Carrying on with the weekly reviews from the short stories within the Strange Brew anthology, this week it will be: Rachel Caine and Karen Chance.
I would just like to give a big thank you to the wonderful Ellyll, who proof reads the reviews for any pesky spelling mistakes. Thank you m’dear.
Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine
Holly Caldwell is a witch, but she’s no ordinary witch. Holly’s ability is rare, which puts her amongst the unique. Holly is a resurrection witch, someone who can bring back dead people with potions and a very special kiss. Holly is called upon one day by the police. They need her help with a case and they need Holly to bring back someone very special, someone who has stolen a place within Holly’s heart. When Holly finds out Andrew is that person, will she be strong enough to let him go when the time comes?
Death Warmed Over is a darn good read. One that plays with the emotions. I admit, the first two pages I found somewhat lagging, but when the action finally starts and we meet Andrew, I was hooked. Holly has learnt the hard way not to feel empathy when she does her work- which is understandable. When she brings back people, they are not walking zombies who chew your brains and with no soul to speak of. Holly’s ability manages to bring back breathing, warm bodies with a beating heart and most importantly, a soul.
It was an interesting concept. If they looked like zombies, I don’t think it would be too hard to let them go – especially if they looked like the typical one. Yuck, not a fan of zombie related things. *shudders*
The connection between Holly and Andrew was very strong, and I felt her pain when she was reminiscing about the past – where she had to say goodbye to Andrew. I honestly didn’t know what the outcome would be in this story. I’m not going to say what the outcome is *grins* as I don’t want to spoil it, but, it’s done in a way where Rachel Caine plays with your emotions until you literally don’t know where she is leading you. The ending is sort of quick, and very rushed which spoiled it somewhat, but over-all it was a gripping read. The baddie was a surprise, which I didn’t see coming and even though the baddie was insane with grief, I could understand why they became that way. The power that resurrection witches hold is mighty and dreadful.
I give Death Warmed Over 4 out of 5.
Vegas Odds by Karen Chance
Lia is a training instructor for the War Mage Corps. She trains students to join the corp in the fight against the Dark Mages. While sleeping one night, Lia ends up getting more than she bargained for when her students decide to start a fight against her, and kill her!
So far, out of the anthology this has to be my favourite so far. I like me some magical/ass kicking in my books and from the start, there is non-stop action which flows smoothly. The fighting sequences and magical abilities used were very colourful and very deadly.
Lia is a character who I think needs to be explored more. She’s very strong in magic and in her personality. I thought she was too independent sometimes, especially when she went off on her own to find the culprit, but her reasoning is understandable. Her werewolf boyfriend, Cyrus, is very hot(!!!) and he has the protective werewolf instinct going on. There is some tension between them as Lia thinks he is holding back, and we do see how that is resolved.
Vegas Odds was a jam-packed story, and the world building was incredibly strong. I really hope that Karen brings these characters back in a new story, hopefully in a fully fledged novel in the future. So many things can be explored from these characters and from the world. There was also a mention of a werewolf pack which I want to know more about.
There is a resolution to the story regarding the attack on Lia, but again so many sub-plots have been left unexplored. So, there is one thing I would like Karen Chance to know about this short story and its characters: Can I have some more please?