Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

Otherworld Nights
(Otherworld Stories #3)
Kelley Armstrong
Release: October 28, 2014
Links Amazon Goodreads
Summary: Rare and never-before published short stories featuring fan favorites from the New York Times bestselling series.

It’s been more than ten years since Kelley Armstrong began the Otherworld series and drew legions of fans to a realm roamed by witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, and half-demons. Many of the novels have become bestselling favorites, but not all of the Otherworld adventures have been easy to find. At last, Otherworld Nights shares short stories that have previously been available only online or in obscure collections. Fans have long been clamoring for this anthology and they won’t be disappointed—they’ll find plenty of surprises are in store.
I hadn't read any of Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld books until Bitten started to air on SyFy. After the second episode I decided it just wasn't moving fast enough, so I would have to read the book. Because I have a pathological need to read a whole series at once, I went the author's website and printed out the reading order. It turns out there's A LOT more to this series than just the thirteen novels. The list with all the short stories and novellas is two pages long!

I ordered all the anthologies that the library system had, as well as the novellas that Armstrong publishes in limited batches every year. (Those novellas are illustrated and definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.) I did my best to read everything in timeline order, but I still missed several stories. Otherworld Nights is the first of a series of  three anthologies in which Armstrong is collecting all of that short fiction. It contains eight stories, two of which haven't been published before. Four of them feature Clay and Elena, three with their kids. It would get tedious to review each story, so I'm going to give you the highlights.

"Demonology" is one of the stories that hasn't appeared in a previous anthology. It tells the story of how Adam's mother Talia met his stepfather Robert Vasic, and how she found out about demons. The best part of this story is eight year old Adam. He's a half demon with the gift of fire just starting to develop his powers. It's fun to see him at that stage knowing what he'll grow up to be.

"Chivalrous" is Reese's backstory. He grew up on a farm in rural Australia where his parents were hiding out from the Australian pack who want them dead. While away a college he starts dating the alpha's daughter. When he finds out who she is he wants to get her out of the pack, but nothing goes according to his plan. This is a good story with a great twist at the end, but it's also kind of a downer.

"Lucifer's Daughter" is one of my favorites in the book. It features Hope and Karl attending a gala at the museum where they met. It celebrates the opening of an exhibit linking Hope's articles for True News with supernatural legends. The whole concept of an exhibit about tabloid journalism is hilarious, especially since we know Hope makes up most of the stories to hide the supernaturals from the human media.

Karl accidentally opens an artifact, releasing a demon who wants to prove his worth to Hope in order to gain her father's favor. Hope being worshipped as a demon princess is also hilarious, though the demon's plan to slaughter everyone at the gala is not. Hope and Karl have to get the demon back in his box before he can start killing and without getting caught by museum security. There's also a great little surprise at the end.

"Hidden" is one of the novellas that I've already read, but it's a really good one. Clay and Elena are spending Christmas at a cabin with their four year old twins. They meet a mutt in town who's acting suspicious. When Elena starts to investigate she discovers there may be a man-eater in town. So she has to try to balance investigating the mutts with spending time with her adorable but very demanding kids. The story is super-twisty with lots of surprises. But the best part is probably the kids and Elena's struggle to decide whether or not to tell them about werewolves. This one also ha a really sweet ending.

"Vanishing Act" is a new novella written for this anthology. In it Adam and Savannah try to help a teenaged teleporter being pursued by the Cabals. Some of the Cabal secrets that come out are pretty interesting and I wonder if they'll come up again in another novella. But the relationship drama they're dealing with just wasn't that compelling to me.

While there are certainly some stories in Otherworld Nights that are better than others, none of them are bad. Fans of the series will love this opportunity to revisit their favorite characters, especially Clay and Elena. I probably wouldn't recommend it for someone who hadn't started the books, though. Since these stories range from series prequel to prologue I think there would be too many spoilers.

Recommended for fans of: Clay and Elena, werewolves, witches and demons

Based on an ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


1 comment:

  1. I love Kelley Armstrong, but haven't read this yet. I've read some of the older stories, if not all of them. I can't wait to see the new ones. I love her work and this world. Can't get enough of it.


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