Saturday, February 27, 2010

Silly Ladies: Huntress

Huntress is an introduction anthology; four longish stories by four paranormal authors, each with a tough female magical lead who fights baddies and has sex. Hopefully good sex, but whatever.

I picked it up because I hoped that Marjorie M. Liu's story "The Robber Bride" was a Dirk and Steele entry. Those are her delightfully over-plotted books where it's never enough to have a shape-shifting seven foot warrior enslaved to your Chinese puzzle box, but you also need magical metal-reading powers and ruthless tongs avenging the murder of innocents, not to mention the immortal evil magician lurking in the shadows.

The story in this book wasn't as satisfying; too much time was spent worrying on the many mighty powers the protagonist had forgotten she had; it destroyed the suspense because I just figured something amazing would float up from her memory, which is basically what happened. The relationship with the crow man never seemed real. Still, it was the most satisfying story of the bunch.

"Devil's Bargain" by Christine Warren had two of my least favorite tropes. First, the characters feel deeply in love at first sight, with pledges of eternal devotion and stuff within hours, based apparently on them both being trapped in the same short story. Second, there is the choice between Lilli's death and the enslavement and doom of the entire world. Aaron throws a hissy fit because Lilli chooses to save the world, which would have meant he'd be lonely (sshh-- she's magically saved). Uh Aaron, I think your hideous death soon afterward would have helped you deal with your feelings. Idiots.

Caitlin Kittredge's entry, "Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go," is interesting because it plays with many of the rules. Jack Winter is a guy, and there is no happy-ever-after. He has sex with the evil woman, Ava, who uses her magic to enslave him. Nina, the good one, appears to be dead at the end. Jack goes beyond rough-edged into unlikable. The story had a lot of potential, but the confusion of the action scenes kept me from caring too much. Sometimes a death/disappearance was for real, sometimes it wasn't, with the result that I didn't know whether it mattered until I didn't care anyway.

I've read an other Cin Craven story by Jenna Maclaine, and I won't be looking for more. The characters were incredibly stupid. See, Cin and her sexy husband (he's really sexy) are vampire enforcers for the vampire king. In "Sin Slayer" they go after a demon who borrows bodies; if one is killed he just hops into another one. Michael (he's the sexy one) spots him immediately, and Cin mentions that she needs some supplies to contain him magically; maybe they should wait until they are ready. Michael sexily grabs his sword and runs after the guy, so Cin tags along. They catch him, and can't do anything. So sexy-guy Michael attacks and Cin throws fireballs and they kill the host body. Oh woe, Cin's sexy husband is now possessed by an evil demon! He says mean things to her! He kisses other women! She mopes around. My eyeballs start bleeding. Even Cin calling another woman stupid doesn't cheer me up. I prayed for Buffy to show up and kill them all, but no luck.

This is not a good introduction to any of these authors. D-

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