Summer Shorts: Kelley Armstrong!
Summer Shorts is weekly feature of short story/novella reviews, posted every weekend of July and August, 2011. Every week has a different theme - be it featuring a specific anthology, a particular genre, or a great author.
The following stories are all available online (free!) and are set in Kelley's Otherworld/Darkest Powers verse. If you haven't read her Darkest Powers series yet, a) run out and buy it b) these might not be quite as meaningful to you.
Kat by Kelley Armstrong
As I strode into the alley, the driver leapt out, raising his gun.
“I come in peace,” I said, lifting my fingers in a V.
He paused, half out of the van, his broad face screwing up in confusion.
I raised my hands. “See? No pistol. No switchblade. Not even a ray gun.”
Thoughts: Kat is the story of another Edison group experiment, Katiana, and one of her (many) encounters with Edison group minions. I really liked Kat - she reminded me of Maya from The Gathering, and for a while in the story I actually thought she might be her long lost sister. She's tough and could no doubt kick my ass. She won't back away from a fight and, if the circumstances require it, she'll run straight into one. The story is only 20 pages long, but I would have been happy to have read an entire book in her POV.
As for the style of the story - well, it felt like it was straight out of the Darkest Powers novels. Lots and lots of action, a whole bunch of running-for-their-lives, and the occasional bit of snappy dialogue. While I can't say that I was blown away by it all, I certainly did enjoy the tale. I'm hoping Kat is a lead-up to a fuller story or, perhaps, her inclusion into some of Kelley's other YA novels.
Bottom line? Kat is an action-packed tale with the same feel as Kelley's Darkest Powers series. But even if you haven't read her trilogy, you'll enjoy it!
Divided by Kelley Armstrong
"I do. I mean sure, I've liked a lot of girls and you probably think this is just the same thing. But it's not. I like being with her. Hanging out with her. Talking to her. Getting to know her. Not that I didn't want to get to know the other girls, but I really want to this time. I'm not just asking questions to make conversation. She's different and she's interesting, and she doesn't know she is and that's . . ." He glanced back at me. "I'm glad you two seem to get along." He grinned. "A nice change."
Thoughts: Spoilers for the DP trilogy! Divided follows Derek and Simon after they are separated from Chloe at the end of The Summoning. Divided is the second short story I've read from Derek's POV (Dangerous, I read and loved last year), and I can now officially say that he is the best narrator ever. Love this guy.
While - of course - it was fantastic to revisit my beloved DP characters, Divided did more than just that. It added to the canon of the trilogy. Kelley gives us more details about Chloe's mother's death (that was a real shocker), some insight into how Derek started to take more notice of Chloe, and how he felt about "using" her to get Simon to go on the run; and even some insight into how much Simon was honest-to-God pining after Chloe (see the quote, friggin' adorable and yet so sad).
Bottom line? If you love the Darkest Powers trilogy, you'll love Divided. It's a story I hadn't even known I'd wanted, and I am so glad it's been told.
FYI - If you're looking for some more great Darkest Powers stories, Kelley had completed three that are available here. She's currently in the middle of another story set post-The Reckoning, which you can follow on the Darkest Powers blog. Oh, and apparently the Enthralled anthology (edited by Melissa Marr) coming out in September is also going to be post-The Reckoning, set 2-3 weeks after the end of the book and told from Chloe's POV. Needless to say that that news got the book onto my wishlist!