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I Belong


Review: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

Otherworld NightsTitle: Otherworld Nights

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Otherworld Stories (Book #3)

Publication Date: October 28, 2014

Format: Paperback, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0452298342 (Penguin/Plume)

ISBN-13: 978-0452298347 (Penguin/Plume)

Reviewed by: Steph

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: A very entertaining and solid collection of stories from the Otherworld. Fans of the series won’t want to miss it!

Opening Sentence: Talia stared at the painting.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

If you’ve read any of my other reviews of anthologies before, you know I’m not always the biggest fan of short stories, mainly because it often feels like the story is too rushed and isn’t meaty enough. To this point, the only author whose short stories I regularly enjoy was Stephen King. Now, I can add Kelley Armstrong to the list as well. While some stories did fall a little flat, none of them failed to be entertaining or felt too rushed. I think the stories really benefited from existing in a world that’s already been explained by Armstrong elsewhere, thus no world-building needed to be done in the stories. All in all, this was a highly satisfying collection, and I’ll certainly be checking out more of Armstrong’s short stories.

Demonology – 3.5 stars

I can’t remember if we ever got to meet Adam’s mom in the Otherworld series, but it was very interesting to get a story from her point of view as she struggles to figure out what’s wrong with an eight-year-old Adam. Talia felt like a very fleshed out character even though the story is very short. In the same vein, the story was well-paced and included a flashback to Talia meeting Adam’s father. My one complaint would be that I wish the story had lasted a little longer rather than ending in the way it did. Still, I really liked it.

Twilight – 5 stars

Cassandra has never been my favorite Otherworld character, so I wasn’t thrilled to have a story from her point of view. However, it hooked me from the very beginning, and I just could not put the book down until I had finished this particular story. The strongest part of this story lies in the imagery that Armstrong uses towards the end of the story, as Cassandra realizes why it is that old vampires end up dying. The reader is placed firmly in Cassandra’s shoes and can’t help but feel what she feels. This is tied for my favorite story in the collection.

Stalked – 3 stars

Elena and Clay have never been my favorite characters in the series, and this story really didn’t change my opinion. I wasn’t fond of Clay as a narrator, and I felt very frustrated with his determination to keep Elena in the dark about the mutt stalking her. She has proven time and again that she can protect herself, so there’s really no need for him to feel that she can’t handle herself. Now, I know that part of his reasoning is that he doesn’t want to ruin their honeymoon, but it still frustrated me. This one was probably my least favorite entry.

Chivalrous – 5 stars

This would be the other story that’s tied for my favorite entry. Wow. That’s really all I can say. Since I read this series over such a spread out period of time, I can’t remember if we ever got Reese’s back story or not. I have a feeling we did, and I just forgot. Either way, seeing it play out for myself was heartbreaking. I can’t really think of anything else to say. It’s just an awesome story.

Lucifer’s Daughter – 3 stars

This one follows Hope and Karl as they attend an event that Hope’s grandmother has put together. Chaos ensues of course, and Hope and Karl find themselves at the center of it, trying to stop a demon from wreaking havoc. Despite the seriousness of what’s going on, I never truly felt like matters were urgent. I knew Hope would be able to take care of things, so that took a little enjoyment out of the story for me. Still, it was entertaining.

Hidden – 4 stars

This one is a full novella rather than just a short story. Elena and Clay have taken their kids away for their first Christmas alone. While trying to enjoy their family time, evidence begins to pile up that there could be a maneater in the area, so Elena and Clay have to investigate while trying to keep their kids from being exposed to the dangers of the werewolf world. This one was very well written and kept me guessing as to what was going on. I also really enjoyed the side story involving Elena trying to figure out when to tell her children about werewolves. Despite the subject matter, it felt really true to life. When do you sit your kids down and talk to them about serious matters? Watching Elena struggle with this made me feel more connected to her than I ever have before. Very solid story.

From Russia with Love – 4 stars

This one was really short, but good. I don’t want to say much about it to avoid giving away spoilers. It’s another Elena story and takes place after the events of Thirteen.

Vanishing Act – 4 stars

How Savannah ended up being my favorite narrator, I have no idea, but I really do love it when she takes the lead. This is another story that takes place after Thirteen and follows Savannah and Adam as they try to protect a boy who’s being chased by one of the cabals. It’s nice to see how Savannah has grown up and matured throughout the series, and we get to see the culmination of that here. This was a solid story and left me feeling fully satisfied.

Notable Scene:

“I’ve always said I like a woman who can take care of herself. You could before, too, but you were a little wobbly on the self-confidence when I met you in Winslow’s playroom. You remember that? When we were prisoners together, watching each other’s back?”

“I was his prisoner. You were his employee.”

“But I still helped you, didn’t I?”

“For a chit, which I repaid. Do you remember that? You made me steal the From Hell letter while I was six months pregnant.”

“But it all worked out. You have two beautiful, smiling . . .” He looked at the twins. Both were staring at him stone-faced, Logan coldly appraising the situation, Kate tensed to pounce.

“It all worked out,” he insisted, his voice a little less certain.

“Did it? Have you forgotten that letter released zombies? One of them gave Clay a really nasty scratch.”

“But he’s fine now, right?”

“After a very long, very grueling rehabilitation. You should ask him about it sometime.”

Xavier looked like he’d rather swallow thumbtacks.

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FTC Advisory: Penguin/Plume provided me with a copy of Otherworld Nights. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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