Wednesday, April 16, 2008
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, P. N. Elrod, ed. Contemporary fantasy.
- *** "Spellbound" by L. A. Banks.
Literally, the Hatfields and the McCoys. Present day, throw in some magic and a Romeo/Juliet romance between Odelia Hatfield and Jefferson McCoy. The pair fall in love in college, and the old men of both families are vehemently against their wedding. The grandmothers are on their side, though.
Some of the pranks that get played are pretty funny, but most of the adults acted like children, and I didn't really care about the characters.
- ***** "Something Borrowed" by Jim Butcher.
Billy and Georgia's wedding. If you've read the Dresden Files, they're first introduced in Fool Moon. They're werewolves. Because they fought against her in Summer Knight, Jenny Greenteeth is out to get them, and has kidnapped Georgia. Can Harry save both Georgia and Billy and step in for Billy's injured best man? Without insulting Georgia's stepmother? Well, no--that last is a bit beyond him.
Okay, I'm shutting up before I give away the entire story. It's a lot of fun, a nice visit with some favorite characters--the Alphas, Harry and Bob, of course, and Murphy. And there's even some sweet stuff in there about the power of true love's kiss.
- ****½ "Dead Man's Chest" by Rachel Caine.
Ordinary Cecilia Welles is about to marry romance-cover-model Ian Taylor after a whirlwind 2-month courtship, and he has a surprise for her: the wedding/honeymoon is on a pirate ship. But the ship is just a wee bit more authentic than expected, the pirate captain Lockhart has a big secret, and Ian has another surprise in store for her--murder.
I had a little trouble believing in the romance, but it was a wonderful story, and I loved the twists and turns.
- ****½ "All Shook Up" by P. N. Elrod.
Caterer Frankie Foster meets "Elvis" (Tribute Artist Elvis) at a wedding she's catering for Santiago and Trinidad. Her grandmother has joined her, because she's a huge fan of Elvis, and Gramma's thrilled. Frankie isn't, though. She can read people, and she knows that Santiago and Trinidad are all wrong for each other. But this "Elvis" is uncanny in his likeness, and there's just something about him...
I've never been an Elvis fan, though I've started developing an appreciation for him as I've gotten older. But even so, this story made me understand and believe the appeal. The touch of magic was wonderfully subtle, and had a romantic sweetness to it that's hard to pull off without being sappy--Elrod succeeded. If I were an Elvis fan, I'd have given this one 5 stars, too.
- ***½ "The Wedding of Wylda Serene" by Esther M. Friesner.
Sweet, spoiled, innocent, pampered Wylda Serene is getting married, and she wants to have her wedding at The Club. Things tend to go wrong--badly, supernaturally, wrong--with events at The Club, and everyone's trying to convince her to change her mind, but Wylda stands her ground. And the result is pretty chaotic.
I have to say, I really do not understand some of the raves this story got. It's first person, and pretty darn anonymous until near the end--maybe it belongs in a series, and I'd have recognized the narrator if I'd read the series, but it was a bit disconcerting to find that the narrator was male, after reading nearly the entire story thinking it was female. But that's actually fairly minor. My biggest complaint is the meandering style. It starts with the narrator's sister's wedding, and then Wylda Serene's birth, and childhood, and tells about things that happened at The Club--not in a nice tidy order, either, but with little bits here and there interspersed with the narrator's personal philosophies. The actual story was maybe 3 pages. What I did distill out of the jumble was clever and amusing, but I'm not remotely tempted to try this author again.
- ****½ "Charmed by the Moon" by Lori Handeland.
Werewolf hunter Jessie McQuade is about to marry professor Will Cadotte, despite her reservations about the whole idea of marriage, when she discovers a love charm. Now she's really got cold feet--how can she tell if they're really in love, or if it's just the charm? And where did the charm come from?
This is a very sweet story about the nature of true love. It's saved from becoming saccharine by the realistic and appealing characters. I particularly enjoyed Jessie's revelations about Will's feelings for her.
- **** "Tacky" by Charlaine Harris.
There's a truce between the vampires and the werewolves, but that doesn't mean that everyone's happy about the upcoming wedding between vampire Taffy and werewolf Don, including Taffy's maid of honor, Dahlia. But Dahlia's determined to make sure things go well, including security, in which she's aided by Don's best man, Todd.
This is a cute story about wedding traditions and the respective vampire and werewolf societies all filtered through Dahlia's concern for making sure everything's appropriate--that is, not "tacky." It's a cotton-candy read: fun, but not very filling.
- ****½ "A Hard Day's Night-Searcher" by Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Jeff, the squire of Dark Hunter Rafael Santiago, has written a thinly-veiled story about the Dark Hunters, and now the council has sent straight-arrow squire Celena to collect him. Rafael hides his squire, and makes a deal with Celena: if he can't make her break one of the squires' rules in a week, he'll turn Jeff over to her. Otherwise, she lets Jeff go free. Of course, the deal's not entirely for Jeff's sake: Rafael's been interested in Celena for a long time.
Again, I'm surprised at the reviews on this one--a lot of people seemed disappointed in it. Maybe it's because, while I've read several of Kenyon's books, I don't follow the series very closely, and so I didn't have expectations for it. Celena's almost fanatical devotion to duty is well-explained and she's painfully torn between duty and desire. There's a nice balance here between levity and emotional intensity.
- **** "...Or Forever Hold Your Peace" by Susan Krinard.
In a Victorian England, where supernatural Talents are the norm, a strange man appears at the wedding of Lady Emma and Lord Edward, objects to the wedding, then falls dead. The next day, Lady Emma disappears. Lady Olivia Dowling and Christopher "Kit" Meredith investigate a case that's complicated by the various supernatural talents of those involved.
This was an interesting paranormal mystery with plenty of twists and a sweet love story, but it tended to get bogged down in explanations of the world and its magics that were too complex for a story of this length. I was expecting it to be part of a series, and it is, sort of. There's one more story with Olivia and Kit solving a mystery in the anthology Murder by Magic. I admit I was disappointed--this pair and this world would make a very appealing mystery series.
Categories: Books, 3stars, 3.5stars, 4stars, 4.5stars, 5stars, ContemporaryFantasy
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