Review: Enthralled Anthology

May 27, 2015 Review 6 ★★★★

Review: Enthralled Anthology
Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions by Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Multiple authors
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Pages: 443
Release Date: September 1st, 2011
Genres: Anthology, Paranormal, Young Adult
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A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.
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ENTHRALLED is an anthology of paranormal YA stories that I bought years ago but never got around to reading. Until now. And I’m glad I did because overall this anthology was so much fun. There’s such a wide range of stories, featuring all kinds of paranormal creatures and characters. To review this, I’m just going to write short, inadequate and vague thoughts on each of the stories. Better than my usual long, rambling reviews, right? :P

Giovanni’s Farewell by Claudia Gray

Rating: 3.5/5

The first story in the anthology is about a pair of inseparable twins, Cairo and Ravenna, on a school excursion in Rome. Cairo claims that he has started to develope the ability to read minds, but Ravenna doesn’t believe him. That is until she she’s a ghost on a tour of the crypts. This story was nice and sweet. There wasn’t any major conflict or anything and everything was resolved fairly easily.

Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan

Rating: 4.5/5

SCENIC ROUTE is set in the world of FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, as a prequel I’m assuming. It’s written in present tense, which tool me a while to adjust to because it’s been a while since I read anything written that way. This was another tale of siblings, this time trying to survive in a terrifying world where no one can be trusted after the “Change”. When the elder sister discovers someone has been stalking their cabin, she grows very, very concerned. The intensity built and built as the story went on. While it was a bit slow at the beginning, there was great action at the end where I was completely surprised by some of the actions of the characters.

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Red Run by Kami Garcia

Rating: 4/5

RED RUN focuses on Edie, a girl hunting down the ghost that killed her brother on the haunted road. I loved the way the story was woven. As short as it is, we learn more than enough about the story of the ghost of Red Run, as well as ghost lore, and it’s not presented in an info dumpy way. There was also a great twist to the tale and a nice ending. It wasn’t a story that left you screaming for me, which is I prefer in anthologies.

Things About Love by Jackson Pearce

Rating: 3/5

THINGS ABOUT LOVE is set in the AS YOU WISH universe. Told in alternating points of view, this story is about a human called Lawrence and a jinn named Juliet who is sent to guard him (when really she just wants to learn about and understand love, which is a foreign concept to jinn). That sentence might make you think you can see where this story would go, but there is a very high chance you would be wrong. See, Lawrence is gay. This fact meant the story went in a very different direction than I was expecting, something I’m grateful for because it led to a more enjoyable, less predictable story.

Niederwald by Rachel Vincent

Rating: 4/5

I don’t know if I forgot this story was in here or what, but I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across a Soul Screamers short story! NIEDERWALD is narrated by Sabine, our favourite nightmare, and is set not long after she appears in the main series. I loved Sabine’s narration, she’s so sassy and sarcastic. Very entertaining. The story introduces some more unique/underutilized supernatural beings (harpies) and made me wonder just what other creatures exist in this universe. This was an interesting addition to the Soul Screamers universe, but I’m pretty sure that even people who haven’t read this series would also enjoy this story.

Merely Mortals by Melissa Marr

Rating: 2/5

I really don’t have a good history with Marissa Marr’s novels. Her writing has never impressed me. I was hoping that maybe this something to change my mind, but unfortunately that’s not the case. This is set in the Wicked Lovely world, which really was not ideal. There were a lot of references to big events that happened in the Wicked Lovely books I haven’t read and really annoyed me. I didn’t know or care the characters so how was I supposed to get behind the sappy romance?

Facing Facts by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 4/5

This short story was 95% of the reason I bought this anthology. I actually read this story the day I bought the anthology. The Darkest Powers is one of my favourite paranormal series and this story is set one month after the trilogy ends. People who’ve read the series and know the characters would probably enjoy it best, because it does contain lots of spoilers and events relevant to things that happened in the past. And it might  (hopefully) convince others to start the series with its entertaining writing and characters and wide range of paranormal creature.

Let’s Get this Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan

Rating: 4.5/5

This story was one of my two favourites in the entire anthology. It’s about a vampire in a famous boy band that are on there first world tour. It was hilarious and ridiculous and just all round fun. Surprisingly there was also a decent plot and character development and unexpected feels!
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Bridge by Jerri Smith-Ready

Rating: 4/5

BRIDGE is about a ghost who died in mysterious circumstances I still haven’t figured out trying to find someone who can see him to deliver a message to his brother, who he thinks is considering suicide. It’s written in free verse, which I wasn’t sure I’d be able to enjoy. It was a bit confusing at first but once I figured out what was happening and remembered how one is supposed to read poetry I started to really enjoy this! Lots of sibling feels were experienced. BRIDGE was one of the sadder, bittersweet stories in the anthology.

Skin Contact by Kimberley Derting

Rating: 3/5

SKIN CONTACT is another story set in the world of the author’s previous series. Rafe has the same (or similar) abilities as the main character in THE BODY FINDER. He’s following the tugging feeling to what he has a bad feeling is his girlfriend’s body. I don’t have much to say about this other than it was really sad.

Leaving by Allie Condie

Rating:  3/5

LEAVING is a sci-fi/dystopian that hinted at time travel that never ended up happening. Humans have retreated into domes because Earth can no longer sustain life, and the main character wants to leave and return to a better time. It was an interesting world but other than that there wasn’t much going for it. I guess there wasn’t time to develop much more. One thing I want to know though is what does that last line mean????

At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday

Rating: 4.5/5

My other favourite story of the anthology! And all you really need to know is that the first line is:

The worst thing about cannibal Girl Scouts are the badges.

The main character of this story is from a family of supernatural hunters that all have some special skill or power… except her so she’s usually the bait. She decided to go out and hunt on her own to prove herself, which leads to an encounter with cannibal Girl Scouts and defanged, cross dressing vampires one their way to a Rocky Horror Picture Show convention. It was such a hilarious story, with moments of thrilling action as well. I’d go from crying of laughter because of the lectures on how hard it is to be a modern vampire because of stereotypes presented in The Vampire Diaries  to sitting on the edge of my seat as intense action scenes went down.
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IV League by Margaret Stohl

Rating: 2/5

IV LEAGUE was plain strange. I’m fairly certain it was about vampires, but I had to figure that out on my own. There’s a lot of story specific terms that are never clearly explained so I was pretty confused. That really didn’t help me care about the story. Basically I didn’t like this one.

Gargouille by Mary E Pearson

Rating: 3.5/5

This was a historical fantasy about a, you guessed it, gargouille. It was a simple bittersweet story with lots of romance feels. Very well written and a nice plot or a short story. No great action scenes or anything, it was more of a romance.

The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating: 4/5

THE THIRD KIND is the one story in the anthology that I really wish there was a full length novel for. I don’t even know how to describe what it’s about so I won’t.  There’s sisters, and possession, and so much potential. At the start I was a little confused because WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING, but by the end…. This story really could be the foundation for an epic novel. A really unique, epic novel.

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Automatic by Rachel Caine

Rating: 2.5/5

I’m pretty sure I’ve read at least three Morganville Vampires short stories by now without ever having read a single book from the series. In AUTOMATIC, one of the vampires is testing a new blood vending machine, and dealing with the unexpected side effects. This wasn’t a bad story, but I wasn’t able to fully appreciate it because I haven’t read any book in the series and so don’t know the characters.

Overall

ENTHRALLED turned out to be a really fun, interesting anthology. There were so many different stories. Some made me laugh, others made me experience SO MANY FEELS, and then there’s the stories that had me on the edge of my seat. My two favourites (the stories by Sarah Rees Brennan and Jessica Verday) combined two, if not all three, of those elements. The only downfall of this anthology was that some stories were about characters in series I hadn’t read, so I couldn’t connect and enjoy those stories fully.

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6 Responses to “Review: Enthralled Anthology”

  1. Alise

    I don’t read anthologies for the reason that you pointed out in some of your mini reviews-not enough time for development. That’s a huge thing for me and after reading a few and not being satisfied with the length I avoid them now. Love how you reviewed every story though, it’s really helpful.

    • Bec

      Most of the time I pick up an anthology because one of my favourite authors contributed or there’s a story connected to one of my favourite series.

      You know what’s sort of funny, I know of two short stories (which were in the same anthology) that now have novel length continuations haha. Haven’t had time to read them yet but they’re on the TBR!

  2. Olivia

    I am intrigued by this anthology! It sounds like a lot of big names are there, and that is always interest. I didn’t like the cowritten novel Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl much, but the idea of seeing them writing separately is pretty cool and makes me curious! Also, I LOVE Claudia Gray so I am glad to see her included in here!
    Olivia recently posted…Absolutely True Lies (Review & Giveaway!)

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