Sunday, August 28, 2011

Early Review of Anthology Supernatural

Title: Supernatural
Authors: Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Jacquelyn Frank & G.A. Aiken
Publisher: Zebra Books
Formats: Mass Market Paperback & eBook
Source: Purchased
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

My trip to Target on Friday night was a fruitful one, as I snagged a couple of books that aren’t supposed to be released until this coming Tuesday. Supernatural is one of those , and I was excited to see it on the shelves, because I didn’t know the authors were releasing this anthology until I read a review at The Fiction Vixen last week. I’ve read and enjoyed books by all these authors, but my favorites are easily Larissa Ione and G.A. Aiken, and their stories in this collection are also my favorites. I feel like this is one of the stronger anthologies I’ve seen lately, as all four of the novellas are well done.

My only criticism of the collection as a whole is of the cover. When I saw the early review of Supernatural at Fiction Vixen, I assumed that the book was either self-published or only being released in eBook form, because the cover is NOT attractive. I was stunned (but in a good way) when I saw in Target in mass market paperback. Hopefully the cover won’t turn you off, because these four authors have written engaging novellas that fit in nicely with their different series.

Larissa Ione “Vampire Fight Club” Set in the world of Ione’s Demonica and Lords of Deliverance series, this is my overwhelming favorite of the stories. Nathan Sabine is a daywalker, a vampire who can walk in the sun. He runs Gladius, a blood arena for supernaturals, and when a hyena shifter dies in the arena, Nate thinks nothing of it. Unfortunately for him, the hyena survives his trip to Underground General long enough to tell his sister Vladlena (Lena) Paskelkov the name of the vampire club Thirst, the front for Gladius. Lena goes undercover at the club to avenge her brother, but she and Nate find themselves fighting their attraction to one another. The first few pages into the novella I wasn’t sure how it fit into Ione’s series, but that was quickly resolved and the rest was smooth sailing. Ione mentions in a short note to the reader that we’ll learn more about Nate’s Daywalker state in future Lords of Deliverance books. I can’t wait!
Alexandra Ivy “Darkness Eternal” I’ve read several of Ivy’s books in the Guardians of Eternity series, but it’s been a while and I’m not caught up on the series, so this novella was at times a bit difficult to follow. However, I enjoyed the story of Kata, trapped in a dark room for over 200 years by her evil vampire sister Marika. Kata’s daughter, Laylah, has convinced the vampires that Kata must be rescued, and the vampire Uriel does just that. When Uriel finds Kata, they learn that the two will need to travel to hell to save her life. While Kata has no desire to spend time with a vampire after being imprisoned by one for centuries, her time with Uriel convinces her otherwise. This was the most convoluted of the novellas, no doubt because I’m a little out of touch with the series.  
Jacquelyn Frank “Kane” This novella takes place at the same time as Frank’s first book in the Nightwalkers series, Jacob, my favorite in the series. Unlike Ivy’s novella, however, you can easily follow along without having read any of the series. Kane is a mind demon, and Jacob’s younger brother. When Kane begins to stalk a human woman, Corrine, and then uses his abilities to manipulate minds to talk to her, demon enforcer Jacob intervenes, as demons are strictly forbidden from touching humans. Unfortunately, it turns out that Corrine is part druid, and Kane’s touch has begun the imprinting process, which requires that the two remain in contact to exchange energy. Kane’s enforced absence nearly kills her, but the two are reunited in time to save her life. My only complaint about this novella is that almost the entire story takes place in bed, with the two conversing. It drags a bit, but if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll enjoy learning how Kane and Corrine met.
G.A. Aiken “Dragon on Top” Shelly Laurenston writes about dragon shifters under the pseudonym G.A. Aiken, and her books always crack me up. This novella focuses on dragon shifter Ghleanna the Decimator, sister to Bercelak the Black. As a member of the Cadwaladr clan, Ghleanna is majorly kick-ass, but she’s recently been dumped by a less than worthy dragon, and she’s been wallowing in self-pity ever since. When Ghleanna’s sister-in-law, the queen of the Fire Dragons, decides to send negotiator Bram to arrange a treaty with the Sand Dragons, she decides that Ghleanna should accompany him. Bram has had a crush on Ghleanna for centuries, but she barely notices him, and she’s not thrilled to be babysitting another royal dragon. Bram manages to win her over, though, and the two make an interesting pair. You don’t usually see a beta male in the role of the hero, but Bram is a great example of one and a real sweetheart. Ghleanna is pretty rough and tumble, and the interaction between her and her brothers is a hoot. I think you can read this story without having read any of the books in the series, but you’ll definitely enjoy it more if you have.

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