Monday, March 24, 2008

On the Prowl

Title: On the Prowl (anthology)
Author(s): Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, Sunny
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Dark Fantasy

On the Prowl is an anthology of paranormal romance novellas. Like most anthologies, there is a mix of the good and the bad. I tend to have a love/hate relationship when it comes to this format. I often feel as though I am getting stuck with someones second rate short story that the publishing house stuck in there in order to fulfill a contract obligation. Other times, I have been delighted with discovering a new-to-me author nestled in amongst those who are more established. The novellas usually seem to strike a balance with one another so that, in the end, I put the book down feeling as though the book was worth the purchase. I'm not sure I can say that with On the Prowl. Let me break it all down for you:

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
The werewolf Anna finds a new sense of self when the son of the werewolf king come to town to quell unrest in the Chicago pack- and inspires a power in Anna that she's never felt before.

The synopsis is mostly accurate. Charles is the son of the werewolf in charge of all of the packs in North America. Bran is basically like the president of the werewolf clans. There is a deeply developed hierarchy and political structure to the world that Patricia Briggs has created. Charles comes to Chicago by order of his father, the Marrok, to investigate an issue that was brought up the the first of the Mercy Thompson novels, Moon Called. While connected to an existing series, and the springboard for another, this novella was a strong stand alone story. I must confess, I bought the book purely so that I could read Alpha and Omega. It did not disappoint. I loved it. Actually, I may need to reread it tonight!

Inhuman by Eileen Wilks
Kai has a secret gift of sensing thoughts and desires. What she senses in her neighbor, Nathan, could be dangerous. Because he has a secret gift, too, and it's about to be let loose.

This was my first foray into the writings of Ms. Wilks. It was entertaining. I felt that it was a bit unfair to have put it in the book directly following the Briggs novella. There was no way that it would live up to Alpha and Omega. That being said, I enjoyed the chemistry between Kai and Nathan. I wanted to learn more about them. The first half to two thirds of the story was the strongest (character building and crime solving.) I wasn't entirely in love with the ending. I'm not sure if the ending was the part that most pulled on the universe Wilks had developed in her World of Lupi series. Apparently, Kai and Nathan appear in the recent installment of the aforementioned series, but only in a small capacity. If they were given their own book I would be all over it. I just don't know that I am sold enough on her writing to read the four previous books in order to catch glimpses of these two folks.

Buying Trouble by Karen Chance
In a New York auction house, a Lord of the Fey crosses paths with a fiery redheaded mage named Claire. But in this strange underground society, the rarity up for sale is Claire herself.

The premise of this novella intrigued me. The potential is huge! The story started off well, but Ms. Chance had enough plot ideas to fill at least one, if not two, full books. I wanted to reign in the story, there was just too much going on. It was decently written, but burdened down by an excess of action. As a reader I simply felt overwhelmed. I did not hate it, but it did not inspire love, either.

Mona Lisa Betwining by Sunny
Among the children of the moon, Mona Lisa is of a Mixed blood- part Monere, part human, and destined to be alone. Then she meets a man who could be her salvation- or her downfall.

I love to read. If not, why would I be here? I have read good books, awful books, and everything in between. What I rarely do is put down a book without finishing it. But GOOD GOD! this was awful!!! I don't think I was even able to finish the fist chapter. Where was this woman's editor? Seriously! If she did, in fact, have an editor she needs to fire them. Acuter? He "crammed" her? What??!!!?!?! The grammar was atrocious. Her word choices and the voice she has developed left me wanting to scream. I have read fanfic that was written far better than this. FAR better. I peeked at a sex scene (which I hear is overabundant) and cringed. You know, I am planning a bachelorette party for this weekend. I was going to write a Mad Libs for some entertainment. The sex scenes in this novella are so bad, I just might use one of them for the Mad Libs. Come on, ridiculous sex made hilarious through random word replacement? I think we may be able to make improvements that Sunny's editor was not able to effect.

Grade: The entire anthology- C Patricia Briggs' novella on its own- A (The last story just killed my rating of the whole thing. Just horrid!!!)


Sarai said...

I have never liked Sunny's writing she is too much of a Laurell Hamilton knock off for me. I think she tried too hard to make it like that series but lost her way.
Other than that I might have to borrow the book from the library simple for the Patricia Briggs story. I love her writing and she is coming out with a full length novel soon I wonder if it is based of the world she created with Mercy or not?

Shannon said...

sarai- The upcoming release from Patricia Briggs is a new series starring the characters from the short story in this anthology, Charles and Anna. I am so glad that we are getting a story for Charles. He is by far the most unique of all the werewolves with his crazy heritage. While the new series is (obviously) set in the same world as the Mercy books, she has introduced a new element to the werewolf mythology. I am hoprful that we will learn more about Bran and the other wolves we have met. I am SO excited to read this. I am not going to be patient while I wait!

Christine said...

Hi Shannon!
I've had this anthology in my TBR pile for a while and just haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm most interested in Patricia Briggs' contribution, so I'm glad to see you give that story an A.

... so many books, so little time... *sigh*