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Absolute tosh *this review contains spoilers*
on 12 May 2014
Tl:dr version: this is crap, read Kelley Armstrong or Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman or Laurel K. Hamilton instead, their stuff is actually good.
This turned up in my amazon recommends page and as it was free gave it a go. I can't help but wonder whether the people who gave this stuff 4 or 5 stars were reading the same thing as me. I'll tackle each story in turn:
Wicked- bog standard vampire fare: girl meets boy, boy turns out to be total psycho who drinks people's blood etc etc. Nothing new, and neither well written or exciting. The dialogue is clunky, and I was never drawn into liking any of the characters so didn't give two figs what happened to any of them.
Blur- more vampires: this felt like a Twilight cash-in, but with the author trying to make it edgier by having the vamp "love interest" be very aggressive and, for lack of a better description, bitey. Unfortunately he is also a ginormous sack of poop, completely lacking any charm. The fact that the main character actually responds to his seriously epic jive-weaselry instead of getting really effing angry at the fact the total bum-wipe essentially vamp-roofied her, beat up her bf and freaking kidnapped her TWICE annoyed me big time. At least none of the buggers sparkle. The non-vamps are also regularly afflicted with temporary stupidity- they get told, on two separate occasions by two different people who both end up dead, that there's vampires, they get actual proof of supernatural goings-on and come to the conclusion that it's ghosts scaring them. Ghosts. I eye-rolled.
Enchanted Secrets- teenage coming of age witchery: this one is the best of the lot, and is the reason this collection gets one star rather than nothing (I really wish I could give 0 star ratings). We have an overweight (to begin with, at least) main character in high school, the new guy takes an interest and doesn't care she's fat, turns out he's magic, she gets thin by magic potion, then it turns out she's magic and her evil aunt is out to kill her and her family, the evil aunt is defeated, her adopted son pops in to get revenge and we're left with a cliffhanger ending. This all takes place in the space of a few days. The author writes really 2 dimensional characters, and the plot is badly paced. You'd be better off reading the Terry Pratchett's discworld novels which feature Agnes/Perdita X Nitt, who is also a fat witch. A fat witch who kicks ass and has personality. I recommend Carpe Jugulum.
The coin collector- boy versus leprechaun: leprechaun turns 10 year old boys into coins, main character gets the horn for the leprechaun's daughter, realises his little brother is next, makes like Bilbo and riddles the coin-boys and his brother free, daughter and main character get married. In the hands of a better author this could have been good as opposed to utterly bland.
Zombie Games- zombie vaccine apocalypse: Ugh. Okay, the premise is such that you either turn your brain off and roll with it, or end up picking so many holes it resembles a sieve. I tried the former approach, but needn't have bothered as the thing is so dull I stopped reading half-way through and I say that as someone who struggles to the end of atrocious books because I absolutely have to know if everything will pan out the way I think it will. With this I really couldn't care less.
Venom- more vamps: Lol at the description of Venom as a hot "new" band from Europe- they formed back in the 80s, and play truly awful/awesome (delete as appropriate) thrash metal. Unfortunately, this story was not about crusty old Geordies fending off vampires. Another bland offering.
Yes I know, I could have stopped, but I'm of the opinion that you can't really criticise a book unless you've read it, so here we are...