Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong

Publication Date: 9/15/2015

Rating: 4. 5 Stars

Official Blurb:

Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy's most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan.

With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.

- Rakshashi (standalone)
- Kat (Darkest Powers universe, non-series narrator)
- A Haunted House of Her Own (standalone)
- Learning Curve (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
- The Screams of Dragons (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
- The Kitsune’s Nine Tales (Age of Legends universe, non-series narrator)
- Last Stand (standalone)
- Bamboozled (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- Branded (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- The List (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
- Young Bloods (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- The Door (standalone, original to this collection)
- Dead Flowers by a Roadside (standalone)
- Suffer the Children (standalone)
- The Collector (standalone)
- Gabriel’s Gargoyles (Cainsville universe, Gabriel)
- Harbinger (standalone)
- V Plates (Otherworld universe, Nick)
- Life Sentence (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- Plan B (standalone)
- The Hunt (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
- Dead to Me (standalone)
- Devil May Care (Cainsville universe, Patrick, original to this collection)

As much as I would have liked to review every single short story, I don’t want my review to be that long.  So, I decided to make it a short and sweet analysis of the collection as whole. Kelley Armstrong has long been one of my favorite PNR/UF writers. Her Otherworld series is one of the first PNR/UF series that was able to keep my attention throughout all 13 books.  Her Cainesville series is quickly rising on my new favorite series list. That being said, The Led Astray collection is marvelous. Readers who are new to Kelley as an author will be able to get a sense of her writing style and stories before reading a full length novel.  Longtime fans can revisit old fictional friends in the newer shorts.  The two never before released shorts are insights into characters we know, but haven’t been given a chance to see why they tick the way they do. If I had to pick a favorite story from this collection, I would have to say it is Devil May Care. As I previously mentioned, Cainesville is becoming one of my favorite series. To be able to learn more about Patrick without having the main characters distracting me was a great, quick read.  There are a few standalone stories in this collection and they are good. But, I’ll admit I came for the Otherworld and Cainesville stories and I didn’t leave disappoint. 

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