HOLIDAYS ARE HELL by Kim Harrison, et al. [Review]

Holidays Are Hell is a collection of four supernatural novellas that take place around the solstice, Christmas, New Year’s, and Thanksgiving. As you can probably tell from the title, these stories are about characters kicking some hellish bad guy ass—not drinking cocoa and caroling. They might not put you in the traditional holiday spirit, but they do put a fresh spin on holiday fiction. Here’s a look at each individual story:

“Two Ghosts For Sister Rachel” by Kim Harrison – This story flashes back to an eighteen-year-old Rachel Morgan who is anxious to be accepted in the IS intern program. Her brother Robbie is against her going into a dangerous profession, so they resurrect a ghost to help them settle the dispute. I bought Holidays Are Hell because I wanted to read this story, as it introduces Pierce, a character who becomes important in The Hollows series. If you’ve read White Witch, Black Curse, you know the gist of the story, but it was still fun to see Pierce and Rachel meet for the first time. It was also interesting to see how different young Rachel, still recovering from the Rosewood Syndrome, is from the Rachel we know today. This is just another fantastic offering from Kim Harrison and is by far my favorite story in the book.

“Run, Run, Rudolph” by Lynsay Sands – In this Christmas story, a shape-shifter has to take on different forms to evade an evil man who wants to study her. Of the four stories, this one is the most lighthearted and romantic. It’s kind of silly, but it’s fun and a nice balance to the last two stories (which are pretty dark). I enjoyed Sands’ sense of humor and I’d like to read more from her.

“Six” by Marjorie M. Liu – A deadly Chinese government agent must join forces with a necromancer to stop a terrorist attack during the Chinese New Year. I didn’t find this story as interesting as the previous two, but I will say that it was very unique. I’d be willing to try reading more from this author.

“The Harvest” by Vicki Pettersson – This is a prequel to Pettersson’s Zodiac series. Since I’m not familiar with the Zodiac universe (where superhero forces of good and evil battle), I found this story very hard to get into and ended up skimming it. I’m sure fans of this series will enjoy this story a lot more than I did.

I liked three out of the four stories, so I’m pretty happy I bought Holidays Are Hell. I got to read some backstory about my favorite kickass witch, Rachel Morgan, and try out some new (to me) authors at the same time. Overall, I’d say this is a solid anthology.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars | Authors: Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, and Vicki Pettersson | Publisher: Harper | Pages: 384 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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