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Customer Review

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for three out of four stories, January 3, 2008
This review is from: Holidays Are Hell (Mass Market Paperback)
Not a fan of short stories, I nevertheless bought this book because of Kim Harrison. I'm behind on reading her Rachel Morgan series and thought this would be a good way to get back into it. Turns out it was an excellent way -- this short look at Rachel's background was extremely well done. If I hadn't already been into the Morgan series, this story would have been enough to make me seek out Harrison's full-length novels.

The Lynsay Sands contribution was too superficial. She had a neat plot idea, but her characters seem like they could be cut and pasted out of any average romance novel. Even though it was short, I got bored with the story and skipped to the end so I could get to the next author.

Which turned out to be Marjorie M. Liu, with a story set in China. A no-nonsense woman, raised by the government to be a human weapon and known only as "Six," meets a mysterious man with unusual abilities and has to partner up with him to battle vampires -- and try to avoid becoming one herself. Six is an awesome fighter, the kind of character that often sucks authors into making them too perfect (the "Mary Sue" syndrome). Liu resisted the temptation, though, and even in a short story still managed to give readers insight into Six's vulnerabilities and desires. I've never read Liu before but will definitely try one of her full-length novels next.

Vicki Pettersson was another new author for me. Apparently her story in this collection is part of her "Sign of the Zodiac" series. Readers who require a "happily ever after" ending will be disappointed, but I like the fact that she didn't try to cram such an ending in. I don't know all the rules of her Zodiac universe and its good-versus-evil superhumans. Maybe in a longer Zodiac novel she could have worked her characters around to that point, but the point where she left her characters at the end of this tale felt very honest. It also felt like it was laying the foundation for a sequel, so maybe the happily-ever-after readers will get their wish in a later installment.

Overall, the book was worth buying. I'm going to get back into reading Harrison's Rachel Morgan series next, but I'll definitely check out Liu's and Pettersson's other works too.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2008 12:35:42 AM PST
Jennifer says:

As someone who has read Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series, I just wanted to give you some more information. The story in this anthology takes place 10 years before the Zodiac series begins. This is a more formal introduction to Zoe Archer, who actually has not appeared in the flesh in the Zodiac series as of yet. Pettersson gives a bit of her background, but this story fills in some blanks and lets the reader inside of Zoe's head, revealing some of her motives, weaknesses, desires, and hopes for the future of her children and the Archer legacy.

I don't consider this story a good introduction to the Zodiac series; it will only make the fullest sense to Pettersson's already established fan base. However, I think she did a pretty decent job of giving the skeleton of the rules of the Zodiac universe. The sequel that you mention in your review can be found within the pages of the Zodiac series. Everything Zoe does in this story allows the events of her first two full-length books to occur.
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