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Monday, 18 June 2012

Review: Hex Appeal (anthology)

Hex Appeal
by Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Carole Nelson Douglas, P.N. Elrod, Simon R. Green, Lori Handeland, Erica Hayes and Carrie Vaughn

Well the first thing that made me want to read this book was the cover.  Yeah I admit it.  The second thing?  ILONA ANDREWS!  Quite frankly, anthologies can be a good place to find new authors to read or just a collection of stories that are hard to develop because they are so short.  As you can see by the number of authors in this anthology, yes, the stories were short.  But some managed to convey enough of the story where I didn't feel anything was missing.

RETRIBUTION CLAUSE BY ILONA ANDREWS - 4 STARS
This story is set in the Kate Daniels world although there is no Kate or any of the characters we know.  It was actually interesting to see a different setting than Atlanta as this story takes place in Philadelphia.  It also features Saiman's frost giant cousin Adam.  Adam is an insurance adjuster and as such, he will have to enforce the retribution clause in the policy of a client.  What does that mean?  Him and his partner Siroun have to go and kill whoever killed her.  Adam and Siroun are great characters, they work well together and there's a definite attraction as well.  The story was very interesting and kept me hooked!  Another great one by Ilona Andrews.

BIGFOOT ON CAMPUS BY JIM BUTCHER - 4 STARS
I am probably one of the few people that haven't read the Dresden Files.  I've always wondered about the series but didn't get to it yet.  And this small taste of Jim Butcher's writing style and of Harry Dresden himself, well...completely wetted my appetite!  I loved this story, I loved Harry, and I loved Jim's storytelling.  I was sucked in from the beginning.  Harry is hired by Bigfoot to go protect his son, who is away at college.  Catch is Bigfoot has never officially met his son, and his son doesn't know his heritage, nor the danger he is currently in.  Awesome story!

HOLLY'S BALM BY RACHEL CAINE - 3.5 STARS
Having not read any stories by Rachel Caine that this would be even somewhat related to, I had no background for it but it was still a pretty enjoyable story standalone.  Holly is a resurrection witch, and yes that means she can resurrect the dead.  Her powers are used in police investigations sometimes to ask the victims about their death.  She also has an undead (resurrected) boyfriend who, for some reason, hasn't gone away.  Some magic is keeping him alive again and with her.  Holly is now called in to investigate a crime that resembles one she had already investigated.  Turns out the killer found a witch to resurrect his old victims and live his killings all over again, and now Holly has to figure out who is helping him and how to stop them.

SNOW JOB BY CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS - 2 STARS
Snow is a rock star. Snow goes missing somehow.  Delilah is a paranormal investigator and now has to find a way to rescue Snow, even though she didn't have a good relationship with him.  I was overwhelmed with this story.  Not having read anything by this author or in this series, I was lost and a lot of information was thrown in.  Maybe just not my thing.

OUTSIDE THE BOX BY P.N. ELROD - 2 STARS
Maybe this was just not my thing but I didn't enjoy this story.  It's the first I read from this author (at least that I can remember).  The story is about a witch that works as a to register newly risen vampires.  This one vampire she's dealing with now is just more than she bargained for.

HOW DO YOU FEEL BY SIMON R. GREEN - 3 STARS
I've read other Simon R. Green short stories in anthologies and I think I've come to the realization that his writing is not so much my preference style.  However this story was entertaining, although a bit dark.  It's about Dead Boy.  He's been dead for a long time and just kind of existed all that time, not feeling anything and missing it, never thinking about the mugging that took his life.  Until someone comes up to him and tells him his death wasn't an accident and Dead Boy is looking for revenge.

THERE WILL BE DEMONS BY LORI HANDELAND - 3 STARS
Dhampirs, skinwalkers, fairies and fallen angels... Oh my!  This was a bit unremarkable but not bad.  I did have a hard time finding it interesting at the beginning, but basically Summer is a fairy and along with Jimmy and Sawyer they work for a demon killing organization and will go on a mission together.  There's something about soulmates but it wasn't too clear to me, maybe I just had to read the series to understand it more.

CHERRY KISSES BY ERICA HAYES - 2 STARS
Going to hell takes on a whole new meaning when you actually have to go to hell to recover an amulet.    I really didn't connect with this story.

THE ARCANE ART OF MISDIRECTION BY CARRIE VAUGHN - 4 STARS
Yes, this is part of the Kitty Norville series.  Is Kitty in it? No.  Much in the same way as the Ilona Andrews story, this is set in the world but there's no active participation from the main series characters.  Although we did see Odysseus Grant and the story is set in Vegas, which we visited in one of Kitty's books.  Probably would be enjoyed by someone who hasn't read the series.

*Review copy provided by publisher.
Purchase Links: Amazon

4 comments:

Timitra said...

Great review Francesca!

Under the Covers said...

Thanks Timitra!

Francesca

Braine @ Talk Supe said...

Thanks for the info, I got my eye on this for a while but I haven't gotten round to looking up the stories. Big help, this review.

Maria D. said...

Good review! I too have not read any of the Dresden File books but it's good to know that I could pick this up and enjoy his short in it. I love Illona Andrews so yes that is the biggest selling point. The only other author I've read in this anthology is Lori Handeland and the short you are describing is in her Apocalyptic series and it's a confusing series if you don't read the books in order and I've often found myself having to reread things in the books because of how complicated the world building is. I do have this book on my wishlist for the time being though.