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Elrod, P.N.: Dark and Stormy Knights

Dark and Stormy Knights (2010)
Edited by: P.N. Elrod
Genre: Short Stories/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 357 (ARC)
Disclaimer: free from publisher via LibraryThing
Release Date: July 20, 2010

The premise: cheesy, but ganked from Amazon.com: They’re the ultimate defenders of humanity—modern day knights who do dark deeds for all the right reasons. In this all-star collection, nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors bring us thrilling, all-new stories of supernatural knights that are brimming with magic mystery and mayhem.

John Marcone sets aside his plans to kill Harry Dresden to go head-to-head with a cantrev lord in Jim Butcher’s "Even Hand". Kate Daniels is called upon for bodyguard duty to protect Saimen, a shifter she trusts less than the enemy in Ilona Andrews’ "A Questionable Client". Cormac must stop a killer werewolf before it attacks again on the next full moon in Carrie Vaughn’s "God’s Creatures". And in Vicki Pettersson’s "Shifting Star", Skamar gets more than she bargained for when she goes after a creature kidnapping young girls--and enlists the aid of her frustratingly sexy neighbor.

When everything’s on the line, will these knights complete their missions and live to fight again another day?</b>

My Rating

Worth the Cash: yes, I got this for free, but if I'd paid for it, I'd be happy with my purchase. My ARC did have some things that I hope get fixed in the final print run (darker ink in the author bios, fixed typos, etc), but overall, that's my only real complaint. I really thought this anthology (based on the cover and title) would be more paranormal romance stories than straight up urban fantasy, but of the nine stories, only two have a paranormal romance flavor, and even in those cases, the paranormal romance isn't the focus. So if any of you were hesitant because you're more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, never fear: you'll be FINE. For you paranormal romance readers, your reading of this anthology solely depends on how much romance you require to enjoy something and/or whether or not you're a fan of the contributing authors.

On the whole, it's a very solid anthology with stories that stand on their own two feet even if they're set in established universes. The only story set in an existing universe that kind of spoils events of that universe's series is "Shifting Star" by Vicki Pettersson. Everyone else's stories read as stand-alones and are great intros/yummy nuggets to the author's established series. Hands down, the best story was Rachel Caine's "Even a Rabbit Will Bite," which was truly a stand-alone story. That's not what made it totally awesome, but it really helped. The Andrews, Jim Butcher, Pettersson, and Vaughn stories were also good, but I'd rate the Vaughn and Andrews much higher than the Pettersson and Butcher. The Shannon K. Butcher story was not bad, and I just didn't care for the Elrod, Knight, or Saintcrow pieces. But overall, great odds for an anthology, especially considering what bad luck I have reading anthologies in urban fantasy/paranormal romance. This one's worth it for any fan of any of the contributing authors, and if you're not a fan of these authors and are just looking for a sampling to see if you'll even like them, then I have to say: it's a solid sampling of authors in the genre. Well worth the cash.

List of Contributing Authors

Ilona Andrews
Jim Butcher
Shannon K. Butcher
Rachel Caine
P.N. Elrod
Deidre Knight
Vicki Pettersson
Lilith Saintcrow
Carrie Vaughn

Review style: I'm going through each story with brief thoughts and my verdict on said piece and whether or not it makes me want to read more of the author's work, or in the cases where I'm already reading the author, how it fits into the chronology of the existing series and whether or not you'll be MAJORLY SPOILED if you read the story in this anthology out of a certain order. No spoilers, because that would be evil, so feel free to read the full review at my LJ with no nears. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)


Happy Reading!


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