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on 27 July 2013
I am not a great lover of short stories but the cast of writers for this volume was so impressive that I decided to put my disinterest aside and give it a shot. I was not disappointed. The quality of the writing was everything one would expect from such experienced authors, with clever plots, great characters, and the thread of the carnival running through every story. Creepy carnival is not just an alliteration.

Some of the stories are taken from a universe that the author has explored in full length novels, others are stand-alone and complete in themselves. All were equally readable though of course I have my favourites.

Stand-out for me was Rob Thurman's contribution. A well-crafted, tightly worked story that hinted of the outcome but left the reader with a nice flourish at the end. Kevin Hearne also deserves a special mention. His contribution featured characters from his best-selling Iron Druid series in a context that was consistent with the overall story line of the series, and yet worked very well on its own.

The other stories in the collection were also high quality and too numerous to review individually. A great collection and a great addition to anyone's book shelf.
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If you look at a collaboration of short stories by multiple well-known authors you should see it first as what it really is from a marketing perspective.
It is a great way to introduce readers to authors of a similar genre or authors in general. Some of which you might never have come across (like myself) in this vast landscape of scribes of various shapes, sizes and talents.
Sometimes reading a five or ten percent sample of a book just doesn't give you enough of a taste, whereas these short stories give the reader a full mouth of words to chew on.
Sometimes the collaborations don't work well, which is often the case when multiple authors create one story together and each writes one piece.Too many scribes dipping in the same inkwell.
This doesn't suffer from that because each one of the authors has created a story with the same link to carnivals, but each one has done it in their own way. The result is a mesmerizing potpourri of distinctive voices.
It would have been fairer of me to review each piece/story and say a few words, instead I have decided to mention a few that stood out for me.
'Freak House' by Kelly Meding
Strong supernatural tale.

'Painted Love' by Rob Thurman
This story was wickedly creepy.

'The Three Lives of Lydia' by Delilah Dawson
Dark, compelling and deep.

'The Sweeter the Juice' by Mark Henry
I have to be honest this one sort of made my inner ick appear.( I wrote ick..that's right just ick)

'The Cold Girl' by Rachel Caine
Disturbing and captivating.

All in all it was a great combination of both stories and authors.
I really enjoyed it and can honestly say that I have discovered quite a few new authors (well, new to me anyway)whose work I shall be looking up in the near future.
I received a copy of this book via Edelweiss.
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on 3 March 2015
A doodle come to life, a young man- half human and half monster, vampire bunny rabbits and more inhabit the pages of this book.

I typically enjoy short story collections. They are usually both a bigger bang for my buck, and more importantly, lead me to new authors I might not otherwise have found. This book was different though. There were a few that I truly enjoyed (enough to have downloaded a book from) but too many stories that just put me to sleep. Literally. I think perhaps it was because several of the authors wrote stories that put me down in the middle of one of their book series. Like being invited to a party where you are the only person who doesn't know everyone else, I found it difficult at times not to be put off by private jokes and behavior that takes it for granted that I already know what's what.

My favorite story was Seanan McGuire's tale about a young woman raised in the carnival from birth. It was one of the best mermaid stories I've ever read. I truly enjoyed the way the author made both autumn and the carnival come to life, especially given the small number of pages she had to achieve it.

Overall, I came away with five new authors to try out. Not a bad haul...
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on 14 October 2013
I got this on the strength of some of the authors I like not having heard of the others. I was very disappointed.so much in fact I have not yet finished the book. I was expecting a mix of fantasy ,suspense and horror but so far and I am half way through it is unrelenting horror all bodies and gore not my idea of a good read.
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on 28 October 2013
It is worth paying the cover price for the first story alone . while all the stories have merit some are weaker than others, but as mentioned the first short story is outstanding.
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on 25 March 2014
A great collection of stories from different worlds. Hard to put down. Worth the read and highly recommended for any fantasy lover.
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