Review part 1/3: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe Anthology

December 27, 2009 Review 4

Review part 1/3: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe AnthologyWolfsbane and Mistletoe by Anthology
Published by Ace on October 7, 2008
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 340
Sexual Content: None.
Reviewed by: Abigail
3 Stars

The editors of Many Bloody Returns deliver the perfect howl-iday gift, with new tales from Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, and many more. New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Carrie Vaughn—along with eleven other masters of the genre—offer all-new stories on werewolves and the holidays, a fresh variation on the concept that worked so well with birthdays and vampires in Many Bloody Returns. The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone. They are particularly hard for lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest and saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand. Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year’s morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.

Review: "Gift Wrap" by Charlaine Harris occurs chronically after From Dead To Worse (book 8) in the Sookie Stackhouse Series and you might want to save this story for later if you plan on reading the Sookie series and aren’t caught up as there are a number of spoilers (but of course my reviews are always spoiler free). Sookie is an odd character. I remember wondering if she was mentally challenged when I started the first Sookie book because she is very forthright and in a way childlike in how she interacts with the world around her. And Sookie brings that same guilelessness to Gift Wrap when she stumbles across a wounded werewolf in her woods and brings him home on Christmas Eve. I'll admit I found the idea of the gift Sookie recieves in this story, considering the source, to be a bit creepy. But Sookie fans will enjoy this much too brief holiday tale.

Sexual Content: None

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Review: "The Haire of the Beast" by Donna Andrews, who is best known for her Meg Langslow Mystery Series, contributes probably the shortest story in this book. The first of the brother and sister pairings in this anthology has a witch agreeing to decipher a spell for her brother to make him a werewolf and get even with her ex in the process. Not a lot to say about this story considering its brevity.

Sexual Content: None

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Review: "Lucy, at Christmastime" by Simon R. Green is a Nightshade short story and its bittersweet. A werewolf remembers his first love while sitting in a bar on Christmas. I enjoyed the somber tone here and even though the ending is predictable, the writing is very good. One of my favorites in this anthology.

Sexual Content: None

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Review: "The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron

Gerry Steuben is an average guy, a PI living in Salem, Massachusetts. He’s also one of the Fangborn, an ancient family of werewolves and vampires secretly dedicated to protecting humankind from evil. When a series of increasingly violent murders is committed, Gerry and his vampire sister Claudia must confront an unimaginable supernatural threat on Christmas Eve. -Dana Cameron

“The Night Things Changed,” won the 2008 Agatha Award, the 2009 Macavity Award, and was nominated for the 2009 Anthony Award! "The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron offers the second brother and sister tale and one of the longer stories in this anthology. Don't let the innocuous title fool you, this is one of the best stories in this collection. The world building was very strong here and extremely compelling. Fangborn (werewolves and vampires) are the unsung heroes of this world seeking evil to cleanse it where possible, destroying it where not. There are some fun twists on vampire mythology here to. Vampires don't feed off of human blood, but rather bite bad people and suck evil out of them and then sun cleanses the evil from the vampire's systems. Sadly I couldn't find any evidence that this author plans to continue writing about the Fangborn.

Sexual Content: None

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Review: "The Werewolf Before Christmas" by Kat Richardson is perhaps the most festive story in this anthology as it takes place at the north pole and Santa Clause is a main character, but its also arguably the most fractured tale as it describes what happens when a werewolf eats Rudolph and must then lead Santa's sleigh. Kat Richardson takes a break from her Greywalkers series to give us a whole new (and rather macabre) spin on the origin of Santa Clause and some of our most treasured Christmas traditions.

Sexual Content: None

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Review: "Fresh Meat" by Alan Gordon is a quiet unassuming tale about a dog trainer who has an uncanny gift for communication with the animals (one guess why). But being a werewolf causes more problems then it solves when his furry secret costs him the only woman he's ever loved and, on Christmas Eve, threatens to take his life as well. The author claims to be working on a book based on this character. I liked this story, but it probably isn't the kind I'd read more of.

Sexual Content: None

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4 Responses to “Review part 1/3: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe Anthology”

  1. Dana

    Abigail,

    Thanks so much for reviewing WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE!

    I'm delighted you enjoyed my story, "The Night Things Changed." It was tremendous fun to write, and I was delighted to be asked by Charlaine and Toni.

    I had so much fun, I have continued to work in that 'verse. A short story featuring Fangborn in 1940s Boston will appear in the MWA supernatural anthology CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT (edited by Charlaine Harris, April 2010) and I hope another short story featuring Claudia will follow later in 2010 or 2011. I'm also putting the finishing touches on a novel, based on Gerry and Claudia's adventures after TNTC.

    Thanks again, and all the best to you in 2010!

    Dana Cameron
    http://www.danacameron.com

  2. Tiah

    I'm glad you said that about Sookie. I feel the same way, glad to know I'm not the only one. ;o)