CHICKS KICK BUTT
Edited by Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes
Urban Fantasy Anthology
Received from publisher for review
This anthology includes 13 short stories from some renowned urban fantasy authors including Rachel Caine, Karen Chance, Rachel Vincent, Lilith Saintcrow, P.N. Elrod, Jenna Black, Cheyenne McCray, Elizabeth A. Vaughn, Jeanne C. Stein, Carole Nelson Douglas, L.A. Banks, Susan Krinard, and Nancy Holder.
As indicated by the title, Chicks Kick Butt is an anthology featuring heroines who might not mind being referred to as damsels but who would certainly take offense to the name if paired with the words "in distress" and the implications that accompany such a label. Though these women often find themselves in no small amount of trouble, they prefer to fight their own battles with sharp minds, sharp weapons, and sharp figurative and literal claws. Majority of the stories in this action-packed collection are highly entertaining, our heroines for the most part reaching through the pages, curling their fists in the collar of our shirts and yanking us into their world where they may temporarily go down fighting but always emerge on top - possibly bruised, most likely bloody, but also irrefutably kick-ass.
Hunt by Rachel Vincent
In Ms. Vincent's addition to this anthology we are thrust in the brutal and gritty world of her Shifters series, accompanying main heroine Faythe's cousin Abby on a camping trip gone horrifically awry. Even those unfamiliar with the six-book series will be able to connect to this story, one of Ms. Vincent's many gifts being her ability to deny us the opportunity to remain detached, instead forcing us to shore up our courage and join the fight alongside characters who we instantly let into our hearts whether we've met them before or are introduced to them here for the first time. Abby's tale is dark and violent, but as always, Ms. Vincent gives us a young woman with unfathomable strength and resilience, and we draw on her many positive attributes to lead us through the pain and death of her world.
In Vino Veritas by Karen Chance
Ms. Chance has a wonderful sense of humor, giving us a lighter snippet from her Midnight Daughter series featuring a dhampir named Dory who has an uncanny knack for getting caught in the middle of other people's problematic business dealings. This short has her attempting to drink a full vampire under the table in order to help an acquaintance, eliciting many an amused snort from us that beautifully balances some of the seriousness of the other contributions.
Nine Tenths of the Law by Jenna Black
Morgan Kingsley is a demon-possessed exorcist who's just been tasked with exorcising a teenage girl at the request of her of her morally questionable parents. Though some of us might not be acquainted with Ms. Kingsley and how she came to be possessed by the king of the demons, Ms. Black does a fabulous job of making the need for that information irrelevant as we hit the ground running with Morgan and her demonic resident. We know enough to clearly understand and enjoy, but also remain curious enough about Kingsley's history to want to go back and start at the beginning.
There are several more standout stories in this anthology, and as usual, some where we clearly would have benefited from having read the series from which the heroine is pulled. Overall however, this is a solid collection that gives both longtime fans of particular characters a little more time in a world they love, while also providing newcomers the opportunity to find women for whom they can easily root and then walk away knowing where to find more should they color themselves impressed.