Carniepunk is an anthology of short stories by current and upcoming urban fantasy writers. I like reading anthologies every so often to fish for new writers/series to read. Each anthology has a basic premise to work with. From the title, I’m sure you got that all these stories are based around carnivals.
I, personally, have never been to a one of these types of carnivals. These are the road-side, traveling carnivals with the rattling rides and fried everything on a stick food. I’ve mainly just been to big name amusement parks, with the occasional county/state fair (not traveling, permanently in place rides and such).
Some of my favorite writers (Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire) contributed to this book and for the most part, its pretty good. Some of the stories just hit me the wrong way and I had to stop reading that story. Not a in a ‘that’s too creepy to read’ way but a ‘please work on your writing style way’. Some of them felt like writers with very little, if any, publications under their belt. And of course, some of them had the gratuitous sex scene. Because that’s required of urban fantasy I guess? Like I’ve said before, I have nothing against a good love scene but if your just throwing it in because you think its expected…please don’t. It should help the flow of the story some how. That’s why I had to stop reading Anita Blake stories. She needs to feed off sex all of a sudden. Really?
Anyway, moving on. The following writers have short stories in this anthology: Rob Thurman, Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne, Mark Henry, Jaye Wells, Rachel Caine, Allison Pang, Hillary Jacques, Jennifer Estep, Kelly Meding, Nicole Peeler, Jackie Kessler, Kelly Gay, and Seanan McGuire. Rob Thurman I think is easily the most original story of the lot. Some of these are stand alone stories (like Thurman’s) but some of them are short stories in one of the writer’s series (like Estep’s).
Carniepunk is worth a read I think, though I don’t believe carniepunk will ever be a subgenre of urban fantasy. Though if there are any urban fantasy writers out there capable of creating a series about supernatural carnies, please have at it. It would be pretty original to say the least! Rating: C+/B-. I wish that Amazon’s Kindle service would allow you to buy individual short stories, rather than the whole anthology. Anyone know if that’s possible?