My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding

Sunday, July 15, 2012
Edited by P.N. Elrod

This anthology contains nine stories of weddings and the supernatural. Contributing authors include Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine and Susan Krinard. I'd characterize most of the stories as bodice-rippers with occult touches.
Liked:
Something Borrowed,
by Jim Butcher
It's not Harry Dresden's wedding but rather that of Billy and Georgia, leaders of the local werewolf pack. However, on the day of the wedding, the bride seems to have gone missing … or has she?


Tacky,
by Charl
aine Harris
This is both funny and topical. Dahlia, a centuries-old vampire, is researching non-magical folks' weddings for her friend's upcoming nuptials ("There was a cage full of doves …. Perhaps they were intended for a ritual sacrifice?") But her friend is also a vampire, and the biggest roadblock to the wedding is something no amount of research can help: it's a mixed wedding … the groom is a werewolf. To say the two groups are not overly fond of each other is an understatement. Imagine a Hatfield/McCoy wedding and you get the overall ambience. Then too, vampires are out of the coffin, so to speak, but werewolves are still … in the woods? Basically, non-magical folk are aware of the existence of vampires but not of werewolves. So to the non-magical population, this looks like a marriage between a vampire and a mortal — which is absolutely illegal. And there are fanatics — from each of the three groups, it seems — who will stop at nothing to see that the wedding doesn't happen.

…Or Forever Hold Your Peace,
by Susan Krinard
This is set in Victorian England — but not the one in your history books. Here, lands and riches and titles are not the only things handed down — so too are magical abilities. But unlike other inheritances, Talent does not necessarily go to the firstborn. (Also, children can inherit a "Residual" form of a magical talent from a parent.)
Wild Magic is something else; it is "not quite respectable," carrying as it does "the stigma of illegitimacy and the Cymry and Eirish rebellions …."
As the story opens, a man interrupts a wedding at the "if anyone here can show just cause" point. He stops abruptly, visibly terrified, and runs from the church. The guests hear a scream and then silence. Everyone pours out of the church to find the man lying dead at the foot of the steps. Shortly thereafter the bride disappears.
This brings the distressed groom to Lady Olivia Dowling and her friend, Christopher ("Kit") Meredith, to help find the bride — and find out what's going on. Olivia is a respected member of society; she carries some "Residual" talent and is the most likely heir to her grandmother's Talent. Kit is from the less respectable side of the magical tracks: he is a shapeshifter who can turn into "Old Shuck" (a ghostly black dog said to roam the Norfolk, Essex and Suffolk coastline).
This was my favourite story among the nine. I like alternative histories to begin with; the people were believable, and the end has a neat twist to it. There was also a refreshing lack of purple prose. A quick Internet search indicates Krinard has written only two short stories based on Lady Dowling and Kit. I hope she writes more.

Didn't Much Like:
Spellbound,
by
L.A. Banks
This story would have been better if the author had not used dialect throughout the story. Dialect is one of those things in which less is more, in my opinion. Too much and you risk making the story more work than it's worth -- or just plain annoying. I realize there is a whole world of different styles of English out there -- but please, any author writing for the mass market should make a serious attempt to write most of his/her story in fairly standard English.

All Shook Up,
by P.N. Elrod
I must confess that I gave up a few pages into this story. I am not an Elvis Presley fan. I can only take Presley and Presley-mania in very small doses and don't by any means consider him to be the ultimate sex symbol of all time. The story's narrator would obviously disagree with me.



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