Short stories are a difficult form to master in any case, but when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy, the author has an even tougher challenge: building an entire world in just a few pages. As with any short-story collection featuring multiple authors, some of the contributions to MAGIC CITY: RECENT SPELLS, edited by Paula Guran, are more successful than others. Ultimately, I think the anthology does a great job of showcasing many different interpretations of ‘urban fantasy’ and gives readers the chance to discover something new.
With many anthologies it tends to be hit or miss depending on which short story I am reading in it. DARK DUETS has an excellent idea with authors pairing up to write some seriously dark urban fantasy tales.
KICKING IT offers intriguing glimpses into nine unique urban fantasy worlds, with sassy heroines and magical missions and enough of an adventure that I want to come back for more. Some of these series were familiar, some completely new to me, but all were entertaining and well put together.
RAGS & BONES is a gorgeously curated collection of short stories, as satisfying for the glimpses of each story’s origin story as the final product. Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall when your favorite author pitches an idea? See a little piece of art through their creative lens? As favorite authors distill classic tales to their essence, this anthology was immersive and thought provoking, a masters class in the creative process with an all star attendance list.
I have a confession to make – I’m not usually a big fan of anthologies. I’m not sure if it’s because I get annoyed that there’s not more to the story or what, but short stories and I have never gotten along. So of course I went with an anthology for my first review here at All Things Urban Fantasy. Oops. Or at least oops is what I was thinking when I first sat down to start the book. Then I started reading and that oops quickly changed in to a grin as I dived in to story after story.
Three stories feature couples facing the end of the world in the form of zombie-like vampires, ruthless leaders in post-apocalyptic worlds, and environmental disasters that imbue some with super powers while condemning others to cannibalistic insanity. All three feature prominent romances, though only one delivers a story that will leave readers hoping for survival.
Just in time for the scariest season of all, three popular paranormal authors come together to tell original tales of romance where anything can happen under a Halloween moon . . .Tempers flare and passions rise in Jocelynn Drake’s Of Monsters and Men as the local werewolf pack clashes with the Winter Court’s Wild Hunt . . .
Full disclosure: I submitted a story for this anthology that did not make the cut, so I was prepared to be extra judgmental on the story that did win over mine (“Blue” by Sayantani DasGupta). But I can’t. It was an exquisitely beautiful story. The problem is, “Blue” was only one of a handful of stories in this anthology that I actually liked.
First up was DARK SECRET by Hannah Howell, the latest story in her MacNachton Vampire series. The story was very, very similar the the previous MacNachton Vampire novella from the anthology HIGHLAND HUNGER. In both novellas, a MacNachton vampire goes on the run with a women through a forest.
In May of 2008, three unknown writers formed a critique group and website (MerryFates.com) for posting short stories and honing their craft. Fast forward to today, and these three writers are among the best and brightest YA authors writing today. Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff are what I consider to be the holy trinity of YA, and in this wonderfully imaginative anthology, it is abundantly clear why.