This book contains three novellas; they are each very different from the others.
The first is Mercedes Lackey's A Tangled Web, which is a retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone. It's an amusingly writting light fantasy tale, following on from her 500 Kingdoms novel The Sleeping Beauty. It's best, although not essential, to have read Sleeping Beauty so that you understand where two of the main characters arrived where they are. Knowing your Greek myths also helps. Although I do like Lackey's books, hers was actually my least favourite of the three, because for me it lacked depth. It was a pleasant enough way to pass an hour, but not a story I'd set aside time to read again. Although I might read it again if I had time and nothing else with which to fill it.
The second is Michelle Sagara's Cast in Moonlight. It's the prequel to her 'Cast' series and tells the story of how Kaylin Neya joined the Hawks (police force) at the age of thirteen. Like the series that spawned it, it's a relatively dark tale - this one dealing with the kidnapping torture, and murder of children. Hard for it to be light with that subject matter. But the characters are lively and engaging, and there is enough humour to offset the grim plot. For this reason, the story works well, and it's definitely one to re-read, especially if you have also read, or are planning to read, Sagara's 'Cast' books. Which I highly recommend.
The third story was by Cameron Haley, who was an author new to me. 'Retribution' is the story of a gangster sorceress who executes someone who attempted to kill her - just doing business - and ends up trying to avoid his death curse. As a gangster, the main character, Domino Riley, is hardly whiter-than-white. In fact, of the three stories, this is the one with the grubbiest protagonist by a long way. But she's interesting, because it's clear that she has her own morality that she sticks to and she's willing to take risks to uphold. There's a little too much gangster-speak (do they really talk like that? I doubt it, but hey, presumably the author's having fun and in a short story it didn't have time to get too irritating) but for all that, I enjoyed the story, and might well go and find something else by this author.
All in all, worth reading, although the final two stories make up most of the 'weight' and hence the satisfaction.
"Harvest Moon" contains a trio of fantasy novellas which accompany the full length novels the contributing authors have produced.
A Tangled Web by Mercedes Lackey
ML twists together pantheons and fairy tales to create a great addition to her "Five Hundred Kingdoms" series. As Persephone plots to be with the man she loves, Hades agrees to a fake kidnapping to get her out from the protective clutches of her mother Demeter. He tasks Thanatos (Death) to collect his beautiful blonde immortal wife to be only to discover his friend has kidnapped the wrong blonde. Now he and Persephone have to deal with Valkyrie Brunnhilde and explain exactly why she cannot be returned to her mortal lover Leo. Blasted Tradition is flaring to life as Leo undergoes a number of quests to release his beloved from the Underworld. 4 stars
Cast in Moonlight by Michelle Sagara
If you've ever wondered how Kaylin ended up with the Hawks, then this novella will answer all your questions. There are also first time meetings with Lord Grammayre, Marcus Kassan and the Barrani's Teela and Tain. Kaylin is only 13 but she's suddenly keeping company with some powerful individuals and holding her own against them as she helps to uncover the magic user responsible for the gruesome murders of a growing number of children. 4 stars
Retribution by Cameron Haley
I haven't read "Mob Rules"; the full length novel available from this author so was a little of a loss when reading this short story. There's plenty of magic and violence surrounding leading lady Domino, not surprising as she is a "mob sorceress". She proves a strong character as she battles a hostile takeover and an inescapable death curse, yet she doesn't prove to be a likeable leading lady at all. She has the sass and feistiness I enjoy in a heroine; plus she does a few good deeds now and then, but she is overall quite an unpleasant character who thinks her behaviour is acceptable because of the company she keeps. 3 stars
Three novellas, three authors. Lackey's story is set in the Hundred Kingdoms background and is good fun. If you haven't checked out that series and like fairy tales with a twist and a good dollop of humour, that's the one for you. Her characters - as always - work and have interesting and distinctive voices. As this is 'only' a longer version of a short story don't expect a novel.
Sagara's novella I liked best, the characters and the setting were interesting, the weird and wonderful was credible and I fell for the quite multi-layered main character like everybody else she came across. Quite a good thing, when you think that she is not exactly sweetness and light. I likes it enough to check out Sagara's novels about the character in what seems to be a very enjoyable series.
Haley's is the weekest of the stories, perhaps because he is a relative newcomer. I didn't take to his main character at all. Its all all very well to write about a seriously aggressive character who is a sociopath but that means there is nothing in it for me as a reader to care either she lives or dies. I couldn't help but think that I didn't and the last story was the one I forgot first. There was just not enough there to make it interesting for me. Perhaps Greg Benage (Cameron Haley is his pseudonym) will remedy that in the full length novel about his character and give her more interest by loosing the psychopath and giving her some depth.
Summary: Nice summer read, great to get to know the authors, for stars instead of five because the third story just didn't do it for me.
I only bought th. A Tangled Web is a different take on teh Hades/Persephone story adn is book because it had Cast i Moonligh tin it but I did enjoy the other 2 stories that came with it and at the total opposite of the spectrum is Retribution, not the sort of book I would ever buy but it was a good dark magic in a modern city setting story.