[Book Review] Short stories and Shadowed Souls

Book Review: Shadowed Souls, edited by Kerrie L. Hughes & Jim Butcher

Shadowed Souls.jpgThis has been a great month for short story collections and Urban Fantasy. I just finished Patricia Briggs’ Shifting Shadows, a collection of stories from her Mercy Thompson werewolf world, when this book popped up on my radar. Shadowed Souls. Am I on a short-story-collections-that-have-‘Shadow”-in-their-title kick? Seems so!

So Shadowed Souls. Where do I start? How about with the list of authors:

Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Tanya Huff, Anton Strout, Kat Richardson, Kevin J Anderson, Lucy A. Snyder, Jim C. Hines, Erik Scott de Bie, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Rob Thurman.  Just writing out all these author names is setting my heart aflutter all over again. The stories span the entire spectrum of mood and tone, from playful banter and zany world-building, to chilling darkness and regret.

A newly minted immortal faces her first deadly mission, a succubus gets kidnapped, a vampire has to deal with a new monster on the block in her city, a former thief faces down an army of ghost unicorns, a newly dead mercenary breaks into hell to break out a prisoner, a detective goes on a hunt for an eye of newt, a sorceress tracks an irresistible premonition to a demon summoning, a healer fighting in the inhuman underbelly of Detroit, an ex-superhero haunted and hunted by demons, a grieving widow tracks down illegal love potions, a killer revisits a twelve-year-old regret.

And nothing is what it seems.

I love short story collections. In this one, I got to revisit some of my favorite authors and their fantastic worlds (Jim Butcher, Tanya Huff), and discovered some new ones (Lucy A Snyder, Jim C. Hines, Erik Scott de Bie, Kristine Kathryn Rusch).And hey, there were a couple stories that, while mildly entertaining, did little for me. Bullet dodged.

The stories also had me on the emotional roller coaster, delighted and rooting for the hero in one story, hurting for the protagonist in another. Entertained and amused, quickly followed by a loop-de-loop into psychological thriller territory.

And as an extra bonus? The foreword by Jim Butcher was a short, brilliant treat.

The unfortunate side effect of reading this great selection of stories? My-to read list has blown up exponentially. There are even a few re-reads there, because how can I not revisit these old favorites?

The best short story collections are like teaser trailers. More please.

Canary verdict:

(A great genre sampler)

Book provided by the publisher.

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