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.
Thoroughly enjoyed the idea of a villain who is simply seeking revenge on the entire paranormal community because he was forced to join it. No more sinister, intense reason, nothing else going on… he’s basically just cracking the shits because someone turned him against his will, so he may as well burn the whole world down because of it. Talk about a temper tantrum.
I don’t really know how I felt about this short story. I liked the idea, but since it was the first story in a collection of paranormal romance tales, I was expecting something a little more lustful and a lot less…well, pathetic. I wish I had a better word for Robin Green, but mostly I just found her pathetic. And kind of irritating. I’m hoping that I meet her again later in the series so that I can improve my opinion of her.
I normally don’t love stories that have a Christian connotation. Something about going to a Lutheran high school and being exposed to WAY too much of the faith for my comfort. But this story was the perfect amount of Christianity and paranormal fantasy. The more I read stories like this, the more my prejudices seem to be wiped away, or at least lessened.
Werewolf stories are always interesting. For such a well known mythological creature, it’s interesting to see how many different ways people can take such a common story and twist it. Even when they follow the generalised pattern, there is always something a little different and fun. Which is where this short story fits in. It was a fairly expected tale of a werewolf hunter finding, hunting and eventually killing a werewolf. It was the werewolf and where it was found that was a bit more of a shock.
Casinos are a great location for mystery and subterfuge – they’re all about tricking the senses and convincing people to stay and act against their will. The idea of a sorcerer using this against the system to meet their own ends worked really beautifully, as did the description of such a location as a maze to trap people into spending their money. After all, they’re designed to contain everything and anything that we could want so that we don’t want to leave. Contrasting this view of those who want to win with a woman who works for the system and finds it rather tedious and boring was a great approach in this short story.