Welcome to the first Summer Shorts post for 2011! I decided to revive this little feature, reviewing two short stories every Saturday of July and August, 2011. I am going to try to feature different authors or anthologies every week, and this week I’m staring with… The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance
Pack by Jeaniene Frost
(Author of the Night Huntress Series – Goodreads)
Thoughts: I was not at all a fan of Jeaniene’s Night Huntress series – I know lots of people think it is the best thing since sliced bread, but all I could see when I open the pages was “Buffy Fanfiction” in bright, flashing letters. But I thought perhaps with different characters, I might might learn to enjoy her writing. And I am pleased to say that I did!
Pack isn’t exactly fantastic. It’s a short story written in as though it were a novel… rather like a mini-novella. That kind of style really does not work when you only have a couple thousand words to get through. And yet, in spite of the style, Jeannie still managed to create interesting 3D characters, a solid universe, and an almost believable were-romance.
Almost believable, you ask? Well, keep in mind this is a short story – a short story that takes place in “real time”. So the were-romance does descend into the pits of the “we are mates and you are mine, growl” trope. But when that comes from a rather-sexy werewolf? I don’t really mind.
Bottom line? Not bad at all. Worth the 20 minutes it will take you to read it.
How to Date a Superhero by Jean Johnson
Thoughts: Wow, this story was terrible. The writing was depressingly amateur, the characters less-than-one dimensional and the plot non-existent. This is most certainly not a case of me disliking a story for its content – because there wasn’t really a story for me to dislike. And in a way, that is far far worse.
So, what exactly was the problem? Well, first off, the plot was rather stupid: spandex-wearing superheroes are “out” and are minor celebrities in their own right. There’s only so far a girl can suspend her disbelief… certainly not far enough to understand why people would wear spandex if they didn’t need to.
Then there was the pacing – or lack thereof. The story starts with a meeting that takes up about half the word count and is – in the end – utterly pointless. It felt like the first chapter of a tedious novel; I honestly would have stopped reading if it hadn’t been a short story. And finally, there was the “romance” angle – in which the two characters simply tell each other, “oh dear, I do rather fancy you”, and then live happily ever after. What. The. Hell.
Bottom line? Just… don’t.