Review: ‘Three Slices’ anthology

Three Slices

Three Slices presents three novellas by modern fantasy writers:

A Prelude to War by Kevin Hearne

After an old friend is murdered in retaliation for his mercenary strikes against the oldest vampires in the world, Atticus O’Sullivan must solicit the aid of another old friend in Ethiopia if he’s going to have a chance of finishing a war he never wanted. Meanwhile, Granuaile MacTiernan starts a private war of her own against Loki, the lord of lies, and if it brings Ragnarok early — so be it.

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys by Delilah S. Dawson

The number one rule of the circus? Don’t kill your volunteers, even accidentally. That’s how young magician Criminy Stain ends up on the run in a forest, where he meets a beautiful woman holding a bucket of blood. But is Merissa the answer to his prayers — or the orchestrator of his ruin?

Interlude: Swallow by Chuck Wendig

Miriam Black is back. Miriam is tired of her curse and finally believes she knows how to be rid of her ability to see when and how other people die. She follows a lead to the mountains of Colorado, where she believes she sees signs of a serial killer she thought she already killed. (Set between THE CORMORANT and THUNDERBIRD.)

It’s very rare to find an anthology where you’ve read all (and are up to date on the relevant series by) the contributing authors. It’s never happened to me before, at any rate! So of course when I saw Three Slices, which has stories by three awesome urban fantasy writers, I had to buy it.

I maybe should have guessed from the title, but all three stories have one thing in common: oracular cheese. (Yes, cheese.) That element was really cute, and was one of the things that tied the stories together. There were a few other things, some of them more subtle than others — Kevin Hearne gives a nod to Chuck Wendig’s heirloom apple obsession, for example, while Chuck uses the Polish expression that is the title of Delilah Dawson’s story. I loved seeing those little easter eggs sprinkled throughout.

On the stories themselves, I enjoyed all three, although Delilah’s story was probably my favourite, mainly because — of the three of them — it was the one that stands alone the most cleanly. For fans of her Blud series, seeing how Criminy Stain winds up in the circus he’s the ringmaster of in later books is very entertaining, and Criminy is still my favourite smoking hot magician vampire.

Wendig’s Swallow was a little peek at how Miriam is going; the mystery within the story is resolved internally, but does heavily reference previous books. (Also, note that although I enjoy Wendig’s raw style, it may not be for everyone — I shelve this series in “horror” on Goodreads for a reason.)

As for A Prelude to War, I did enjoy catching up with Atticus, Oberon and Granuaile, but this story is the least able to stand alone. If you haven’t read the series up till this point, you will be lost. Still, it was very satisfying to see Granuaile’s interaction with Loki, though.

Very, very satisfying.

Four stars

My entry into the Bad Query contest

Jessica Sinsheimer is running a Bad Query contest over at Tumblr. You should check it out, because it’s absolutely hilarious! I think the prize is a query critique, but honestly, that’s not why anyone is entering. 😉

Here’s my entry. For the love of God never write a query like this!

Hi Jessie,

I saw on Twitter that you really like cheese and seen as I really like cheese too I thought that you would be the perfect agent to buy my book, which is a cross between The Hunger Games and the Bible (it doesn’t currently have any cheese in it but i could add some if you think it would help you to seell the book to the Big Six or Five or whatever. Cause, you know, The Hunger Games is about hungry people adn who doesn’t like cheese anyway? I bet Jesus does, unless he’s a vegan. I’m not sure because I’ve never read the Bible. Don’t tell my mother!)/

My book is currently complete @ 25486 words long, although I am still editing it to add in extra scenes after getting feedback from my best friend and my boyfriend. I reckon when I’m done it will be 30000, easy.

Anyway, I have attached the full manuscript because while i know your website said to embed it in the email I thought you would be really keen to read it straight away and I didn’t want to slow you down. You’ll find I’m a super considerate client like that.

Oh, and have you seen Tim Minchin’s song called “Cheese”? I thought it could be our song. Watch it, you’ll see. We’re practically soul mates, you me and Tim!

Lots of love,

Brie Brewster

Here are a few of the things I did wrong:

* She refers to herself as Jessica on Twitter. For all I know “Jessie” one of her pet peeves! Get the name right, and use it the way the agent does.

* Agents don’t buy books. They offer representation. Publishers buy books.

* Spellchecker? What’s that? Proofreading? Ha!

* No genre or title has been provided. Also, the manuscript isn’t actually complete and 30,000 isn’t novel-length. And what’s the plot? Basically, everything that makes up the most important part of a query is missing!

* Sending attachments without being asked – that’s a paddlin’.

* The whole cheese thing… it’s nice to add a personal touch that shows you have actually done your research, but “Brie” took it way overboard. To stalker land!