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Review: Carniepunk

A Book of Short Stories: Carniepunk by various

Come one, come all! The Carniepunk Midway promises you every thrill and chill a traveling carnival can provide. But fear not! Urban fantasy’s biggest stars are here to guide you through this strange and dangerous world. . . .

RACHEL CAINE’s vampires aren’t child’s play, as a naïve teen discovers when her heart leads her far, far astray in “The Cold Girl.” With “Parlor Tricks,” JENNIFER ESTEP pits Gin Blanco, the Elemental Assassin, against the Wheel of Death and some dangerously creepy clowns. SEANAN McGUIRE narrates a poignant, ethereal tale of a mysterious carnival that returns to a dangerous town after twenty years in “Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea.” KEVIN HEARNE’s Iron Druid and his wisecracking Irish wolfhound discover in “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” that the impossibly wholesome sounding Kansas Wheat Festival is actually not a healthy place to hang out. With an eerie, unpredictable twist, ROB THURMAN reveals the fate of a psychopath stalking two young carnies in “Painted Love.

All of the stories in Carniepunk have now been released by the authors individually, so if anything sounds good you can pick it up.

1. Painted Love was creepy, interesting and had a cool twist ending.
2. Three Lives of Lydia had a surreal and sad feel, but was an interesting world.
3. The Demon Barker of Wheat Street was the reason I picked up the anthology. It was a great addition to the Iron Druid series. Nice small slice of life story for a Druid in training.
4. Sex changes, drugs, zombies (zombie babies), none of The Sweeter the Juice made sense or interested me. Was tempted to quit reading it often.
5. I enjoyed The Werewife, fun curse and one of those stories one never knows who to root for.
6. Cold Girl was wonderfully creepy/classic carnival horror. Good lesson and story.
7. An interesting world in A Duet With Darkness, one I'm sure is more expansive in the novels. Mostly enjoyed the world building, since the plot was fairly common.
8. I tried to read Recession of the Divine three times, did not keep my attention at all.
9. Parlor Tricks again has the problem of being thrown into a world I don't know, but the use of elemental power for everything is a fun and interesting twist. Good creepy carnie plot too.
10. The high end style carnival in Freak Show was a nice take on it. The segregated world between the supernaturals and humans is an interesting concept. And it's nice yo see some of the less popular creatures represented.
11. The Inside Man was a nice little possessed clown piece, with a small glimpse at another new world.
12. "A demon was eating my face," is the catchy and interesting opening line in A Chance in Hell. But then the story launched into a long explanation of the plot for the series and lost me. There are similarities in how the Heaven/Hell structure is set up to one of my favorite RPGs, InNomine, which I liked.
13. I've always liked the magical/exotic beast version of a carnival (like in The Last Unicorn) and Hell's Menagerie has it, plus the search for hell hound pups.
14. I love merfolk, so the title of the last story, Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid and the Open, Lonely Sea, gave me a lot of hope. A mystery with the backstory of a crazy mermaid and her half-blood daughter dose a good job of delivering. I really liked this one and think I will look for more from Seanan McGuire.

Rating: B-

2014 Reading Bingo

A book with more than 500 Pages
Storm of Swords
A Forgotten Classic
A Book that Became a Movie
The Maze Runner
A Book Published this Year
Battle of Will
A Book with a Number in the Title
A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty
A Book with Non-Human Characters
Shards of Time
A Funny Book
Let's Pretend This Never Happened
A Book by a Female Author
Highfell Grimoires
A Book with a Mystery
Carnal Sacraments
A Book with a One-Word Title
A Book of Short Stories
Free Square
The Wise Man's Fear
A Book Set on a Different Continent
A Book of Non Fiction
The Definitive Guide to Order Fulfillment and Customer Service
The First Book by a Favorite Author
If We Shadows
A book you Heard About Online
Meeting on Mars
A Best-Selling Book
A Feast for Crows
A Book Based on a True Story
A Book at the Bottom of your To Be Read Pile
A Light In The Dark
A Book Your Friend Loves
The Graveyard Book
A Book that Scares You
A Book that is More Than 10 Years Old
Ender's Game
The Second Book in a Series
Ghost Train to New Orleans
A Book with a Blue Cover
The Name of the Wind

Links in the table go to the reviews for that book. The cover links to the Amazon page.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2014 01:40 pm (UTC)
LOVE Seanan McGuire. She's on LJ. Anyway, she's got 2 main worlds and a ton of shorts.

The InCryptid world is newer, with 3 books out now and something like 8 sold to DAW. It's also lighter in some ways than the second series. She's also got a bunch of free shorts on her website set in that world, but those are about the ancestors of the 3 siblings books are following. The heroine of the first two works in a supernatural strip club and goes undercover to compete in ballroom dance competitions. The third book switches POV to her brother. The forth book is due out in March, 2015 and will also feature the brother before moving on to the younger sister in book 5.

The other one is the Toby Daye series, which is all about the Fey. October (Toby) is a half-blood PI in a world that is not kind to half-bloods. There's quite a few books in this one (and she's sold through #13), and I don't want to say any more because I'd end up spoiling something. The latest book, The Winter Long, came out a couple weeks ago.

McGuire is up there with Butcher and Hearne on my blind-buy list. They write it, I'll buy it. No questions.
Sep. 17th, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)
This sounded a lot of fun that I would definitely be interested in. I was almost afraid to read your mini thoughts on the stories, in case you were horribly disappointed by all of them. But this seems like something I'd really like, so I shall absolutely keep an eye out for it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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