Book Review: Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner’s Games Creatures Play

Posted November 29, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner’s Games Creatures PlayGames Creatures Play by Brandon Sanderson, Brendan DuBois, Caitlin Kittredge, Charlaine Harris, Dana Cameron, Ellen Kushner, Jan Burke, Joe R. Lansdale, Laura Lippman, Mercedes Lackey, Scott Sigler, Seanan McGuire, Toni L.P. Kelner, William Kent Krueger
is a Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
in the , Harper Connelly #xx.5, , SERRAted Edge #xx.5, series.
This edition was published by Ace Books on November 6, 2014 and has 368 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon..

five-stars

An anthology of 15 short stories revolving around the theme of games — and there’s some mighty fine stretching in here! There are also some mighty fine authors who are new to me in here as well. That TBR of my looks to be fallin’ over…aiyeeee…

Series:

“Bell, Book, and Candlepin” (Allaway Kith #2)
“Jammed” (Incryptid #2.3)
“False Knight on the Road” (SERRAted Edge #xx.5)
“In the Blue Hereafter” (Sookie Stackhouse #13.xx and Harper Connelly #xx.5)

The Stories

Charlaine Harris‘ “In the Blue Hereafter” finds a confused Manfredo Bernardo set a task by his dead psychic grandmother to go to Bon Temps for a softball game. She never has told him outright what he’s expected to accomplish, so it’s a game of guess as Manfred tries to figure it out. A game that’s helped when he meets the enigmatic Sookie Stackhouse.

William Kent Krueger‘s “Hide and Seek” was nasty…just nasty as he leads you up the garden path with subtle hints about the truth behind the game of hide-and-seek. It’s a truth you don’t want to acknowledge with an ending that will horrify you.

Krueger left me in a bit of a limbo with that comment Cameron makes that’s almost as horrifying as the buyers at the end.

Jan Burke‘s “Stepping into the Dead Zone” is a tale about military kids and bullies and the rules of fitting into a new school. It’s practical advice mixed up with a confusing tale of changelings and children who go missing.

Joe R. Lansdale‘s “Dead on the Bones” is a sad Southern tale of betrayal and using the dead for amusement.

Caitlin Kittredge‘s “The Devil Went Down to Boston” makes me think of Dennis Lehane with his working class neighborhoods and tough-talkin’ characters. She starts with making me hate one character and then leaves me wondering if I should before she progresses on to the real baddie. For a short story, Kittredge packs a punch with an entire story. It’s got the feel of a start for a series, one I want to read, even if Kittredge does have a backward way of writing. I do feel as though there’s a loose thread in here what with Doyle’s hope and Ellie’s avoidance. And I do have to wonder what’s keeping Ellie in Boston.

Brendan DuBois‘ “On the Playing Fields of Blood” is a grim bargain the town of New Salem has made with a group of Native Americans. It’s a horror story of vengeance and should make you run any time you see a mist rise up and stretch its fingers out for you.

Dana Cameron‘s “The God’s Games” was an unexpected trip back in history to the Greek Olympics with a different take on werewolves, oracles, and gods. Cameron has some interesting limitations on her characters in this and a very contemporary feel for the action in this. I felt as though the events were real.

Scott Sigler‘s “The Case of the Haunted Safeway” will crack you up with its trashy family and its downhome philosophy as it confronts unexpected bigotry in this ghostly exorcism. I have got to put Sigler on my TBR! And hope he turns the Hunterson family into a series.

Ellen Kushner‘s “Prise de Fer” was most unexpected with this bout of fencing in a private school in France. I enjoyed all but the end, which was most unsatisfactory. Nothing was resolved. The entire short was nothing but a blip in Isabelle Blumberg’s life. I do, however, want to read more Kushner.

Brandon Sanderson‘s “Dreamer” will take you by the throat and make your heart hammer as the tension mounts and your fear almost takes over. It’s the ending that will kill ya. It made me so mad, I wanted to leap in and strangle someone. Sanderson was brilliant in this.

Mercedes Lackey‘s “False Knight on the Road” was a pip. A spine-chilling tale of temptation and back road racing as Billy Ray Johnson finally figures out what he’s done and the trouble he’s in. That ending was a pip and left me both relieved…and annoyed, although not at Lackey, lol.

Seanan McGuire‘s “Jammed” got my hopes raised as I finally got to read about the nasty, vicious Antimony Price. She’s not as bad as Verity or Alex made her out to be, although I did crack up at Antimony’s comment about roller derby jammin’ calming her down! This short is more about Antimony and her teammates working together to take down a supernatural murderer.

Adam-Troy Castro‘s “Hide and Shriek” is definitely the weirdest story. It’s the extremely bored Elder Gods with the most gawdawful names, habits, and appearances, and the extremes to which they’ll go that Castro delivers in a deadpan, offhand manner. The best of this story was the quirky professor at the end and his extremely practical responses to the pneumatic women’s attempts to entice him.

Laura Lippman‘s “Ice” is a sad tale of sibling abuse, lies, and drowning on Martin Luther King Day. It’s a folk tale that has made the rounds for years, and Mickey is about to discover how true it is.

Toni L.P. Kelner‘s “Bell, Book, and Candlepin” is another that I’m hoping is part of a series — or will be *hope, hope, hope??* It features a still-learning witch in college with her dead-end job that provides her own calm…hmmm, reminds me of Antimony and her roller derby…with a wall of sound. A fun read that’s reminded me that I’ve enjoyed past Kelner short stories, and it’s about time I started in on her full-length novels, dagnabbit!

The Cover and Title

The cover smacks you over the head with its bright greens in the sky, lightning zapping out to tap that dart tip the skeleton hand is holding in a battle between a hairy-clawed paw wielding a lacrosse stick versus a tentacle wrapped around a baseball bat, all sprouting up from a red and black checkerboard encasing the earth. The title is in a bright yellow between the arms above and a pair of dice below. Do ye fancy your luck in these games?

The title is a good one, for these are the Games Creatures Play — and I ain’t excludin’ the human creatures!

five-stars

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