Monday, July 29, 2013

{Review} Carniepunk by Various Authors

ISBN #: 978-1476714158
Page Count: 448
Copyright: July 23, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books; Original Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Rachel Caine's vampires aren't child's play, as a naive 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."

Plus nine more tales from the fantastical pens of ...

  • Delilah S. Dawson
  • Kelly Gay
  • Mark Henry
  • Hillary Jacques
  • Jackie Kessler
  • Kelly Meding
  • Allison Pang
  • Nicole Peeler
  • Jaye Wells

Mandy's Review:

Carnivals. They're full of fun, excitement, deep-fried yumminess, colorful lights, happy music, and an otherworldliness that is magical. Have you ever felt that there is a dark side to the carnivals? Do the carnies, the people working the carnivals, seem somewhat evil to you? Have you ever felt a slight uneasiness as you walk down the midway? In this anthology, fourteen authors take those uneasy feelings and twist them into stories that will have you looking at carnivals in a different light.

All of the stories are twisted and creepy, but I did notice a slight progression of the creepiness level as I read through each story. 

I cannot tell you the twist, but the story with the most unsuspecting twist was "Painted Love" by Rob Thurman. I was introduced to Rob's work when I read and reviewed his novel, All Seeing Eye. It was nice to see that his talent wasn't dampened with a short story, which has given me a heightened respect for him as an author. He is quickly becoming one of my must-read authors.

While the "Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea" was well-written and engaging, it felt as if it wasn't a part of this anthology. Yes, it incorporated the carnival and the mystical factor, but it wasn't creepy. The other stories had a darkness to them that threatened to suck you in and invade your nightmares. This one didn't. That disappointed me a little.

"A Duet with Darkness" wasn't creepy either. Although, I loved it because it gave me the story of how Melanie came to be known as the Door Maker, which I've been wanting to know since reading Allison's Abby Sinclair series for review. Thank you, Allison, for finally telling her story.

My two favorite stories in this anthology have to be Rachel Caine's "The Cold Girl" and Nicole Peeler's "The Inside Man." In both, females are the heroines and exact justice on the deserving. One story has vampires while the other has a killer clown. Both creepy in their own right. Bravo, ladies.

Overall, I think those who enjoy paranormal thrillers would likely enjoy this anthology. Halloween is right around the corner. Go grab a copy of this book and get your brain ready for all the creepiness of the upcoming holiday.

*A physical copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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