I’ve recently started to thoroughly enjoy steampunk. But this was my first excursion into Dieselpunk. And what an excellent introduction this proved to be! I was enthralled, mystified and totally sunk into some of the stories in this collection. And although it might not be my favourite collection of short stories… it certainly ranks up there.
The thing that I love most about this collection is that it completely runs the gambit of supernatural and paranormal creatures. There are a number of standalone stories and tales that are part of series. But mostly, there’s just stories which feature vampires and werewolves; djinn and selkies. Some of the paranormal beings that feature in this are not ones that I normally come across. Which of course just made it all that much more exciting. You didn’t know what sort of paranormal creature would be next!
I really enjoyed this collection, but it was a little more difficult to get through. Unlike a lot of anthologies, every single one of these stories was placed in an already established world and series. However, unlike the few other books that I’ve read which have the same setup, these shorts didn’t stand by themselves very well. Actually, some were just downright confusing because I had no idea what was happening.
This is the second collection I’ve read by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. And it’s just as good, if not better than the first. Actually, it was probably better. Because I really wasn’t in the mood for the Holiday Season this year. Normally I read all sorts of nice holiday stories. I didn’t want those. But an anthology about werewolves and Christmas? That was perfect for my mood. Especially when some of the stories involve eating Rudolph and Santa.
I vaguely remember from French that il est ne means something like it isn’t. I think… it’s been a while since I studied French. But, if that is the literal translation for this story… it kind of works well. It’s a tale of Kitty at Christmas time, alone and without family, friends or pack. And another werewolf who is also completely alone. There is always something perpetuated as quite sad about such an eventuality.
This doesn’t really feel like much of a short story. More like a little segue, look into Kitty’s daily life, managing her station manager. It did help to crystalize some of the ways in which she views the world though and highlight that before or else, she is a werewolf first and sees things in terms of animal nature of instincts.
I’ve decided that I absolutely adore werewolf stories which feature gay werewolves. This is only my second. The other is the Mercedes Thompson series. There is just something that pulls me in… I’m not sure why. Probably something to do with the fact that werewolves are often used to indicate our animalistic side, which is very much associated with power and masculinity where the males are concerned… things that are not traditionally associated with gay men. Which is stupid, but that’s another soapbox for another day. The point is… I loved this.
As a pre-story to a series about a woman who is a werewolf, I was kind of surprised to find a story about a young werewolf hunter. One that starts with the boy killing a werewolf in revenge for his father’s death and continues with his journey for revenge. Yet, I’m pretty sure that this is an origins story, one that will make a lot more sense when I meet Cormac and Bill in the full-length novels.
I don’t know much about the Spanish settlement of the Americas. Actually, Zorro is my only exposure to such a time period and theme. Which of course meant that this short story fascinated me from the outset. Especially since Ricardo was a particularly noble and honourable lead. One who was thrown into the world of the paranormal incredibly unwillingly.
I only recognised that this was about Henry the VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon because I read Falling Pomegranate Seeds. Which is amazing (read it). But, since I’m not all that well versed and, quite frankly, interested in Tudor History, I wouldn’t have really clicked as to what this story was actually about. Having said that, even if I hadn’t. I still would have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s obviously a story about a historical figure, and it has a beautiful dose of the paranormal. Both things which always draw me in. Actually, I’m finding that the short stories in the lead up to Kitty and the Midnight Hour are so far beautifully able to mention historical moments that are quite well known. But in a oh so subtle way.