantic interest, sort of. I couldn't decide whether or not it ever came about. This story, as have several others in this book, ended with no complete resolution for the characters. The immediate situation was taken care of but I expected a notice telling me to "tune in next week for the next thrilling adventure".
RECOMMENDATION: I'm definitely going looking for more adventures with these authors. Considering the five authors represented in this anthology I have only read books written by Jeaniene Frost so now I have four others to explore. Really quite a good anthology and with a variety of paranormal ideas that should keep most urban fantasy/fantasy fans entertained. I certainly know that I was.
I bought this anthology specifically for this story because I'm a huge fan of Harrison's Hollows series. In this novella Rachel is away and Jenks takes center stage. It was really interesting to not have Rachel around at all, and yet see how much influence she's had on Jenks with their association.
I felt like the story was not the main thing here, and that it was instead just the framework used to let us get a more detailed look at the social customs and life cycle of pixies. Jenks is hired by another pixie who's family and home is being threatened by a mysterious statue. It falls to Jenks to put together a team and run the investigation, a role he hasn't taken on before. Bis, the resident teenage gargoyle, is tapped to be his backup and Jenks also decides to start training one of his sons to follow in his footsteps.
The issue with the statue, while central to the mystery Jenks is trying to solve, takes back seat in the story to following along with Jenks as he figures out how he should proceed and the plans he makes. Ivy fans also get an interesting peek at her near the end, seeing what she's like when Rachel isn't around.
The immediate threat is resolved in the story, but it's also left very open ended because Jenks made a big mistake. One that I wanted to bop him over the head for repeatedly during the story because he never asked the all important question, Why. I guess he needed to learn that lesson the hard way.
Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost
I haven't read anything by Frost before so I'm not familiar with her characters or world. The story was written in a way that this didn't create a barrier to enjoying the story or understanding what was going on or who was who. Even her unique distinction of ghouls and vampires was easily picked up without needing any extensive exposition.
This story is basically a hunt, with the vampire Bones after two evil ghouls, and it turns out someone is also after Bones, just to keep things interesting and moving along at a nice fast pace. It's a pretty straight forward story with a couple minor twists, but no real complexity or serious surprises. The ending was bittersweet and also provides us with a scene with a fascinating female vampire of incredible power. Something I consider a big plus to any story.
The story is self-contained with no loose ends left dangling. Though it does leave some possibilities to be carried over in the way of a couple debts owed. Not having read the series itself I don't know if they've ever actually come into play.
Dark Matters by Vicki Pettersson
I have read the first two books in Pettersson's Zodiac series, but it was when they were first published, so it's been a while and details of events are pretty hazy by this point and I don't know anything about what's happened in the more recent books. But that wasn't a problem since this story is a prequel about how the Kairos came to be conceived.
One thing that had frustrated me with the series, and it's possible this has been addressed or dealt with in more recent books, is the seemingly senselessness of the never ending battle between Light and Dark, with neither side getting the upper hand for long. It's just an endless cycle of fighting, killing, and replacing those who are killed. Making me wonder if there is any real point to it and if humanity is in actuality served by it in any way.
This story is about two characters, one of the Light and one of the Dark, who also seem disenchanted to at least some degree with how things work and their places in the process. Especially JJ who has done everything required of him but suffers from not being able to have anything special just for himself. And while Solange doesn't exactly come up smelling like roses, being one of the Shadows, she has allowed JJ to escape unharmed on more than one occasion.
The two of them are drawn together in an illicit affair, ala Romeo and Juliet, where they are able to share parts of themselves with each other they haven't been able to share with others. But nothing is ever as it seems and while their fate isn't the same as Shakespeare's couple it's still a suitably tragic ending.
The Dead, The Damned, And The Forgotten by Jocelyn Drake
I was really looking forward to reading this one because even though I haven't read any of her books yet I had been planning to. But I thought this story was the weakest of the bunch as far as the writing goes. Drake has an annoying tendency, at least in this story, to over explain everything, totally disregarding the rule of "show, don't tell". This came across to me as if she doesn't trust the reader to be able to pick things up on their own.
The story itself was interesting, sort of a whodunit. Three murders take place, starting with a vampire being killed. Even though I was not familiar with the characters or Drake's world I had no problem getting into the story and understanding the setting and who the various players were. The entire story takes place over just one night so is fast-paced. I was impressed with how many characters and factions Drake was able to cram into a novella without any confusion being created.
Two Lines by Melissa Marr
I hadn't read anything by Marr before either. This story was the most intriguing to me in the anthology, primarily because a new (to me) creature is used for the main character. Eavan is a glaistig. Marr used a Celtic mythological creature (yeah I went and looked it up after reading the story), and then put her own twist on what they are like.
In addition to having a very different type of creature for the protagonist, the story was also different than the others because it was more about Eavan fighting against herself, rather than outside forces. She has been fighting between her instincts (and family) and her right to make her own choices. Events in the story force this internal battle to come to a head and force Eavan to make irrevocable decisions. This story, like the Harrison story, was more open-ended. There was resolution to the immediate issue, but left me wanting to know what happens next.
All five of the stories in this collection are very good. I liked some better than others, but there aren't any that I felt were a waste of my time. So I'll give a big thumbs up to this one as being yet another very solid urban fantasy anthology.
Kindle note: The biggest formatting problem is that drop caps were used at the start of each chapter, so there's a bad line break. There were a few dropped words and typos throughout. But mostly the errors were fairly minimal and not detrimental to reading.
The overall ebook design was excellent with a linked Table of Contents and each story is marked with a dot on the progress bar at the bottom of the screen. This lets you see how much farther you have to go in the story you're reading and also allows you to skip back and forth between stories using the 5-way.
First I want to state that although this book is a prequel to Bones meeting Cat I would still recommend that you read the Night Huntress series FIRST before you read this one. The main reason is many readers fall in love with Bones in the Night Huntress series because of his passion for Cat but in the prequel we learn of Bones' POV on how he views his life which makes you understand why he behaves the way he does at times in the series.
We get to see a side of him that we really don't in the Night Huntress series and that is his profound loneliness prior to meeting Cat. We find him looking a little bit closer at his life and how others may see it as exciting, it is missing something or someone. I got the impression in this story that he lived his life without a significant someone not only because he was a player, but more due to the fact that he lived a dangerous life and anyone close to him would be at risk. It is at this point that we see the tender side of Bones. A Bones who is not only a ruthless vampire bounty hunter, but a vampire who feels compassion and tender emotions for those who are unable to protect themselves (there is a very graphic scene in the story that although heartbreaking demonstrates his tender side).
As a reader I fully understand why at this point in his existence the reason why Cat affected him so deeply and how he fell so deeply, and passionately in love with her.
He always had that side within him, but it took Cat to bring it up to the surface and to allow him to experience it, share it and live it, with her.
Ah Bones you somehow made it possible to love you even more. :)
In general the stories in this book tend more towards action/urban fantasy than romance. I personally enjoyed that. All in all a great collection of stories. See below for more detail on each story in this anthology.
"Ley Line Drifter" by Kim Harrison (5/5 stars)
An excellent story set in Harrison's Hollows world, it's about Jenks helping a fellow pixie. You learn more about pixie culture and there is a ton of action. Given the ending I am wondering if what Jenks and Ivy unleashed will come back to haunt them in the next Hollows book.
"Reckoning" by Jeaniene Frost (5/5 stars)
A prequel to the Night Huntress series by Frost. This story tells about a vampire named Bones who is hired by the New Orleans Queen vampire to take out some serial killer Ghouls. On top of this hunt for the killers, someone is trying to kill Bones. I have never read any of Frost's Night Huntress books but based on this story I will have to check them out. I like her writing style; no-nonsense and lots of action. Bones was an intriguing character and Frost creates an interesting variation on paranormal alternate worlds.
"Dark Matters" by Vicki Pettersson (3/5 stars)
This is a prequel to her "Signs of the Zodiac series". It tells the background/history of JJ/Hunter. It was good to read a story that made the events in the "City of Souls" (book 4) make more sense. I still don't understand why "City of Souls" couldn't have explained what this story did. If you are reading the "Signs of the Zodiac" series then reading this story is a must. As for the story itself I didn't like it all that much (aside from the info it gives). The story is more a romance than anything and much of the action is pushed aside for numerous sex scenes. It was okay, but nothing to write home about.
"The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten" by Jocelynn Drake (4/5 stars)
Prequel to the Dark Days series by Jocelynn Drake; I have not read any books in this series. This story follows Mira as she tries to track down a nightwalker killer and avoid assassination herself. Both Mira and Knox are intriguing characters. The story was action packed and hints at an interesting world. An enjoyable read. I will have to check out the Dark Days series eventually to see how I like the full novels.
"Two Lines" by Melissa Marr (4/5 stars)
This story tells about Eaven, she is a human that will become a glasitig is she ever does two things: kill and have sex. She is hell bent on staying human. Things get out of control when she starts hunting a drug lord. When her grandmother provides a sexy bodyguard for her Eaven begins to wonder if her desire to stay human is worth the sacrifice. Not as much action as the other stories, this story presented a very unique world with supernatural creatures different than I was used to seeing. I actually like Marr's writing style in this story quite a bit more than her writing style in her "Wicked Lovely" series.