New York Times bestselling authors Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews bring you two short stories of paranormal.
Jeaniene Frost’s story, One For the Money, features vampires Cat and Bones trying to protect a spoiled heiress with a price on her head and an undead hitman on her trail. Previously published in Death’s Excellent Vacation. Also includes the first three chapters from Jeaniene’s story in The Bite Before Christmas anthology, as well as a sneak peak at ONCE BURNED, the first novel in the new Night Prince series.
Ilona Andrews story, A Questionable Client, is a prequel to her award-winning Kate Daniels series. In a world beset by magic waves, Kate Daniels works as a mercenary. She is tired, hungry, and there is foul-smelling blood on her boots. All she wants to do is to go home, but when Mercenary Guild offers her a job she can’t refuse, she find herself protecting a man against Russian wizards. Previously published in Dark and Stormy Knights. Also includes first two chapters of FATE’S EDGE, book 3 in the Edge series, and first two chapters of Magic Grieves, a Kate Daniels novella.
Those of you who have follow us on Twitter have probably seen one or more of us raving about the works of Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost so it should come to no surprise that we were certainly willing to review this latest offering. I do want to state up front that the new material in this isn’t the two novellas, which were previous published in DEATH’S EXCELLENT VACATION (Frost) and DARK AND STORMY KNIGHTS (Andrews), but the excerpts from some of their upcoming works. I personally happen to enjoy seeing short stories from anthologies being released as separate electronic books at a later date. It certainly helps my OCD book organization, and in addition I have had several conversations with different people lately about purchasing anthologies for specific stories or authors and only reading those works. If you do this then the price you pay to read one, two or maybe three stories is pretty high. This spreading trend is a way that for some authors you can get, after a bit of a wait, the story you were looking for at a much more reasonable cost.
ONE FOR THE MONEY by Jeaniene Frost
Jeaniene Frost treats us to a short snapshot into the lives of Cat and Bones. We get to revisit a vampire hangout first introduced in HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE as well as meet up with one of the consistent supporting characters. I don’t know who Ms Frost was channeling as she developed her spoiled heiress but she certainly had to be a bodyguard’s worst nightmare. I have often wondered if people with bodyguards ever think that they might be endangering themselves by their behavior towards said bodyguards. It was blatantly obvious that this particular heiress wasn’t worried about that at all. I really liked how despite the short word count not only did we get to see Cat and Bones being themselves but Ms Frost also included character growth and some new facets to vampires.
I was looking forward to seeing the confrontation with the individual who put the price on the heiress’ head but that was handled differently then I expected and actually set the stage for some potentially significant character growth. This proved yet again there is a reason why some people write and other people (me) read.
A QUESTIONABLE CLIENT by Ilona Andrews
I had previously purchased DARK AND STORMY KNIGHTS so with this release I was able to revisit the very entertaining story of how Kate meets a rather infamous reoccurring character. I have to say that Ilona Andrews never disappoints with snappy, humorous, and informative prose. While this story could serve as the introduction to the Kate Daniels world, I think readers will enjoy it more if they are already familiar with the idiosyncrasies of Kate and her client. One of the things that impressed me the most with the writing of this novella is how Ilona Andrews was able to reach back and write Kate in the same character voice as she started the series. If you haven’t read any of the Kate Daniels stories yet then this will be a minor spoiler.
[spoiler]In real world time when this was written Kate was no longer the completely isolated uncaring mercenary but someone who had developed friendships, loyalties to more then the Mercenary Code and was living a vastly more complicated life.[/spoiler]
These authors have teamed up before to release their short stories together and just like then, I enjoyed these as well. Another thing I really like overall is the official blurb. It makes it clear that the short stories have previously been published and that it contains excerpts from future works so readers don’t think they are getting something else.
Talking about the excerpts I am just going to say that I wish I had a time machine so I could move forward and read their finished works!
I give MAGIC GRAVES an A