Monday, July 22, 2013

CarniePunk anthology

A star-studded urban fantasy anthology featuring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, and Kevin Hearne, whose stories explore the creepy, mysterious, and, yes, sometimes magical world of traveling carnivals.

The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town. It is a place of contradictions—the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker’s seductive call. It is a place of illusion—is that woman’s beard real? How can she live locked in that watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleight of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on. One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show. To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns—or maybe some magic of one’s own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed,Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.


There is absolutely nothing typical about these carnivals! They are full of darkness, magic and warped imaginations! Taken as a collection, these short stories are all excellent examples of what makes a truly good anthology work, that common thread weaving each work together while still allowing individual voices to be heard, in this case that thread happens to be carnivals...dark, twisted carnivals where nothing is as it seems and sane people dare not tread. I've always been leery of carnivals to begin with, even when I was younger, because something about the gypsy-like quality instilled fear instead of joy. The bright, bold colors seemed artificial and let's face it, clowns are just wrong, but CarniePunk makes my childhood fear of travelling circuses seem tame. 

Here is a snapshot of a few of my favorite short stories, in no particular order:

*The Three Lives of Lydia~ This one almost broke my heart as I could literally feel Lydia's pain and heartbreak...until the very end when that sorrow became something different.

*Wheat Street~ Confession time. I've had the first Iron Druid book on my TBR pile for ages but I seldom get time to read for pleasure and review books have slowly taken over my free time. This was an excellent introduction to Kevin Hearne's writing style and voice, and I have since vowed to make time this summer to catch up on the series. So far, I loved Atticus and Oberon. They have wit, humor, sarcasm, intelligence, and most importantly...originality.

*Sweeter the Juice~perhaps one of the most disturbing short stories I've ever read, and since I made the mistake of reading before bed I was treated to an entire evening of zombies, as if I was a character in the book. Grisly, vivid and so so twisted.

*Cold Girl~ An eerie tale of choices and second chances. 

*Parlor Tricks~ Why haven't I met Gin before? Must fix that as soon as possible. 

I also really liked Duet with Darkness, Freak House and Painted Love. 


*reviewed by Anna

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