edited by P.N. Elrod
St. Martin’s Griffin
format: trade paperback
The blurb from Goodreads:
It was a dark and stormy knight, and nine dark defenders embarked upon a most perilous quest….
They’re the ultimate defenders of humanity—modern day knights who do dark deeds for all the right reasons. In this all-star collection, nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors bring us thrilling, all-new stories of supernatural knights that are brimming with magic mystery and mayhem.
John Marcone sets aside his plans to kill Harry Dresden to go head-to-head with a cantrev lord in Jim Butcher’s Even Hand. Kate Daniels is called upon for bodyguard duty to protect Saimen, a shifter she trusts less than the enemy in Ilona Andrews’ A Questionable Client. Cormac must stop a killer werewolf before it attacks again on the next full moon in Carrie Vaughn’s God’s Creatures. And in Vicki Pettersson’s Shifting Star, Skamar gets more than she bargained for when she goes after a creature kidnapping young girls—and enlists the aid of her frustratingly sexy neighbor.
When everything’s on the line, will these knights complete their missions and live to fight again another day? Find out in Dark and Stormy Knights!
The review for this anthology is split into two parts because I couldn’t be brief, and I didn’t want to make it too long. So! Part the second will be up soon. Possibly even tomorrow.
The nine stories in this anthology are ordered by last name of author, starting with Ilona Andrews’ “A Questionable Client.” Kate Daniels is hired for bodyguard detail, and her client ends up being something of an ass. Nonetheless, Kate is a professional and she’s determined to see the job through, disagreeable client or not. I really liked Kate’s portrayal here, as well as the world in which she lives–a possible future (present?) where waves of magic make technology temporarily useless. It’s a neat idea, and I’m quite curious now about the series starring Kate. What a great introduction for me to Ilona Andrews’ writing!
The second installment is Jim Butcher’s “Even Hand,” which is set in his Harry Dresden world, though the protagonist here is John Marcone. Marcone is, I understand, Dresden’s nemesis/antagonist. This makes me glad Marcone’s short story is my introduction to this world. He’s an interesting character with his own set of principals and ideas of what is or is not okay. This story, too, gave me a glimpse into the world Butcher has created for the Dresden Files, and makes me even more excited to read the series. Storm Front is much higher on my tbr list now.
Shannon K. Butcher’s “The Beacon” is next. In it we get one person’s response to the (usually hypothetical) question of “would you kill one innocent simply to save the lives of many others?” Ryder Ward has been answering “yes” to this question for many years; it is his job to do exactly that. Finally, though, he’s met that innocent who he just can’t kill. What he does next changes the course of his life and alters his destiny. I liked this short story, and it’s made me quite curious about Shannon Butcher’s other works. I’m not sure I’m interested enough in Ryder to see if this is part of a larger world, but Butcher’s writing? Definitely checking her out.
“Even a Rabbit Will Bite” by Rachel Caine is great. Lisel is cantankerous, old, and proud of both traits because they’ve allowed her to survive when others have not. She’s set to train her successor–some young twenty-something girl hand-picked by the Pope to replace Lisel as she retires. Lisel’s personality here is what captivated me. I like her. She has exactly the right amount of character growth toward the end of the story. Caine’s pacing is excellent, even if the surprise isn’t exactly surprising, it’s still well done.