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Carniepunk by [Caine, Rachel, Thurman, Rob, Hearne, Kevin, McGuire, Seanan, Estep, Jennifer, Pang, Allison, Gay, Kelly, Dawson, Delilah S., Meding, Kelly]
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4.0 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Length: 450 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

While quite a lot of this collection relies on standard horror tropes, each of the stories tends to use them well enough to keep things interesting. From the opening tale, Painted Love to Seanan McGuire’s haunting Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea, the promise of magic, illusion, and adventure on the midways of various traveling carnivals is conveyed vividly and with striking detail. While not all of the stories necessarily do anything to illuminate the human condition (with a few exceptions, which manage nicely to illustrate the pains of not belonging and of pretending to be something you’re not), they’re all interesting pieces of narrative and entertaining in their many, varied ways. And of course, there are a few good, solid action stories in among the more psychological horror. A few of them, including Delilah S. Dawson’s The Three Lives of Lydia and Nicole Peeler’s The Inside Man, are also effective teasers for their authors’ novels. --Regina Schroeder

About the Author

Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the immensely popular Morganville Vampires, Weather Warden, Outcast Season, and Revivalist series. Learn more at

Rob Thurman

Rob Thurman is the author of the Cal Leandros series, the Trickster series, and the Korsak Brothers novels, and has been a Goodreads Choice, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice, and an Eliot Rosewater Award nominee. Rob’s work is dark, nonstop action from beginning to end, rife with purely evil sarcasm as sharp as a switchblade—and probably nearly as illegal. Contact the author at and @Rob_Thurman. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 4216 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (July 23, 2013)
  • Publication Date: July 23, 2013
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A281B5I
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,998 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Painted Love" by Rob Thurman
Marvelous surprises await you in "Painted Love." Told from the point of view of a supernatural hitchhiker, "Painted Love" takes readers on an exploration of love and evil. Rob Thurman gave Doodle such an interesting, unique voice that I was drawn into the story from the start and couldn't stop reading until I learned what was going on. I'm afraid I can't say much about this story without spoiling it, but suffice it to say that you're in for a fascinating journey. "Painted Love" stayed with me long after I finished reading it and I'm looking forward to reading more of Rob Thurman's work.


"The Three Lives of Lydia" by Delilah S. Dawson
I admit, I picked up the Carniepunk anthology for this story. I love Delilah S. Dawson's Blud series and thus was eager to delve into the world of the Bludmen once more. Ms. Dawson does not disappoint. "The Three Lives of Lydia" explores the terrible beauty of Sang and of Criminy's Clockwork Caravan as seen through the eyes of Lydia, a human from our world who wakes up in Sang. I loved the vibrancy of the carnival, the darker undertones of the world, and seeing Sang -- not to mention curious Bludman Charlie Dregs -- through Lydia's eyes. The twists and turns the story took were interesting, leaving me to ponder the implications of what Ms. Dawson revealed.

If you haven't read the Blud series, "The Three Lives of Lydia" is a good introduction to the world of Sang. Chronologically, it takes place before the first book, Wicked As They Come, so fans of the series will undoubtedly be thrilled to see the caravan and its members (including Blud heroes Criminy and Casper) before Tish's arrival.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A collection of stories with a carnival theme by a number of awesome authors. Some were outstanding, some were good, but all were well worth reading. I think some of the stories had an advantage to winning my affection, since they are set in worlds and with characters that I'm already familiar with from series I love. Some ended somewhat ambiguously, and I think I liked the stories with a clear happy ending better, but that's just my taste. I'm not going to go into each one here, but the stories I thought were outstanding were:

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street by Kevin Hearne - a story featuring the characters and world of the Iron Druid series, this one was full of action and I loved the ending.

The Cold Girl by Rachel Caine - a story of a teen girl in a relationship with the wrong boy with tragic results, but the ending was fantastic. I'm always a sucker for a well-deserved revenge.

A Duet With Darkness by Allison Pang - I wish I had read this story before I read A Sliver of Shadow because it features some of the characters that appeared in that book and explains their relationships. It features the violinist Melanie St James and was set in the world of the Abby Sinclair books.

Parlor Tricks by Jennifer Estep - a short story featuring Gin Blanco from her Elemental Assassin series which is one of my favorite series, so of course I adored it. It involved Gin and her sister Bria attending a carnival while looking for a missing girl. I loved the way Gin and Bria worked together to defeat the villains.

Freak House by Kelly Meding - this one was not set in the world I'm most familiar with, the Dreg City novels.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A doodle come to life, a young man- half human and half monster, vampire bunny rabbits and more inhabit the pages of this book.

I typically enjoy short story collections. They are usually both a bigger bang for my buck, and more importantly, lead me to new authors I might not otherwise have found. This book was different though. There were a few that I truly enjoyed (enough to have downloaded a book from) but too many stories that just put me to sleep. Literally. I think perhaps it was because several of the authors wrote stories that put me down in the middle of one of their book series. Like being invited to a party where you are the only person who doesn't know everyone else, I found it difficult at times not to be put off by private jokes and behavior that takes it for granted that I already know what's what.

My favorite story was Seanan McGuire's tale about a young woman raised in the carnival from birth. It was one of the best mermaid stories I've ever read. I truly enjoyed the way the author made both autumn and the carnival come to life, especially given the small number of pages she had to achieve it.

Overall, I came away with five new authors to try out. Not a bad haul...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this collection bc of Seanan Mcguire and Rachel Caine.. LOVE THEM!!! I am now going to read the Blud series ("the Three Lives of Lydia") this will probably be the only series I pick up reading from this anthology. I would pick the series about "Freak House" but that is the 1st introduction to a future series. I don't like reading unfinished series.

The Great:
Painted Love -4/5 stars- A really old "guy" likes to blend in attach himself to another so he can observe life without interfering. Until he FINALLY has an interest in someone.
The Three Lives of Lydia -5/5 stars- Waking up in a different crazy world, wouldnt that be crazy?? Loved the crazy ending!
The Wherewife -4/5 stars- Told from the husbands perspective about his wife as a wherewolf and all the negative stuff he has to deal with as a husband.
The Cold Girl -5/5 stars- A young girl who loves her unkind boyfriend too much. The things she learns about him at a carnival. Awesome ending.
Freak House -5/5 stars- A half jinn women trying to rescue her father. This will be a very good series.
Hells Menagerie -4.5/5 stars- A young girl and her sort of dad and her hell hound are on an adventure to rescue the hellhounds pups.
Daughter of the Midway... -5/5 stars- A young mermaid girl traveling with a carnival ends up in a not so nice town. The only story where the carnival is the good guys and the ppl r the bad guys.

The okay:
The Demon Barker of Wheat Street -3/5 stars- An elementalist his assistant and his dog (who he can talk too) go to a carnival where he doesnt have his full power and get more than whats expected. Part of a series that i hope is better than this short, which is just kind of blah...
The Sweeter The Juice -3.
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