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Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions Cover Picture

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions (Anthology)

Edited by Kelley Armstrong & Melissa Marr

Published 2011         443 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today's hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new landscapes and characters. But whether they're writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart. 

Anthology contents:

  1. Giovanni's Farewell by Claudia Gray
  2. Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan
  3. Red Run by Kami Garcia
  4. Things About Love by Jackson Pearce
  5. Niederwald by Rachel Vincent
  6. A Mortal Winter King by Melissa Marr
  7. Facing Facts by Kelley Armstrong
  8. Let's Get This Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan
  9. Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready
  10. Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting
  11. Leaving by Ally Condie
  12. At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday
  13. I.V. League by Margaret Stohl
  14. Gargouille by Mary E. Pearson
  15. The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  16. Automatic by Rachel Caine

The Review

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions is a short story collection written for young adults and contains stories by a number of the YA fantasy genre’s top authors. For me, Kelley Armstrong, Claudia Gray, Jeri Smith-Ready and Rachel Caine were the major attractions to this short story collection but weirdly their stories weren’t the ones that kept me reading…

Enthralled is a collection of paranormal tales loosely themed around journeys. The journeys are sometimes literal, involving travelling from A to B but there are also a number of tales that involve journeys of self-discovery rather than a physical trip. The journey theme allows for each author to contribute something unique. There is a wide mixture of differing fantasy mythologies in the anthology which includes stories about fairies, psychics, ghosts, mediums, angels and vampires. Some of the authors (Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Jeri Smith-Ready, Rachel Vincent and Rachel Caine) have chosen to write about existing characters and worlds from their previous books, while others have chosen to contribute something completely new.

All in all, there is a wide variety of subject matter and writing style – while the majority of stories are romances, others are not. It’s fair to say that in a collection this diverse there is probably something capable of appealing to every teen reader in here, but the blunderbuss approach left me loving about a quarter of the collection but failing to connect with the majority of stories.

Few anthologies manage to contain 100% five star stories. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read one that did. I’ve come close to short story collection perfection on occasion but I've never actually seen it achieved. Enthralled, like majority of anthologies suffers with an inconsistent story quality (some writers are much better at the short story format than others) and I was just baffled when I got to Jeri Smith-Ready’s contribution which was actually written in verse rather than prose. Why? As a reader who loves fiction in form of prose and generally hates poetry (with the exception of the odd dirty limerick) I was frankly disappointed.

Concentrating on the best bits of the collection there were a couple of 5 star stories, both of which featured vampires. Let's Get This Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan was a great story. It features a newly-turned vampire who is in a popular boy band. It’s a humorous take on an 18 year-old who has to adjust to leaving home, being in a boy band, a being a vampire along with the changes all that brings. 

At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday is probably my top favourite from this collection. It features a wannabe monster hunter who sneaks away from her successful hunter family for a night of solo monster hunting. The story is well-written, hilarious and features vampires who are also huge fans of the Rocky Horror Picture Show… what more do you need?

Other stories worthy of note are the post-apocalyptic Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan and the surprisingly poignant Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting. However, while these particular stories are all great it still wasn’t enough to make the anthology anything more than surprisingly average when read as a whole…

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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