Author: Christopher Golden
Published by: Gallery Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
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.”
I’m going to be honest and say that I’m not big on anthologies. In fact, I tend to avoid them unless there is an author I absolutely love in it. So when I saw that Jonathan Maberry wrote a story in Four Summoner’s Tales, I snagged this bad boy up! What often happens on the rare occasions I do read an anthology, I read one or maybe two stories from it – obviously one being the author I love. However, I decided to give the other three stories in this book a try because I’ve heard positive things about them. They all turned out to be good, but some more than others.
I really like the idea behind this book. Four authors are set loose to write their own story, but they all start with the same premise: A stranger comes to town, offering to raise the townsfolk’s dearly departed from the dead—for a price. Necromancy? Heck yeah! I was very curious and excited to see how each author was going to build on that. I’m not going to do much summarizing of the individual stories since the blurb does a sufficient job.
The first story is Suffer the Children by Kelly Armstrong. Even though I’ve wanted to read something by Kelly for quite awhile now, I never got around to it. I was a little hesitant for a novella size story to be my introduction to her writing, but she totally impressed me! In fact, it turned out to be my favorite of the four. Even though I found parts of it fairly predictable, the ending surprised me. This has definitely encouraged me to read another book by her.
My second favorite was A Bad Season for Necromancy by David Liss. Truthfully, I considered not finishing it two pages in, but I think it had more to do with the mood I was in. Once I pushed myself through, I discovered a dark and gritty story that made me do a complete 180. I quite enjoyed this tale of necromantic extortion, even the attempted necrophilia (that sounds bad – haha). It’s the most mature of the four stories, that’s for sure.
Alive Day by Jonathan Maberry was third on my enjoyability (it that a word?) list. I love Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, so I was ecstatic that this story centers around the same main character and the fact that you don’t have to be familiar with the series to read Alive Day. I know, this was the reason I got this book in the first place, so it should be higher up. I did enjoy this story and thought it was interesting, but … I just wasn’t completely feeling it. I hope other people don’t judge the Joe Ledger series based on this, because I don’t think it was a great representation. Unless they like it. Then judge away!
And lately is Pipers by Christopher Golden. I had mixed feelings about this one. The writing was good, but I wasn’t a fan of most of the story. I felt that the drug cartel scene was more laughable than scary … or whatever it was meant to be. It had its moments, though.
Overall, I liked Four Summoner’s Tales and learned a lesson from reading it: read all of the stories in an anthology! I would have missed out if I had only read Maberry’s story like I originally planned.