Friday, 30 August 2013

Review: An Apple for the Creature - Anthology

What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s story, "Playing Possum," Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew's entire class but finds she's one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up.

When her guardian, Kate Daniels, sends her undercover to a school for exceptional children, teenaged Julie learns an all-new definition of "exceptional," in New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews's "Magic Tests."

For those who like fangs with their forensics, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder offers "VSI," in which FBI agent Claire is tested as never before in a school for Vampire Scene Investigation.

And in New York Times bestselling author Thomas Sniegoski's "The Bad Hour," Remy Chandler and his dog Marlowe find evil unleashed in an obedience school.

You'll need more than an apple to stave off the creatures in these and nine other stories. Remember your first lesson: resistance is fruitless!

Includes stories by: ILONA ANDREWS, AMBER BENSON, RHYS BOWEN, MIKE CAREY, CHARLAINE HARRIS, DONALD HARSTAD, STEVE HOCKENSMITH, NANCY HOLDER, FAITH HUNTER, TONI L.P. KELNER, MARJORIE LIU, JONATHAN MABERRY, THOMAS SNIEGOSKI

I thought I'd include a list of all of the short stories included in this anthology for your information:
  1. Playing Possum - Charlaine Harris (Part of the Sookie Stackhouse Series)
  2. Spellcaster 2.0 - Jonathan Maberry
  3. Academy Field Trip - Donald Harstad
  4. Sympathy for the Bones - Marjorie M. Liu
  5. Low School - Rhys Bowen
  6. Callie Meet Happy - Amber Benson (Part of the Calliope Reaper-Jones Series)
  7. Iphigenia in Aulis - Mike Carey
  8. Golden Delicious - Faith Hunter (Part of the Jane Yellowrock Series)
  9. Magic Tests - Ilona Andrews (Part of the Kate Daniels Series)
  10. An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism - Steve Hockensmith
  11. VIS - Nancy Holder
  12. The Bad Hour - Thomas E. Sniegoski (Part of the Remy Chandler Series)
  13. Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost - Toni L.P. Kelner
Review:
An Apple for the Creature is an anthology containing 13 school related stories that would probably make great holiday reading around Halloween. As with most anthologies I found the quality of the stories was a bit hit and miss, there were several I enjoyed but I doubt I'll read the book again. In fact, I think the only story I would go out of my way to re-read is Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews which is the story I bought the anthology for in the first place. I'll talk more about that one in a minute but I just want to mention a couple of the other stories first.

Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu was a creepy tale about a girl who has been raised by a witch and is learning to curse people using voodoo, I enjoyed the story and if I hadn't already been a fan of the author it would have definitely made me check out some of her other books. The other story I really enjoyed was Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter. I've had the Jane Yellowrock series on my wish list for a while now and after reading that story I'll be bumping it up the list. I liked the humour of the story and I'm very interested to find out more about the world the author has created. I'm hoping that Rick and the characters who make up his detective team are major players in the series because I really liked them. Some of the other stories were OK reads but none of them particularly stand out enough for me to rave about them.

I already mentioned that I only really wanted to read this for the Ilona Andrews story Magic Tests and I have to say that was the best part of the book. It was worth buying just for this story alone and I'll definitely pick it up again when I do my next Kate Daniels re-read. I've always quite liked Julie's character, she can be a little annoying at times but I think she is a fairly typical teenager in that regard, and it was nice to see a story from her point of view. Although this story isn't essential reading as part of the series because it doesn't really effect the ongoing story arc it was nice to get to know Julie a bit better and I'd actually like to see more from her POV in the future. We've all seen how much Julie hates the boarding school that Kate sent her to and now she's home and living in the Keep she seems to think she can get away without going to school at all. Kate has other plans for her though and she has a very clever way of getting Julie to go along with them. We are introduced to some great new characters but the one I was most excited about seeing again was Yu Fong (you may remember him from Dali's short story Magic Dreams). I was already hoping he'd end up being a major character in the series and now I'm thinking he's more likely to re-appear thanks to his friendship with Julie. I loved getting to see Julie grow up a bit and actually work out a way to use her ability to help someone else and I'd definitely like to see her get her own book or spin off series in the future.

I'd say if you're a huge fan of the Kate Daniels series like I am then it's worth buying the anthology just for Magic Tests but otherwise you might want to consider borrowing it from the library and saving yourself the money.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

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