Edited by: Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner
Genre: Short Stories/Urban Fantasy
I've already said that I'm not fond of urban fantasy's trend of publishing anthologies simply because some of the authors contributing write stuff that is important to the series, which means if you don't read the story, you're going to end up a little lost.
But I made an exception for this one, because first and foremost, it has my favorite urban fantasy author, Carrie Vaughn, contributing, but there's also a contribution from Patricia Briggs and Charlaine Harris, and since I'm a fan of werewolves, I figured this one wouldn't hurt. I was a little put off by the fact it's in hardcover, but what the hell, let's give it a shot.
The premise of this anthology is lump werewolves with Christmas, which I think is a wee bit limited in regards to the latter, because many of the stories had a mystery element to them, and often the mystery was undermined because the reader already knew two factors: werewolves and Christmas.
Normally, when I review an anthology, I sit down and I jot down a response to every single story, no matter what I thought of it. I'm not going to do that this time, for reasons I'll explain later. Instead, I'm going to talk about the stories I liked and/or by the authors of series I'm already familiar with, and then I'll talk about the anthology as a whole at the end, like I'd do for any other review.
Expect to find spoilers for the stories I do review.
Wish I'd Borrowed It: I'll be honest, I lost interest during so many of these stories it wasn't even funny. Most of them were either too easy to figure out, or they were GOTCHA stories that barely had any skin on the bones, or were frankly just not very well constructed period. Some stories should've ended much sooner than they did, and some just didn't make a lick of sense. This was such a disappointment for me, because I did get this in hardcover, and I was expecting something more entertaining, to say the least. But let's face it, the premise of the anthology was limited: werewolves and Christmas. Not only does the werewolf factor take the mystery out of some of the stories, but the fact it must take place in Christmas time really limits the stories you can tell. You get the usual "truths" about Santa, or the variations on the Christmas story itself, but very little that was really memorable. I'll give honorable mentions to Donna Andrews, Alan Gordon, and J. A. Konrath for having cute/interesting premises, but unfortunately, even those stories didn't stick with me once I was done reading. To be honest, the best ones in the bunch were Carrie Vaughn's, Keri Arthur's, and Patricia Briggs's. Considering the anthology features 15 stories total, those aren't good numbers. This doesn't bode well for the pile of UF anthologies I've got waiting in the floor.
Then again, maybe I was just in a really, REALLY bad mood during the week it took me to read this.
The specific story reviews I actually wrote up are for Charlaine Harris, Keri Arthur, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs and Rob Thurman, and those contain spoilers and may be found in my personal LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner
List of All Contributors
Simon R. Green
J. A. Konrath
Toni L.P. Kelner