Night Life (2008)
Anthologies: My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon (2007), Strange Brew (2009), Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives (2011)
Night Life (2008)
Luna is a cop in Nocturne City who is hiding her true nature as a were. When a serial killer starts eviscerating women and taking their finger bones, Luna is assigned the case, but the deaths–combined with an unusual struggle to hide her true nature, threatens Luna’s secret and her job.
First, a werewolf named Luna, in a world where weres are completely controlled by the moon? And her cousin and roommate (note, cousin, not sister) is called Sunny? That’s a little ridiculous and also unlikely.
Second, enough with the sex already. Why is it so hard to find good contemporary fantasy that doesn’t involve ridiculous explicit sex scenes?
There were some things that I think the book did well. I almost cheered when Luna goes into a dangerous situation and calls in to log her location. At least she’s not a stupid cop, even if she is out of control. And she does get suspended for a fracas with a co-worker.
I had issues with the world building. The world is definitely not our world–it is a world where weres and witches are common and known to the public (and disliked, of course.) This world seemed to share a common history with our world, but there are significant differences, one of which was the time frame. There is blatant sexism, which made me think the time frame was the sixties or seventies. However, the characters use cell phones and computers and the internet.
These things are–to my mind–mutually exclusive. You don’t get to have the development of technology that matches our level of technology in a world where fifties sexism is blatant and expected.
Additionally, I generally dislike stories where women are expected to be homemakers and “little ladies.” We already fought that fight and although things still are not perfect, ass grabbing in the work place is a thing of the past, and is out of place in a story that is otherwise “modern.”
Additionally, every author who writes about weres gives them different abilities. This means that you need to clarify what can and cannot be done. Additionally, you need to make sure that those skills, abilities, and weaknesses do not conflict. Luna’s reaction to silver was contradictory, and those contradictions were not explained at all. (Silver should either burn the were, or not burn there were. You better have a good explanation as to why it burns in some conditions but not others.)
As far as the mystery, the fact I didn’t understand the magic of the world, and what limits it had, made understanding the mystery difficult.
So, I was disappointed in this story. It wasn’t throw across the room abysmal, but there were many little things that distracted from the story for me.
This was a very mixed bag. Some of the stories were good, some I could barely stand to finish, and in fact, put this anthology down several times, for something (anything?) I liked a little more.
Part of the problem is that several of the stories were tied strongly into a series, so I either had trouble following what was going on or there was zero character development, since it’s all happening in the series.
Caitlin Kittredge’s story “Newlydeads” was the story that I kept putting down and moving onto something else. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t know the characters, didn’t know the world, and didn’t particularly like the characters and wondered why the hell they were spending any time together.
So, I generally found this a disappointment. If you’re following the series, then it might be okay, but very few of the stories seemed to stand well on their own.
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin
Strange Brew (2009) editor
I love short story collections. They’re a way to discover new authors, visit with favorite characters, and to be honest I just enjoy short stories. Now if you like short stories, you eventually learn that a lot of collections are not worth buying, but there are certain authors that will cause me to buy an anthology on sight. This collection has several of those authors: Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, and Charlaine Harris.
As with most collections, there are some good stories, and some stories I didn’t like quite as well. For some reason, the stories I like the best seem to end up in the front of the book–which is unusual, because with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword & Sorceress anthologies, that tended to end on very strong stories. This collection, not so much, which is always a little disappointing.
Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs
Last Call by Jim Butcher
Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine
Vegas Odds by Karen Chance
Hecate’s Golden Eye by P.N. Elrod
Bacon by Charlaine Harris
Signatures of the Dead by Faith Hunter
Ginger: A Nocturne City Story by Caitlin Kittredge
Dark Sins by Jenna Maclaine
What I thought was interesting was several of the stories reached back into mythology for parts of their stories, which I really enjoyed (although I didn’t need all the explanation that was given). If you think you might be interested in reading supernatural fantasy, this anthology would be a good place to sample some stories.
Re-Read: July 12, 2014
Ginger: A Nocturne City Story by Caitlin Kittredge I completely skipped this. I just cannot get into Caitlin Kittredge’s short stories. They all feel like I’m mising huge chunks.
I love anthologies, but I wish that more collections were edited for quality short stories, rather than to get as many names on the cover–regardless of whether those authors are good at writing short stories and novellas.
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin
Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives (2011)
edited by Justin Gustainis
“Little Better than a Beast: A Marla Mason Story” by T. A. Pratt
“Dusted: A Cosa Nostradamus Story” by Laura Anne Gilman
“The Demon You Know… A Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom Story” by Julie Kenner
“The Spirit of the Thing: A Nightside Story” by Simon R. Green
“Holding the Line: A Jill Kismet Story” by Lilith Saintcrow
“Defining Shadows: A Detective Jessi Hardin Story” by Carrie Vaughn
“Deal Breaker: A Quincey Morris Story” by Justin Gustainis
“See Me: A Smoke and Shadows Story” by Tanya Huff
“Soul Stains: A Vampire Babylon Story” by Chris Marie Green
“Under the Hill and Far Away: A Black London Story” by Caitlin Kittredge
“An Ace in the Hole: A Sazi Story” by C. T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
“Hell Bound: A Hell on Earth Story” by Jackie Kessler
“Impossible Love: A Piers Knight Story” by C. J. Henderson
“Running Wild: An Outcast Season Story” by Rachel Caine
This was, as sometimes happens, a mix of stories I liked and didn’t like, though there wasn’t any particular story I thought was terrible. Just stories that were more or less to my personal taste. There were also several stories I had previously read.
“Under the Hill and Far Away: A Black London Story” by Caitlin Kittredge. This is the second story I’ve read set in this world, and I liked this one better than the first, but it was nowhere near to my favorite story.
All an all, an interesting anthology, and would I can easily recommend–especially if it’s still only $3.
Published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing