Thursday, February 11, 2010

NEVER AFTER by Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu & Sharon Shinn

Publisher Jove Books
Date published October 2009
ISBN 978-0-515-14728-5
Urban Fantasy
Trade Paperback
Obtained via: Library
Reviewed by Dawn

Four stories about the bonds of love, marriage and more are in NEVER AFTER. This time a “Faerie Tale Wedding” has more than one meaning when these four women show the men what they are made of.

In Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Can He Bake A Cherry Pie?” a princess is determined to not wed the odious man her father picks and takes her destiny in hand by trying to rescue a legendary prince kept captive by a witch.

This was the kick-off to the four stories and Ms. Hamilton delivers a wonderful cast of characters to get you in the mood. I loved the way she captured a heroine so full of grit and fire that had me cheering as I finished reading it. This was a great kick-off to the anthology and got me in the mood for more feisty heroines.

Next up was author Yasmine Galenorn’s “The Shadow of Mist”. Siobhan Morgan is a selkie and running from her past for over a hundred years. Secure with a new love and a bright future, she never imagines the life she left behind coming back to torment her until it does with a heavy hand and a determined leer.

I have to admit, I love Ms. Galenorn’s Otherworld series and this takes Siobhan center stage as the strong yet frightened heroine who longs to just live in peace but alas that doesn’t happen when her past comes back to slap her in the face. With your favorite characters from the Otherworld series coming to help, I was eager to see what would happen next as Siobhan found the strength to do what she had to do to save the life she forged out for herself and a love that she wasn’t about to give up for no one. With each page, the reader is drawn into the fast paced adventure and I was hoping for more once the last page was read.

Up next was Marjorie M. Liu’s “Tangleroot Palace”, a story of magic, a runaway princess and people not exactly all that they seem to be.

This intrigued me from the beginning. With an intriguing cast of characters, fast paced action, Ms. Liu delivers a story that will leave you breathless and eager for more. I would love to see the author come back for more as it seemed to have a wealth of characters and places to explore.

Finally, Sharon Shinn tells the tale of “The Wrong Bridegroom”, with a determined princess not wanting to marry her boring betrothed; her father holds a competition to see who will win her hand instead. What she gets is far more than even she bargains for.

This final story was a little flat to me at first. I couldn’t really enjoy the way the Princess Olivia was at first. She seemed spoiled, disagreeable and moody until she thought she found the perfect man to counter her former betrothed and ended up growing as a person in the adventure that followed. With a growing cast of characters, an unexpected ending that had me going “YAY!” and a smile. Ms. Shinn delivers a story that will keep you entertained and flipping the pages for more. Highly enjoyable and I look forward to seeing if this author comes back for more as some of the secondary characters seemed like they had some stories to tell.

NEVER AFTER is a rare gem of an anthology full of feisty heroines, madcap adventures and the hint of romance amid the pages. With each author you get four different stories to enjoy and I finished this book in one afternoon. If you enjoy plucky heroines who do the rescuing, then grab NEVER AFTER and get ready to laugh, smile and cheer as they show the men that sometimes they don’t need to be rescued at all. It just might be that the men need rescuing instead.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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