Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Review: Enthralled - Paranormal Diversions by Melissa Marr & Other Authors

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.

So I love anthologies but I hate short stories (most of the time.)

The anthology aspect is what made me want this book – the idea of a collection of some of my favourite authors and some new ones all in one place makes me hyperventilate with excitement. It’s like an all you can eat buffet where you can have a little bit of what you know and love, and then be daring and try something completely new that you’ve always looked at and never picked up before.

However, short stories and I really do not get along. There is a very fine line with them, where they either are brilliantly constructed, or they end up not working. So many short stories just leave me feeling dissatisfied because there are too many questions unanswered, too many possibilities and things left unsaid. It aggravates me and makes me want to go and find out what happened next and that’s where it stops being a short story and turns into a novel.

This is why this particular anthology was a little bit hit and miss with me. The finding new authors that I want to read more of part worked perfectly, I now have a long list of new books I want to get. However, so many of these stories were short stories hidden in amongst novels already written and out there – great if you already know the rest of the story, but irritating if you don’t.
As a result I was left feeling a bit put out and lost, because I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

The other side were the stories that were amazing, fresh new characters and concepts, but so much more story to tell than would fit in the pages offered here. So I was left feeling quite bummed after reading, despite the brilliant stories I’d read.

Don’t get me wrong the writing is brilliant, and I am so glad I got this book just so I could read more of some of my favourite authors, but I don’t think it quite did what I wanted it to.

The notable exception was Sarah Rees Brennan’s short story ‘Let’s Get This Undead Show On The Road’ which was perfection. New characters and a new setting to her novels, this was a completely fresh story, which meant that I didn’t feel left behind on back story. The story was brilliantly dark and funny and had a beginning, middle and an end – I know this seems obvious, but whilst I would have quite happily read more about the band, I wasn’t left with the feeling that I’d been cheated and where the hell was the rest of it.
It was brilliant. I love Christian, the morale vampire who could really do with some very serious hugging. Josh who could also do with some serious hugging for being so adorably nerdy, (no one does adorable nerd like SRB) Bradley, who is just made of glittery awesome and knock knock jokes, and Pez, who should perhaps stay away from any household cleaning products in future…

Other fabulous tales included Melissa Marr’s ‘Merely Mortal’ which offered another glimpse into the setting and characters of ‘Wicked Lovely’ and Carrie Ryan’s ‘Scenic Route’ which whilst the setting was from her trilogy of novels, the characters and plot were entirely new.

For making me weep, ‘Bridge’ by Jeri Smith-Ready should get a mention, and I am so getting her novels to find out more about the characters. It was compelling, exceptionally well written, and deeply moving.

The story that perhaps irritated me the most – and see that as a compliment – was ‘The Third Kind’ by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Oh good lord was it awesome, but where the hell was the rest of it???
Seriously, I want a novel out of that story, because there was so much more I wanted to know! The characters were brilliant and funny and real, and the scenario was just so intriguing. I was just incredibly peeved that there wasn’t more!

All in all this was a brilliant collection of stories that gave me the opportunity to window shop some more young adult authors that I haven’t had the chance to read yet. Yes there were irritations and upsets, but they were mostly out of wanting more of them, which I suppose is a round-about compliment really… Anyway, I highly recommend it, either as a window shopping tool, or to just get more of your favourite authors, and prepare to be swept away on some fairly epic journeys.

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