Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Enthralled

Various authors
Paranormal Young Adult
443 Pages
Available Now
Received at BEA

THE STORY (from Amazon)
A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new landscapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

Enthralled is a truly beautiful collection of short stories, a veritable buffet of paranormal entities with varying mythologies and gloriously crafted worlds that keeps us flipping the pages with unnatural speed and groaning outwardly upon reaching concluding pages of each individual tale. Some stories are snippets set in the world of an already existing series–granting us quick glimpses through the eyes of a secondary character and gifting us a few extra blissful minutes with some familiar favorites. Other tales are completely new, many of them feeling complex and nuanced despite the short page length, leaving us lingering on the last page wishing and hoping the author might decide to make the short we’ve just read a prequel to a new full-length supernatural series.

Red Run by Kami Garcia
At a depressingly short 20 pages, Red Run gives us a quick, dark ghost story that proves with potentially disastrous consequences how things are not always as they seem. Ms Garcia manages to craft characters who come to life for those brief moments we spend with them, creating a complete story that more than satisfies our need for characters who elicit an emotional response as well as a world we can see clearly in our minds despite not having chapters upon chapters establishing and describing every detail for us.

Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready
Perhaps my favorite of them all, Bridge is written in verse and returns us to the world of Shade and Shift, allowing us all-too briefly into the mind of Logan after he’s been a ghost for 233 days. While those who aren’t familiar with the series may not find this contribution to the anthology as poignant and moving as those who are familiar every detail of Logan’s history and his time with Aura, Ms. Smith-Ready still does a fantastic job of summarizing events to create a context for Logan’s need to speak with older brother Michael. Logan is his typical self, managing to be incredibly self-centered and frankly a bit of an asshole (his own words), but, as with the novels themselves, there are moments where he becomes serious and genuine, and he plays the strings of our hearts with the same consummate skill he did his guitar in life.

Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting
One of the darkest stories in the anthology, Skin Contact details the tragic past of Rafe, a character we meet in the second installment of her Body Finder series but about whom we know very little. In this tale she provides us an unobstructed view of the event that shaped the man he's become, shining a rather brutal light on someone we’ve seen previously only in shadow, and illuminating the infliction of emotional scars and irreversible damage on a young man we won’t be able to keep from seeing differently from this point onward.

The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Ms. Barnes’s story is one of the ones that exists outside an already created world, giving us something fresh and new and altogether intriguing. Due to the short length, characters and events are introduced quickly and we literally hit the ground running from the very first page, however, at no point do things seem rushed, and somehow Ms. Barnes manages to make us feel as though we know both Jess and Kissy on a far deeper level than we might have believed possible given our initial meeting just pages before. The end of this tale is actually a beginning–though not in a frustrating way–and we can’t help but hope she might add Jess and Kissy to her list of works in progress so that we may continue on in a world with characters who left an impression almost instantaneously.

Overall Rating: 4/5


  1. I've had this book for ages...why have I still not read it?! Sounds like this is definitely among the better short story collections out there. They are hit or miss for me, but it's always a pleasure to find a really good one to sink your teeth into. :) Nicely reviewed, Jenny.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  2. This sound interesting ,,, you know when I was in the bookshop last week I run in this book but didn't pick it up ,,, and now I feel like "why didn't I?" Great review :)

  3. This is one of those books I probably won't get round to unless someone puts it in my hand. I am terrible at getting short stories read! But this sounds amazing though - I'm glad the stories you mentioned were great to read. :)

  4. Wendy - I sat on this one for a while too, but I'm glad I finally got to it because I really enjoyed all the stories:)

    Lilly - I do that all the time, hopefully you can grab that the next time you go!

    Sam - I'm usually drag my feet with short stories too, but there are some really great ones in this collection:)

  5. I'm not usually one for anthologies, but I bought this one for Skin Contact, and I really enjoyed it overall. The Third Kind was my favourite story - I'd love to see a book with those characters! Just loved it!

    I had hoped that finding out about Rafe and his background story would make me like him more when it came to reading The Last Echo, but no, it didn't! lol!

  6. I don't usually read anthologies. I had no idea this one was. I am curious about it though.

  7. I am not a big fan of anthologies but I just rememberd that I grabbed a copy of this. It sounds great. I love Kami Garcia, Link and Ethan are two of my favs. I really want to read jeri smith ready. Oh crap! I just need to dig this out and find time, Hey, maybe being in a padded cell with a bunch of books might be nice for awhile...have a great weekend Jenny.

  8. This is the third time I'm trying post a comment since this morning! ARGH. Ok, now that's out of my system...

    I would definitely pick this one up just to learn more about Rafe. I guessed he had a horrible past and I can't wait to read more about him in Body Finder 3. Let's just hope there's no love triangle. O.o

    As for Logan, I really can't muster up any sympathy for him. The guy's a douche. The Scottish hotie is so much better

  9. Ooh, I've never picked up an anthology before and I'm a huge fan of paranormal. This may just be for me!

  10. Leanna - I really enjoyed it too. I would love for Jennifer to continue her short story!

    Jennifer - I don't read many either, but this one has some of my favorite authors in it so I couldn't pass it up:)

    Heidi - I'm all for a padded cell with will be cozy ;-)

    Rummanah - I know. Blogger was being difficult this morning, it kept giving me error messages everywhere. I'm really hoping for no love triangle in the Last Echo too! And Logan can definitely be a douche, but sometimes he gets to me:)

    Tawni - It sounds like it would definitely be for you!

  11. Sounds like I would like some of them :) but then that is always the case with me and anthologies

  12. I'm a huge fan of the BC series, but I've always been curious about how the authors would do writing on their own, so that short story by Kami Garcia is really piquing my interest.

    And I've been desperate to try reading a story written in verse for a long time now. Seems like this anthology really does have something for everyone.

    Happy Weekend, Ms. Snark. :)

  13. This sounds like a perfect way for me to sample these authors!

  14. Oh man! Look at those authors! I so want to read this one and some of those are authors I have on the tbr and haven't gotten to yet. Yep, this one is going on the wishlist. I do like a good anthology!

  15. I'm not an anthology girl, but I AM a Rachel Vincent/Jeri Smith-Ready/Kimberly Derting/JLynn Barnes girl so that's the biggest reason why this book is on my TBR list! :) That and the fact that you said Jeri's story goes into the mind of Logan (WHO I ADORE!)! I'm so excited to read Shine and it feels a million miles away, so maybe this can help fill my craving of one of the COOLEST worlds in YA! ;)

    Beautiful review, Jenny! This seems like the perfect way to remind us why we love all of these authors so much! :) <3

  16. I LOVED The Third Kind--I'd like to see her develop that into a strong series. It would make a fantastic urban fantasy YA. Oh, and Red Run--yes. Great story. While I'm not usually a short story fan, I REALLY liked this book!

  17. OOh, I need to read this one soon. I have it, but haven't started it. Sounds like I need to.


  18. Great review! I've only read the first story when I first bought it but I should really go back and read the whole book.

  19. OMG! Now I have to read this book ASAP! Those are some good stories! Thanks so much for sharing Jenny :)

  20. I got this one ages ago but only read the first one. Maybe this is what I'll read next week since its spring break and I wont be able to read a lot. Glad you liked it!

  21. I am really not such a big fan of Anthologies ... But, this one kept me thinking I should give it a try..

    P.S.: I totally remember the line and how you got this book, and Pushy for that matter LOOL!

  22. This book was my first Anthology ever. It's not that I hated it, but I found out what I expected: I'm not the type of girl who loves short stories. I like details and development in a story and I miss that in short stories. There were a couple of stories I liked, though, but most of them just lacked depth in my humble opinion.

  23. Ah! I had no idea that the stories you listed were in this book. I actually have the book on my shelf, but haven't picked it up yet. If I knew a story about Rafe and Logan had been included, I definitely would have picked it up sooner. :) I must boost this up on my to-read list!

  24. I've only read a few stories from this but so far it's one of the better anthologies I've read. Bridge is my favorite at the moment and was one of my favorites stories of last year.

  25. This sounds great !! I've actually never read an anthology .. I really look forward to the release of Foretold (an anthology that will include a short story that I'm dying to read written by Richelle Mead).
    Fabulous review Jenny :) !

  26. What? No mention of the Kelley Armstong short? I loooooved it. Seriously, I'll never be able to get enough of Chloe and Derek.

  27. In all honesty I am pretty on the fence about Kami Garcia's and JLB's series, so I was kinda hesitant to read their short stories, but having read your mini reviews I am now really excited to... AND I DIDN'T KNOW THAT CHLOE AND DEREK HAD THEIR OWN STORY! Oh gosh, I am totally kicking myself for having taken so long to read this book (I have seriously had it for 6+ months).

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