I'm not much of a short story reader and Carniepunk, an urban fantasy and paranormal romance anthology, reminded me why. I generally have three reactions to short stories: 1) that was so great that I'm annoyed it's over so fast, 2) that was okay but didn't really do much for me and 3) well that was a waste of 15 pages. Carniepunk evoked all three of those reactions from me. Overall, it was not great but not terrible, either. Meh.
I picked this up specifically for the Kevin Hearne and Seanan McGuire stories (I'm a superfan of both authors). The Kevin Hearne short story followed Atticus and Granuaile of his Iron Druid Chronicles on an ultimately pointless trip to Kansas, where Granuaile planned to spy on her family (ofgs, Granuaile, get revenge against your evil stepfather or don't but stop whining about it). The story was underwhelming and, because it was set before the events of Hunted (the last book in the series), it was a bit bewildering. The McGuire short story was a bit better, but wasn't excellent and felt like it needed more space to be fleshed out into something really interesting. The real standout in the anthology was Rob Thurman's short story, which ended far too soon but was otherwise fantastic.
I wouldn't recommend Carniepunk to anyone who isn't already a pretty dedicated urban fantasy or paranormal romance reader.If one (or more) of your favorite authors have stories in this anthology, it's worth giving it a shot, but it ultimately fell a bit short of the mark for me.
Read this review and more on The Library Lass Book Talk Blog.