Kelly Armstrong takes us back to the Otherworld for one more anthology featuring the characters we have grown to love. Many of these shorts have been previously published, but not all. And several are set after the events of the final novel.
Brazen – This is a Nick novella set after 13. And I really enjoyed it. Here, Nick is on the hunt for Malcolm. He’s hired a team of supernatural mercenaries to help him with the job. But one of the agents gets too close and ends up on the wrong side of Malcolm’s muzzle. Nick has to team up with a member of merc unit to find the missing agent and continue the hunt for his former alpha.
We see Nick’s charm with the ladies in action here. His partner sees it too and wants a little Nick-loving of her own. I liked this story, but I did struggle with the idea of this attractive and capable woman wanting to be just the latest in his string of conquests. No slut shaming or anything, but it’s hard to see the attraction of sleeping with a man several of your agents have already taken a tumble with. Other than that, it’s a good story, with a bit of a cliffhanger for another Nick and Vanessa adventure to come.
Chaotic – This is the Hope and Karl origin story, which I have read before. Hope is a half-demon who gets off on chaos. That’s given her a lot of trouble following the straight and narrow. So when Tristan approached her to serve as an agent for the supernatural interracial council, she didn’t hesitate to say yes. She doesn’t realize, though, that she is on the job the night she goes on a blind date at a museum gala. But she can’t help but follow the threads of tension she feels coming from one of the exhibits. It turns out to be werewolf Karl Marsten, there stealing some jewels.
Her first thought is that he’s the bad guy and she has to stop him. But she finds out quickly that it’s really her boss who is evil, and he is after Karl for petty vengeance. Hope doesn’t work for the council at all… She’s just a pawn in his schemes. Hope and Karl grow closer as they work to escape Tristan and his henchmen. And there is one really hot scene they have while in hiding that I may have read two or three times. All in all, it’s a pretty solid story and it lays the foundation for future books that feature Hope and Karl.
Amityville Horrible – This is a Jaimie story that takes place after Hidden and sets up part of the storyline for Waking the Witch. This is another instance where Jaimie is tapped to star in a pseudo-reality haunting show. In this case, it’s loosely based on the Amityville House. It gives some good chills and has some sexy time with Jeremy too. I didn’t love the Scooby Doo vibe in the end, but overall I enjoyed the story.
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word – This is a pretty short story that brings Cassandra to Zoe to offer her a place on the council. It’s also an opportunity to apologize for hurting her years ago. There’s a little side adventure that helps grease the wheels of that apology along the way.
Off Duty Angel is an Eve short I had read before. It’s very reminiscent of Angelic, in my opinion. We see Eve kind of stuck in the circumstances of her afterlife. Kind of bored. Still thumbing her nose at authority and playing by her own rules. Right now, Kris is in the middle of a big case and she has nothing to do with her downtime. So Kris sends her on a mission to play P.I. for him. The story is mostly action oriented and gives us very little time with Eve and Kris. I think I would have enjoyed an adventure that did more to incorporate them both, but I’m glad Eve got one last hurrah.
The Puppy Plan – This story is centered on Clay and Elena’s now 9 year-old twins, more specifically, their son, Logan. The boy saves a puppy and plans to give it to his sister, but he knows it’s against his parents’ wishes. We basically see his struggle as he tries to do the responsible thing, while often unsure what that is.
It’s cool to see what kind of kids Clay and Elena have created. Logan is really such an interesting character. I’d like to see him in his own story as an adult one day.
Baby Boom is the last story and it left me with mixed feelings. It features Lucas and Paige, which I love, but what happens to them –and how it all plays out– was less than satisfying. Basically, these two are confronted with the fact that members of the Cabal want them to have a baby and will do anything to get their way. The story gives us some closure in a lot of ways, but it didn’t really feel like an especially happy ending.
As a whole, though, I enjoyed this anthology and I think most readers will enjoy one more chance to see their favorites again to say goodbye.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Kelly Armstrong
Release Date: October 4, 2016