Monday, November 30, 2020

Review: Four Summoner's Tales by Kelley Armstrong, Christopher Golden, David Liss, and Jonathan Maberry


Title: Four Summoner's Tales
Authors: Kelley Armstrong, Christopher Golden, David Liss, and Jonathan Maberry
Published by: Gallery Books
Released: 2013
Source: Library 
Synopsis: Four terror-inducing novellas from acclaimed bestselling authors Kelley Armstrong, David Liss, Christopher Golden, and Jonathan Maberry beginning with the premise: “A stranger comes to town, offering to raise the townsfolk’s dearly departed from the dead—for a price.”
In Kelley Armstrong’s “Suffer the Children,” an acute diphtheria outbreak kills most of the children in an isolated village in nineteen-century Ontario. Then a stranger arrives and offers to bring the children back to life. He wants money, of course, an extravagant sum, but more importantly, but for each child resurrected, one villager must voluntarily offer his life... 
In David Liss’s “A Bad Season for Necromancy,” a con man on the margins of eighteenth-century British society discovers a book that reveals the method for bringing the dead back to life. After considering just how far he would go to avoid bringing his violent father back, he realizes the real value of this book. Instead of getting people to pay him to revive their departed, he will get people to pay him not to...
In “Pipers” by Christopher Golden, the Texas Border Volunteers wage a private war against drug smuggling by Mexican cartels in a modern-day South Texas town, complete with an indestructible army of the risen dead...
In “Alive Day” by Jonathan Maberry, a US Army sergeant must dive into the underworld of modern-day Afghanistan to try and barter for the release of his team, never dreaming of the horrors that await him... (Synopsis from Goodreads)
My Thoughts: This was an awesome Anthology. I liked each story, there were no duds. I really enjoyed how each author wrote on the same premise, and the different directions they all took. I also liked how they were in novella format, how each story was 80 to 90 pages. I felt like I got real, fleshed out stories, and I think this was because they were able to tell a longer story. I really enjoyed this. I think it would make for great Halloween reading.
Story #1 was Suffer the Children by Kelley Armstrong and this was my favorite of the anthology. It's about a village that has been hit by an outbreak of diphtheria which has killed a lot of the residents, including children. Then a stranger comes to town and offers to bring back the recently dead children, for a price. A little girl named Addie and a man known as Preacher don't trust these visitors. They don't trust the hope they are selling. This story was really good. It was super dark and I loved it. It was my favorite out of the bunch. I really need to read more Kelley Armstrong.
Story #2 was Pipers by Christopher Golden. This was about a Texas border town that is terrorized by a Mexican Drug Cartel. In one violent act, the Cartel kills 23 of the residents. The town is suffering through grief, and then a man comes to town offering revenge! I liked this more than I thought I was going to. It was also deliciously dark.
Story #3 was A Bad Season for Necromancy by David Liss. This story probably took me the longest to get into, and it also took a different direction then the first two stories. Our main character is a rogue, a schemer, who gets his hands on a way to raise the dead. He decides this is the perfect way to make money, through a form of blackmail, but things turn out a little differently then he expects. I liked the twist of our main character being a con-man and using his power, but not really thinking of the consequences. It was a creative twist.
Story #4 was Alive Day by Jonathan Maberry. Out of all the stories, this was my least favorite, but I still liked it. This story takes an existing character from one of Maberry's series, Joe Ledger. Joe Ledger is part of a super-secret, super-tough military unit. Intel of a biological pathogen is given to a team who travels to Afghanistan to retrieve it. Something goes wrong and Joe Ledger's team is sent in. Something is in that desert, something ancient and dangerous. This story felt the most loose with the overall premise. Maybe it was the most creative, or maybe it did its own thing. It was also a very military story, which wasn't a bad thing. I've read the first book in the Joe Ledger Series and really enjoyed it. I do plan on continuing with it. This story in the Anthology was okay, but not my favorite of the bunch.
I really enjoyed this Anthology. I really liked the premise. I felt like all four Authors did a great job, there were no duds. I'd definitely recommend this. 

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