Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Books: Fantasy

The White Mists of Power (1991)


The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: Eighth Annual Collection (1995), Earth, Air, Fire, Water (1999), Assassin Fantastic (2001), Faerie Tales (2004), Places to Be, People to Kill (2007), At the Scene of the Crime (2008), By Blood We Live (2009) Between the Dark and the Daylight: And 27 More of the Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year (2009), The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told (2010), A Fantastic Holiday Season (2014)

The White Mists of Power (1991)

The White Mists of PowerI found this story both enjoyable and maddening. Enjoyable because it was a very interesting story, but maddening, because the "twist" in the story felt more like a trick than a twist.

I also wasn't quite clear about the Enos and what the difference was between the Enos and the Old Ones. Perhaps I missed something important somewhere, but I found there part at the end of the story rather confusing.

Not to say that there were not many strong points to this story. There were. The characters were well done, and the story was interesting and compelling. (This was my waiting/travel book that I ended up pulling out of my jacket to finish.)

I just found the "twist" and my confusion about the Enos very distracting. I was also distracted by several point that were specifically brought up, but then never reconsidered. As well as the sudden halt in the growth of one of the characters. We spent time in his mind and watch his growth, and then suddenly he kinda drops off the face of the earth to become more of a minor supporting character.

Though I have to say that this is an absolutely gorgeous cover. I believe the artist has done many other fantasy books, but I can't remember their name off the top of my head, and of course the cover artist wasn't mentioned on the copyright page. So, I found this interesting, but flawed.

Rating: 7/10


The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: Eighth Annual Collection (1995) edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Published by St Martins Press

Earth, Air, Fire, Water (1999) edited by Margaret Weis


Assassin Fantastic (2001) edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Alexander Potter

I know that Martin Greenberg puts together good anthologies, however there's something about the "Fantastic" that gets tacked onto the end of each anthology theme title that puts me off for some reason. However, I've always been fond of Assassin characters, so I picked up the book.

After the first few stories I almost gave up--the story by Tanya Huff I found confusing, and I saw the trick of Stephen Leigh's "Green Stones" almost immediately, so although it was a good story, it wasn't a great story. The same went for Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Coin of the Realm" I knew where the story was going, so it lost much of its punch. (It's an anthology about assassins--chances are that the main character--especially in a first person narrative--is going to be the assassin. Because it's hard for the assassinated to tell their story after the fact. So that pretty much kills any surprise or twist.) However, it picked up from there.

All in all it was a good anthology, and I quite enjoyed it. There were lots of original stories, and for the most part even the ones I didn't care for were well-written, making it more a matter of taste than of quality. And I found a couple of new authors to look for as well, which is always a good thing.

Rating: 7/10

Grails: Quests of the Dawn (2004) edited by Richard Gilliam & Martin H. Greenberg

Faerie Tales (2004) edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Russell Davis

Published by Daw

Places to Be, People to Kill (2007) edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Brittiany A. Koren

I really like short stories, so I'm a sucker for anthologies. I've been burned a couple of times, but for the most part, anything that Martin H Greenberg has a hand in will most likely contain a majority of stories I'll enjoy. The fact that the stories were about assassins was an added bonus. (For some reason I love to read about characters I would want absolutely nothing to do with if I read them in life: assassins, thieves, and scoundrels. Places to Be, People to Kill contains all three.

As with most anthologies, there were some stories I especially liked, and some I cared for less.

Substitutions by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was another story I liked. It's somewhat of a supernatural fantasy, only it focuses upon the more spiritual aspects of the supernatural rather than the creepy crawlies. I also like the idea of death outsourcing to multiple individuals to help cover the work load.

If you enjoy short stories–especially short stories about scoundrels and assassins, then I recommend that you check out Places to Be, People to Kill.

Rating: 6/10

At the Scene of the Crime (2008) edited by Dana Stabenow

At the scene of the crimeI first stumbled across Dana Stabenow when I picked up a fantasy/mystery anthology she edited. After a second anthology, I discovered she was primarily a mystery write, and so picked up her Kate Shugak series. Which I absolutely loved. So I found myself interested when I discovered a forensic crime anthology.

I actually am not familiar with most of the writers, which caused me to put this on my wishlist instead of buying it outright. However, when I ended up getting two copies for Christmas, I decided it was a sign I should read the anthology.

As with all anthologies, I liked some stories better than others. Unlike some anthologies, there were not any stories I hated, so that's always good.

The main character in Brendan Dubois's story "A Trace of a Trace" is newly retired, but the detective in a perplexing case asks him to help out on a case where they think someone has gotten away with murder. I found the mystery and murder quite interesting–perhaps the perfect murder, so I was curious to see how they thought they might catch the murderer.

"Five Sorrowful Mysteries" by Julie Hyzy was another story I particularly liked. The story begins with a woman doing an autopsy, and ends with her husband the detective making the arrest, but I particularly enjoyed how their putting together of the evidence was almost accidental.

"The Retired Arsonist" by Edward D. Hoch was a good story, and although I didn't necessarily buy the resolution of the mystery, I enjoyed the characters andthe story nevertheless.

"Occam's Razor" by Maynard F. Thompson was another particularly good story. The murder is related to a somewhat indifferent reporter, who is interviewing the retired medical examiner, and gets the case that started him on his path in police work.

All in all, it's an interesting collection.

Rating: 7/10

By Blood We Live (2009) edited by John Joseph Adams

Between the Dark and the Daylight: And 27 More of the Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year (2009) edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Daniel M. Hoyt

I generally love mystery anthologies, but I had a hard time with this one.

First and foremost, the collection is full of unreliable narrators. I have absolutely nothing against unreliable narrators, and usually enjoy them, however, when you read story after story where the narrator is actually the killer, it quickly becomes unsurprising, and I wasn't interested in reading all the various justifications the murderers and criminals gave for their actions.

That said, there were some stories I enjoyed, but overall, I just wanted to finish the anthology so I could move onto something else.

Published by Tyrus Books

Rating: 6/10

The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told (2010) edited by Martin H. Greenberg & John Helfers

I wouldn't say the best necessarily, but it's not a bad selection of stories. And the fact that I got to read it for free probably helped.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s story "Corpse Vision" was one of the darker stories. Joe is slowly drinking himself to death in Paris, while working for a newspaper instead of writing his novel like he wanted to. This story takes awhile to get going, but it is quite good once I got into it. I suppose the problem with anthologies is that when a story has a very different tone from from the one before it, it takes a bit to settle down and figure what's going on.

There were a couple other stories in the collection, but I didn't love or hate them, so all in all, this was a pretty strong collection.

Published by Skyhorse Publishing

Rating: 8/10

A Fantastic Holiday Season: The Gift of Stories (2014) edited by Kevin J. Anderson & Kieth J. Olexa

Fantastic Holiday SeasonI picked this collection up solely for the Patricia Briggs story, but once I saw some of the other authors, read through the stories that interested me (but skipped the ones that didn't grab me after a page or two).

"Midnight Trains" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was an interesting story that was a bit about trains, a bit about fairies, but mostly about Christmas.

This is a decent collection with something for everything, even if all the stories don't appeal to everyone.

Published by WordFire Press

Rating: 8/10