*I received free ARCs of these short stories. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Short stories. The perfect way to test whether you enjoy a writer’s ideas and voice before splashing your limited funds and reading time on a full-size novel.
The three I’m reviewing here are all series prequels, so you know if you enjoy them there are more in the same vein just waiting in the wings!
Laying Ghosts – Virginia King (Prequel to the Selkie Moon series)
A strange message. A deserted beach house. A shocking incident from the past …
When a text message from a long lost friend lures Selkie Moon to Crystal Cottage, the chilling events from a house-party four years earlier wrap her in ghostly fingers and turn her life upside-down.
I absolutely loved this short story; a prequel to Virginia King’s Selkie Moon mystery series.
The balance between plot and character is perfect. Reader tension is held as the story flashes back and forth between past events and current actions, building as the author chooses to show us some things whilst only hinting at others.
Trigger warning: There are references to domestic violence and sexual coercion that are central to the plot, so if these things trigger you then this one is best avoided.
Otherwise I highly recommend this story and will be adding the Selkie Moon series to my Ever-increasing Wishlist!
Veona – Steve Turnbull (Prequel to the Patterner’s Path series)
Veona of Corlain doesn’t know she’s in the middle of a political storm, all she knows is that she is due to give birth. But with the forces of dark magic can she or her unborn child survive?
Veona is a classic fantasy-series prequel, giving us a self-contained story that clearly leads on to a larger plot with higher stakes.
I try to avoid spoilers, which is harder when talking about a short story, but the writing here is high quality and I was very quickly invested in the wellbeing of the titular character and her unborn child, and hope to see the evil antagonist meet a grisly fate in the following series.
In other words, yes, this is yet another series I will be following!
Claimed – Alisha Klapheke (Prequel to the Uncommon World series)
Treasure hunter. Sailor. Salt witch.
Kinneret Raza has been called a lot of things. Quitter was never one of them.
To save her sister from starvation and hold on to her relationship with Calev—the high-caste friend she secretly loves—Kinneret must get her hands on enough silver to move up in the world. When a storm clears a new port location, Kinneret talks Calev’s people into paying her to claim the spot. But before she can seal the deal and earn her coin, not one, but two parties show up, vying for the location and armed to the teeth. Kinneret is not going down without a fight.
Another traditional fantasy prequel, Claimed introduces us to the central characters of the Uncommon World series and their daily struggle for survival, whilst setting the stage for future plot conflicts with threads of romantic and magical tension carefully laid out to lead us to the next installment.
The reader gets an immediate sense of camaraderie with Kinneret and her little gang, and with the stakes high from the start, there is an immediate investment in their sucess, which I personally found nerve-wracking as it is clear that Kinneret has a knack for trouble and riding risks!
Have a guess as to whether Book 1 is now on my TBR pile…!