Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fantasy In The City

Hi All, I have just realized how long it's been since I've posted, sorry about that.  To make it up to you, how about a rambling?  Cool.  Now that we are into the best month of the year, I thought I would start us off with some short stories of the urban variety.  A few werewolves and zombies to get this month of awesome started if you will.  The book is The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. Lansdale.  It was one of my awesome finds at my new used book store.  Shall we get on with it?  Here is a sampling of my favorite stories in the collection.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
A Bird That Whistles by Emma Bull - The first story in the collection made me happy right off the bat.  We have a typical urban farie that makes unwordly music meeting up and influencing the life of the young college crowd.  The difference in this story is that instead of your typical human/farie love story, it is actually about an odd sort of friendship between the human musician and the faire one that is not romantic in any way shape or form.  I really enjoyed this different type of fae interaction.

Julie's Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - A girl with mysterious powers "rescues" a unicorn from a tapestry.  The following adventure shows us what can happen when an ancient mythological creature gets stuck in our modern world.  This feels like a story set in a world that is ongoing, so now I'm gonna try and find the rest of the stories.

A Haunted House of Her Own by Kelley Armstrong - This slightly humorous story features a woman with an inheritance, a potentially haunted B&B, a gruesome murder...and another gruesome murder all culminating in a bit of a twist ending.  I like how this story is set up.  You think it's a potential haunted house story...and it is, just not in the way you think.  Also wifely ghost revenge is the best!

Kitty's Zombie New Year by Carrie Vaughn - A typical New Years party takes a gruesome turn when a woman with a mysterious ailment shows up at the shin-dig.  Our girl Kitty pretty much recognizes this new girl as a zombie of the voodoo slave variety and goes about trying to figure out what happened.  Turns out this poor girls ex boyfriend used a zombie powder he bought on ebay to try and turn his lover into a mindless sex slave, the result of which turns out to be actual zombification.  Perfect for a quick Halloween read.

Boobs by Suzy McKee Charnas - I love this story.  For real, seriously love this story.  Our poor heroine has been dubbed Boobs by her juvenile classmates for her development of...well boobs.  She is humiliated and upset and to make it worse she gets her period for the first time.  Our girl discovers though that instead of her period, she turns into a werewolf...so she has that going for her.  She runs around eating annoying dogs, then moving on to the creep who dubbed her Boobs.  She is now empowered and happy and this story is awesome, seriously go read it.

Gestella by Susan Palwick - So another werewolf story.  This time we have a beautiful European woman by the name of Gestella.  She met an American by the name of Jonathan who essentially tames the young werewolf.  He calls her Stella when she is human and Jessie when she is in wolf form.  He takes her back to the states where she stuns all of his friends.  The problem though is that Stella ages in dog years, seven to one for those who don't know.  As she starts to overtake Jonathan in age, he starts to lose interest and eventually does his worse.  This story is sad and heartbreaking, yet still has some great moments that make it very readable.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black - This is a short story that I think was the basis for the book.  This story however has different characters and a different story, so that made me happy 'cause I loved the book and this was like a bit of bonus.  It follows a girl who has been bitten and infected and tries to beat it, but eventually purposely succumbs to help save the sister of a friend.  She ends up a permanent resident of Coldtown and starts her own campaign against the infection.  Good times were had by all.
I felt this collection was pretty hit or miss for my own personal taste.  The stories I liked, I really really liked, the rest of them I felt suffered from a bit of esoteric existentialism.  This is a problem I sometimes run into when I read Urban Fantasy stories in their various forms is that the author's can too easily get into the urban angst, or go into borderline nonsensical.  All that being said, I did enjoy a number of the stories here, and am now going to go look up several of these authors to read more, which makes this a very successful book.  I give it 7 out 10 zombiewolfwitchghosts and recommend it to anybody trying to get into the widespread genre that is Urban Fantasy.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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