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Strange Candy Hardcover – October 3, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans will best appreciate the 14 often darkly humorous fictions in bestseller Hamilton's first story collection, which includes several unpublished tales. Stories like "Selling Houses," in which a determined real estate agent faces up to the difficulties of selling a house where a gruesome mass murder has taken place, and "Here Be Dragons," a horrific account of a psychic child whose dreams can kill, show talent but need polish. Anita Blake aficionados, though, will relish the opener, "Those Who Seek Forgiveness," with its early version of a somewhat naïve vampire hunter. Stories set in the sword-and-sorcery world of Hamilton's first novel, Nightseer—"A Token for Celandine," "Winterkill," "The Curse-maker" and "Stealing Souls"—reveal that she has always had a talent for portraying strong female characters. Brief author introductions to each selection provide context. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton is a full-time writer who lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her family.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; First Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425212017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425212011
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,322,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on October 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have given up on the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels and am hanging on a very thin thread with the Merry Gentry series because those serials are not what they used to be. However, I heard that this book contained short stories written years ago, in the beginning of Laurell K. Hamilton's career as a writer. And so, I decided to give it a whirl by checking it out of the library. (I am still in the "live and learn" mentality when it comes to buying books by this author.) I was pleasantly surprised with this compilation. Strange Candy contains various pre-published and never-before-published short stories that will satisfy your craving for dark and sensual gothic/fantasy tales. I loved the dark language in the stories and this book has reaffirmed my opinion that Hamilton has one of the best imaginations and ability to create great story development and flawless characterization I have read. I loved the stories, especially "Stealing Souls," "Selling Houses" (which is set in the Anitaverse, but without Anita or other recurring characters), and "A Token for Celandine." But my big favorites are the following three: "Those Who Seek Forgiveness," which is the very first Anita Blake story. Those who love Anita's earlier installments will enjoy this one. However, do not expect Jean-Claude or any of the other recurring characters to appear, for this is Anita Blake long before the Anitaverse was created. "A Lust of Cupids" is the shortest of them all and also the cutest. It was nice to read a more lighthearted short story and this one made me smile. My absolute favorite in the collection is "The Edge of the Sea." This is the story of a merman serial killer, one who seduces women and then kills them.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I've never read any of Laurell K. Hamilton's books so I figured a short story collection would be a good place to start. Knowing nothing about her writing style, I was surprised that this book contained so many different types of paranormal stories. There are wizards, lake monsters, cupids, witches, and--as expected--vampire hunter Anita Blake.

For an excellent collection of paranormal romance stories of many different subsets, look no further than Strange Candy. The stories collected therein give an excellent depiction of Laurell K. Hamilton's range as an author. Each story has a personalized introduction from the author and it's nice to have added perspective on a story's history rather than just reading it cold. Some of them were considered failures by editors, others display the goals she set for herself as a novice author. I've never read anyone who takes as many risks as Hamilton does within the paranormal genre. Though not every story hit home with me, there were a few that I felt were stellar, and that was enough to ensure that I'll read more of her work in the future.

In particular, I loved:

A Lust of Cupids: A woman in her early-thirties is hunted by a group of young cherubs determined to see her fall in love. When she is rescued by a man around her age who is equally determined to stay off the marriage market, what else could happen but that they'd fall in love. I was particularly captivated by this story because I've never thought of Cupid outside of the idea that he was a single Roman god and had never even considered that there might be groups of cupids. That Hamilton was willing to twist such an established idea, and do it so thoughtfully and humorously, was delightful to me.
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Format: Hardcover
Strange Candy is a collection of 14 short stories by Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry novels.

The first story in the book, "Those Who Seek Forgiveness" is, as Laurell puts it, "the first time Anita ever walked on paper for me." I hate to say it, but it's not that great a story. This is obviously Anita Blake Mark I. The character traits that would make Anita something special, the wit, the vicious sense of humor, the repressed sexuality, are nowhere in evidence - because they didn't yet exist in the author's mind.

Many readers will be shocked to discover "Those Who Seek Forgiveness" was the template for much of Laurell's short novel Micah. I said good things about Micah upon its release. I would have been less impressed had I known how much of it was a retread. The basic plot of Anita being hired by a murderer to raise the zombie of their victim, the zombie breaking free of Anita's control to attack its killer, Anita flung through the air to crack her head on a gravestone, being knocked unconscious, waking up at the end of the story in a hospital bed after her client's death, all were lifted from "Those Who Seek Forgiveness".

The rest of the stories are mostly forgettable, about half-and-half not-very-fantastic fantasy and not-very-horrible horror. There's a reason Laurell K. Hamilton is not known as a great short story writer: she isn't. Overall her characters are cardboard, she hasn't the gift of sketching a believable, sympathetic personality in the few strokes allowed within a short story's limited word count. There's rarely a sense of real peril involved in the problems her characters face.
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