REVIEW: AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE EDITED BY CHARLAINE HARRIS AND TONI L. P. KELNER

 

 

REVIEW: AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE EDITED BY CHARLAINE HARRIS AND TONI L. P. KELNER 

Ilona Andrews(Goodreads Author), Thomas E. SniegoskiMike CareyJonathan Maberry(Goodreads Author), Nancy Holder (Goodreads Author), Amber Benson(Goodreads Author) , Faith Hunter (Goodreads Author), Steve Hockensmith(Goodreads Author), Donald HarstadMarjorie M. LiuRhys Bowen(Goodreads Author) 

 

Includes a never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story!

What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s story, “Playing Possum,” Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew’s entire class but finds she’s one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up.

When her guardian, Kate Daniels, sends her undercover to a school for exceptional children, teenaged Julie learns an all-new definition of “exceptional,” in New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Tests.”

For those who like fangs with their forensics, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder offers “VSI,” in which FBI agent Claire is tested as never before in a school for Vampire Scene Investigation.

And in New York Times bestselling author Thomas Sniegoski’s “The Bad Hour,” Remy Chandler and his dog Marlowe find evil unleashed in an obedience school.

You’ll need more than an apple to stave off the creatures in these and nine other stories. Remember your first lesson: resistance is fruitless!

Includes stories by: ILONA ANDREWS, AMBER BENSON, RHYS BOWEN, MIKE CAREY, CHARLAINE HARRIS, DONALD HARSTAD, STEVE HOCKENSMITH, NANCY HOLDER, FAITH HUNTER, TONI L.P. KELNER, MARJORIE LIU, JONATHAN MABERRY, THOMAS SNIEGOSKI

Apple for the Creature is the fifth anthology from the writing duo Charlaine Harris & Toni Kelner.  The group of stories share one theme – what happens when education involves a supernatural aspect? Harris & Kelner have done another  wonderful job bringing together writers from the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres – thirteen authors in all. The cross section provides a delightfully varied interpretation of the underlying theme. 

Following precedent, the book opens with a brand new story from Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series.  Several of the other stories include characters from already established series – including the Kate Daniels Series, Jane Yellowrock Series, and Calliope Reaper-Jones Series, acting as stand alones.

Several stories stand out from the rest. 

  • Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu – A deliciously dark story so unique and yet so timeless it could take place most anywhere. Liu creates a world where sympathetic magic taints the soul. A back woods crone adopts an orphaned girl and teaches her the secrets to controlling life and death. An ominous story told in a voice that is  both compelling and resigned. This story left me chilled.
  • Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey – A heartbreaking story taking a new twist on zombies.  In a post zombie apocalypse world,  a group of children are raised in solitude within a maximum security army base. The stark story is told by inquisitive Melanie who struggles to find answers to explain the austere cruelty of the life she and her classmates lead. The story shines when describing the horrible conditions Melanie endures and the devotion she shows the sympathetic teacher who reaches out to her.
  • Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews – An off shoot of the Kate Daniels Series, the story follows Julie, Kate’s ward, as she seeks to solve the disappearance of a student at a prestigious school for magical children. Perhaps my favorite story in this anthology, Andrews creates an inventive and clever world where mythology and magic come to life.

Taken a lone, the anthology is strong but when compared to the previous collection, Home Improvement, the books isn’t quite as impressive on the whole. Curiously – Harris’ story seems outdated, and poorly edited including several glaring typos.

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