Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review: Enthralled - Paranormal Diversions by various authors

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions

Authors: Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Claudia Gray, Carrie Ryan, Jessica Verday, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Kimberly Derting, Jeri Smith-Ready, Ally Condie, Rachel Vincent, Sarah Rees Brennan, Mary E. Pearson, Jackson Pearce and Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release: September 20th 2011
Genre: Anthologies, Paranormal, Short Stories, YA


A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.


Okay, so here's how it goes. I will say a few things, like two or three sentences, to each short story and I'll also list "Yes" if I have read books by that author before or "No" if I haven't, because I'd find it interesting to know if this short story was the first thing someone has ever read by an author. Now, without further ado, here's what I thought about them all (and used the term "short story" about a million times):

Giovanni's Farewell by Claudia Gray

This being the first one of the short stories, I actually thought "Wow, this was actually pretty good and cute," but considering the other short stories, it's not quite as good as the others. It's also not that original or anything, but well, I liked it when I first read it. I am, however, very fond of Claudia Gray's writing style, which makes me want to check out her other books.

Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan

“The lantern burns inside, beckoning to Margie, but she keeps to the weeds, waiting while stars begin to catch fire overhead.”

I thought this was boring at first, because there was a lot of sitting around and doing nothing, but it got better later on. Although, I think I would have thought it was more exciting had there been a different ending... this way it just seemed pretty cheap. Short stories are supposed to end with a bang, and it wasn't there. And overall, I didn't like the story that much, unfortunately. The writing was lovely, though, I'll give her that. 

Red Run by Kami Garcia

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, I'd even say this was my favorite out of all of these. It reminded me a bit of the beginning of Anna Dressed in Blood, chasing a hitchhiker ghost that kills people, and I generally like these ghost haunt stories anyways. There was a constant thrum of tension going on and the ending was entirely unexpected. There was definitely a bang here and there even was a kind of climax going on at the end. I am very impressed, to say the least. It makes me hopeful that maybe I haven't made a mistake picking up her Unbreakable, especially since that's also about ghosts. 

Things About Love by Jackson Pearce

I don't think it's a good idea to switch POVs in short stories, and it was very annoying, to say the least. However, I do see why that was maybe necessary, and it made the story more comprehensible on another level, but still... it's just that, on top of the quick POV switches, it wasn't that interesting to begin with. Genies and humans falling love, and the questions the immortals ask themselves about love, I think it was supposed to be really deep and unanswerable, but I still didn't really like the idea. It just reminded me of Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, where Alice falls in love with a genie as well. I did like the idea that, instead of falling for the main guy Lawrence to conduct her research, the genie had to search for someone else because Lawrence was gay. That was probably the only twist here, and one I approved of. Writing was okay, although it's not blowing me away. I'm still planning to read her Fairytale Retellings as soon as I can, but I'm not that eager to read her other work now as I am with some authors.

Niederwald by Rachel Vincent

I didn't know this was extra content for her Soul Screamers series, so I was pleasantly surprised. Or not so pleasantly, seeing as I don't care much for Sabine at all, she's just a bitch. Emma is badass though, I'll give her that, and she was badass in this short story. Overall, it was nice, albeit a little spoilery for the main series, and I wasn't blown away by it. 

Merely Mortal by Melissa Marr

I have read a book by Marr before, just not her Wicked Lovely series, so I was kind of confused about this, because it is, again, extra content. I didn't know what the hell was going on, and not knowing anything about the context, it simply spoiled the whole ending for Wicked Lovely for me, in addition to being unbearably sappy. There were no spoiler warnings whatsoever so it made me really angry, how can they do this? After about three or four pages I skipped this one, but the damage was already done. Maybe I'll read it when I have read the main series.

Facing Facts by Kelley Armstrong

Again, a The Summoning extra, and again, not something special. I mean I enjoyed it well enough like the others, but honestly, I would have liked a whole new short story with different characters and a story I didn't already know. What happened in this short story has happened a billion times during the main series already, it was nothing new. Not to mention that this, again, spoilers everything for people who haven't read the series yet. This time, I fortunately have, but still. You shouldn't do that.

Let’s Get this Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan

I didn't like Unspoken, the book I have read by her, so I was surprised to find that I really liked her short story. It kind of reminded me of one of my all-time favorites, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, what with all the vampire culture being out in the open and humans knowing about them. It was a more or less unique vampire story concept, and I liked the whole short story in general. Brennan managed to create well-rounded characters within just a few short pages, I am so very impressed. Maybe I will check out the sequel Untold, or something else by her now... 

Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready

Again, another extra content to her Shade series. It was okay, although I think it would have been tons better if it weren't written like a poem/song, because this way it was just weird. It never rhymed, or had any discernible rhythm, which made me hate the way it was written, I'm sure I could have liked this otherwise. But the content of it was lovely, and something we don't really get much insight of in the main series, so...

Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting

I really loved one series by Derting, and the other I completely hated, so I'm still not quite sure what to think of her. This short story didn't help, seeing as it, again, was simply okay. I liked that the ending wasn't as cheap as the Scenic Route one, so that was one thing in its favor, but the whole thing lacked a little bit of tension, and it was a bit ridiculous. I still mostly enjoyed it, though, so I think it's up to The Taking to make up my mind about Derting.

Leaving by Ally Condie

“(...) and everyone acted like we were kids, not thirteen and mostly grown, and it was one of the last times and one of the first times and certainly one of the best times.”

I was a little skeptic at first, because her Matched books were simply disastrous, there is no better way to say it. And as I'd feared, the short story was... not quite as disastrous as Matched, but close. I didn't really get what was going on and I didn't even know if the main character was a guy or a girl until very late into the story. 

At The Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday

Probably my second favorite, right after Red Run. A kickass, fierce heroine, and Verday managed to create a three dimensional character during the span of a short few pages as well. I liked Jane a lot, and the story was great — I loved the whole unique idea of it. Definitely made me want to check this author out!

IV League by Margaret Stohl

Nope, nope, nope. I did not get this story at all. I am very confused by it. What the hell happened here? It seemed to have a lot of potential and the world building seemed really interesting, but nothing was ever explained and I was dragged on ahead without ever getting anything that was going on. A shame, really, and this makes me really nervous because I just recently bought her Icons...

Gargouille by Mary E. Pearson

Another nice, fluffy, little story just like Giovanni's Farewell. Nothing outstanding, but still sweet and this time with a quirky fantasy element, angels of the night, which I liked a lot. I enjoyed it.

The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Probably my third favorite. The idea was great, I have to see if this was an idea for a full length novel, because I'd most definitely read that. Hopefully it is. A very cool story and the characters seemed nice as well. 

Automatic by Rachel Caine

I deduced pretty quickly that this was a Morganville extra, and since I haven't read that series either, I quickly shut the book and didn't read this short story for fear of having to relive the whole spoiler drama like I did with the Wicked Lovely short story.

All in all, most of these short stories were really worth my while and I'm glad I bought this on a whim. I should read more of these anthologies more often, because it's a great way to pass the time, because you can just read one of these short stories if you don't have much time and just want something quick and fresh. Of course, in this case I read them all back to back, but still. I do have one other anthology book lying around here (Shards and Ashes), and I'm hoping to get to that soon as well, and then I'll have to see what other anthologies there are out here in the YA world.

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