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Dark and Stormy Knights: A Paranormal Fantasy Anthology Paperback – July 20, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Elrod's second urban fantasy anthology is not quite as good as 2009's Mean Streets, though the one author both volumes share, Jim Butcher, does his usual top-notch job with the Dresden Files tie-in "Even Hand," a dramatic character study of Chicago crime boss John Marcone and his little-known but powerful drive to protect small children at any cost. Equally as good is Carrie Vaughn's taut and suspenseful "God's Creatures," in which a hunter searches for a werewolf among the residents of a Catholic reform school. Rachel Caine's "Even a Rabbit Will Bite," in which a dragon slayer is rendered redundant by the near extinction of her quarry, is unexpectedly poignant. Six less memorable stories round out the volume.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Elrod has collected nine original stories by the modern masters of urban fantasy; an anthology that will both thrill fans and serve as a nice introduction to an increasingly popular genre. Several of the stories are set in the authors' series worlds but feature minor characters; Jim Butcher's “Even Hand,” for example, uses the landscape of the Dresden Files series but focuses on Chicago Mob boss Johnny Marcone. Carrie Vaughn's “God's Creatures” features Cormac, who must track down a rogue werewolf. All the stories feature knights of one kind or another, but none is the conventional knight of history. The entire collection is strong, but the two highlights are Rachel Caine's “Even a Rabbit Will Bite,” about two old foes, and Shannon Butcher's “The Beacon,” in which a reluctant hunter must decide the fate of a small girl. With some of the biggest names in urban fantasy contributing stories, this anthology will be an instant hit with fans. --Jessica Moyer
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Another story about a man who is hired to kill off werewolves. Then why does he find himself at a school for girls? The padded feet of a large animal lead the way.
Or a tale about the last dragonslayer, who after several hundred years is bored and glad there's only one left. The door opens and there is her replacement. But this Millenial is not what she seems!
Great endings, keeps your interest. Should likely be read on a Halloween night than so near the Christmas holiday. Recommended.
Jim Butcher "Evenhand" Mr. Marcone, a crime lord assists a desperate woman n the run whose plight is not as it seems. I haven't enjoyed many of Jim Butcher's novellas but I did enjoy this short story. The novella was interesting, felt hard-boilish and was full of action. 3/5
Shannon K. Butcher "The Beacon" Ryder is a hunter walking a fine line between villain and hero. This was my first experience reading any of Shannon's work and I enjoyed this novella. It was entertaining and fast moving. 3.5/5
Rachel Caine "Even a Rabbit Will Bite" This story really grabbed my attention in the beginning but after a quarter of the way through, the story just seem to drag on and on. Nothing exciting seemed to happen and the story became more about a dragon slayer's long and grueling training, than the exciting and dangerous profession of being a dragon slayer. I am not a fan of Rachel's Weather Warden series. I stopped reading it simply because there were too many convenient coincidences and it was becoming completely unbelievable, even for fantasy. 2/5
P.N. Elrod "Dark Lady" I've never clicked with P.N. Elrod's novellas in the past and this short story is no different. Even though this novella had a nice 1930s detective feel to it, the plot was completely predictable and boring. 1/5
Deidre Knight "Beknighted" This short story was way too bad paranormal romance for me and I just couldn't get into it. 0/5
Vicki Pettersson " Shifting Star" Skamar learns what it means to be human, with human frailties. This story was well done and extremely interesting. I am a huge Joanna Archer fan and this tease of a story made me salivate for the next book in the Sign of the Zodiac series The Neon Graveyard. 4/5
Lilith Saintcrow "Rockwood & Mrs. King" Rookwood, a vampire PI finds himself in a bind when a mysterious widow shows up with deep pockets and trouble. 3.5/5
Carrie Vaughn "God's Creatures" I just couldn't get into this short story, it was so boring. 0/5
Authors rarely seem to impress me these days and as far as anthologies go, this was ok. The only exceptions were Ilona Andrews and Vicki Pettersson's short stories. Without those novellas this anthology would have been a bust.
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1)
Cheat the Grave (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 5)
Must Love Hellhounds
First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, Book 1)
If you've read Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels Series, this story shows Kate meeting Saiman the shapeshifter for the first time.
I really enjoyed this story. Fast paced action, nice dialog, and some genuinely funny sections (I love all the mercs home-brew recipes to get monster stink off Kate's shoes). The twist at the end is very fun, too.
Even Hand by Jim Butcher
I'm a big fan of the Harry Dresden series, and this story doesn't disappoint. Told from the POV of John Marcone, Harry's sometimes arch-nemesis, although in this case he gets to play the reluctant hero. Marcone must defend a woman and child from a nasty Fomor from Faerie.
This story has some very witty lines, and a clever twist ending. Just because Marcone is playing the hero doesn't mean he won't profit from it.
The Beacon by Shannon K. Butcher
A professional killer finds there is a line even he won't cross.
This story had me on the edge of my seat. Very well done. I don't envy the moral dilemma the main character is faced with during the course of the story.
Even a Rabbit Will Bite by Rachel Caine
A retiring Dragon Slayer must pass on what she knows to her predecessor, but with only one elderly dragon left in the world, the task seems pointless at first. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil this gem of a story.
I'll admit I purchased this set for Ilona Andrews and Jim Butcher, but it ended up that this is by far my favorite story in the collection.
Dark Lady by P.N. Elrod
A vampire nightclub owner attempts to help a damsel in distress, but ends up needing rescued himself - by the ghost of a former employee.
A bit slow to start, this story ends with a bang. Highly enjoyable.
Beknighted by Deidre Knight
An artist attempts to free a Knight imprisoned inside a puzzle box, but dark forces seem a bit too eager for his release.
I didn't really enjoy this story, mostly because I really had a hard time understanding what was going on. The writing was dreamlike, in a way which made it hard to follow. At the end I couldn't really bring myself to care to much what happened.
Shifting Star by Vicki Pettersson
A newly human, former Tulpa must learn what it means to be human.
Another story that had a hard time following, at least at first. This story seems to associated with a series that I haven't read. However, by the end I was really enjoying this one, and the ending left me very sad.
Rookwood & Mrs. King by Lilith Saintcrow
A vampire seeks revenge on his creators by killing their new protege, Mr. King.
Its a bit more complicated than that, but I don't want to spoil anything. This one was good, and has a bit of a twist ending that I enjoyed.
God's Creatures by Carrie Vaughn
Cormac discovers that sometimes even a killing that needs to happen can weigh on your soul.
Not bad, not great, this story keeps you reading but never really pulled me in. The hero is hunting down a werewolf that has been killing cows outside of town, and he tracks it down to the local church. There is a bit of action, and the story comes to a nice, but sad, ending.
Overall a very solid collection
Most recent customer reviews
My personal favorite was: Rachel Caine's: "A Rabbit will bite."