Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review - Dark and Stormy Knights Edited by P.N. Elrod (4/5 stars)

All of these stories have something in common; they feature a "knight" someone who will go to heroic measures to protect innocents (or to make some money). 

The best of the bunch is Ilona Andrews "A Questionable Client"; this is a great story in and of itself and is a great sample of Andrew's writing style.  Kate Daniels fans will love it too because it fills an important event that happened between Kate and Saiman.  My second favorite was Caine's "Even a Rabbit Will Bite" loved the characters and the irony of the story.

There were some stories that were entertaining but not outstanding.  "Even Hand" by Jim Butcher give insight into John Marcone's character from the Dresden Files.  "Rookwood and Mrs. King" by Saintcrow introduces some new characters that I hope she expands on in a series.  "Shifting Star" by Vicki Pettersson gives you a story about Zoe's Tulpa, Skamar; unfortunately if you aren't reading Pettersson's Signs of the Zodiac series I think you will be totally lost as to the meaning behind this story.

My least favorite of the bunch was Beknighted by Deidre Knight; there was a bit too much of a romance vibe going on here and the world wasn't described well...I thought it didn't really fit with the rest of the stories and the theme of this anthology.

Overall a decent anthology.  The Ilona Andrews story makes it worth reading.  The other stories provide good samplings of some of the best Urban Fantasy authors out there.  This is definitely urban fantasy and not PNR; which was seems like so many anthologies tend towards paranormal romance (PNR).  I personally got it from the library but it might be worth buying if you are a huge fan on one of the series represented.  See below for a description and mini-review of each story.

- A Questionable Client by Ilona Andrews (5/5 stars)
We get to find out about that time Kate served as a bodyguard for Saiman.  Action-packed filled with sharp humor; it was nice to have that story filled out some.

- Even Hand by Jim Butcher (4/5 stars)
A story from John Marcone's point of view.  It was interesting to gain some insight into Marcone.  The story was entertaining but over-all nothing mind-blowing.

- The Beacon by Shannon K. Butcher (4/5 stars)
A story about a hunter who assassinates Beacons that lure evil creatures called Terraphages to earth to destroy humanity.  This was an entertaining story, I enjoyed the main character and there was a lot of action.  I am curious as to what else Butcher has written, but not curious enough to immediately pick up books by her to read.

- Even a Rabbit Will Bite by Rachel Caine (5/5 stars)
Story about a retired dragon trainer and the young trainee that is supposed to take her place.  I liked this story it was entertaining and ironic.  I love how the story wrapped up but wasn't all that surprised at the ending.  Overall a great story.  I have read some of Caine's Weather Warden series and like her okay as an author in general.

- Dark Lady by P. N. Elrod (3/5 stars)
This is another Jack Flemming story.  In general I am not a big fan of Elrod's Jack Flemming stories and this story was no exception.  I've read some short stories with Jack and the first book in the Flemming series.  This was another noir/gangster-type vampire story.  It was okay and was well-written.

- Beknighted by Deidre Knight (2/5 stars)
An artist has to pay a steep price to free a knight from his prison.  The world surrounding this story isn't very well defined and it is a bit confusing.  This is more like a romance than anything else and was my least favorite of the bunch.  There are parts of it that are a bit amusing and the idea is interesting...just not that well done.

- Shifting Star by Vicki Pettersson (3/5 stars)
If you have read all the Signs of the Zodiac book (which I have) then this story will be an interesting read for you.  It features Skamar, Zoe's tulpa, and takes place sometime after the 4th book in the series.  We get to learn more about Skamar as an individual and about what she is doing while Johanna is recovering.  Kind of interesting.  I think anyone who has not read the series will be totally lost though.

- Rookwood and Mrs. King by Lilith Saintcrow (4/5 stars)
Story about a woman named Amelia who comes to investigator Rookwood with a plea that he kill her already dead husband.  Not much world-building but there was a lot of action and the characters were interesting.  It would be great to see some books about Rookwood and Amelia in the future.  Previously I have also read Saintcrow's Dante Valentine series and liked it.

- God's Creatures by Carrie Vaughn (3.5/5 stars)
Story from the point of view of Cormac the Bounty hunter from Vaughn's Kitty Norville series.  Basically it just tells about Cormac going on a wolf hunt.  It was okay and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't add much to the characters for me and as a stand alone story it wasn't anything special.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Dark and Stormy Knights 


  1. Fantastic review of this collection. I especially like your short synopsis of each story. Thanks

  2. Thanks Jan! I am glad that you found the review useful :-)
    - Karissa