Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series):
Rare white tiger shapeshifter Dali typically enjoys visits from Jim, her alpha, but when he turns up in a deep sleep on her bedroom floor, she knows something is off. After she wakes Jim, he explains that his memory of visiting one of the Order’s offices remains vague, but he remembers seeing a woman and mysterious writing on the floor. Further investigation and enlisting her mother’s aid enables Dali to figure out the situation, but also places her in great danger as she seeks to resolve the problem.
Ice Shards by Yasmine Galenorn (Otherworld series):
House sprite Iris has spent the last six hundred years in exile from the order in which she was at one time destined to serve as priestess. The man she was supposed to be matched to was somehow destroyed, by having his soul ripped from his physical body and placed into a shadow, resulting in a creature that is now terrorizing the Northmen. Iris has no memory of what happened that night so many centuries ago, but she resolves to discover the truth that will either free her of her curse of barrenness or end in her punishment.
Double Hexed by Allyson James (Stormwalker series):
Stormwalker and hotel owner Janet calls her plumber friend, Fremont, to come and look at a leaky faucet. When blood explodes from the pipe and a message appears on the mirror, Janet realizes some sort of spell has broken through the protective wards of the building. Cassandra, Janet’s hotel manager, fears that the situation may be related to her. Thankfully the hotel guests are out for the day, but Janet has a full house (including Mick, her dragon-shifter boyfriend, Coyote, a god, and a somewhat annoying magic mirror) to contend with while trying to break the curse.
Blood Debt by Jeanne C. Stein (Anna Strong series):
In the midst of pursuing a skip, bounty hunter and vampire Anna Strong gets smacked in the chest by a car door, causing her to land unceremoniously on the ground. When the man behind the car door points a gun in her face, Anna relieves him of the weapon and he drives away. The next day, Anna gets paid a visit by three witch friends, who share the unpleasant news that Anna must appear before a tribunal of the powers in the astral universe to answer for the crime of killing a witch in a place of sanctuary (which designation she was not aware of at the time). Adding to the confusion, Anna learns that the brother of the one of the witches who has been taken by those same powers and the man so skilled with a car door from the night before are one and the same. This new information raises the stakes considerably for Anna, since she realizes that more than just her own life is in peril.
Each of the stories in this excellent collection skillfully accomplishes two necessary components of novellas set in existing series’ universes: returning to a familiar setting with characters readers invested in the series care about, and providing an enticing introduction for readers unfamiliar with the world or its players. The Andrews and Galenorn stories feature secondary characters that may not impact the overall story arc of their series, while the James and Stein tales give the story focus to the main characters and events which may indeed have further ramifications. This reviewer heartily recommends Hexed to current and prospective fans alike.
- Reading level: Ages 18 and up
- Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; Original edition (June 7, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425241769
- ISBN-13: 978-0425241769