My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, edited by P.N. Elrod
June 15, 2007
This is easily my favorite urban fantasy anthology. Often these types of books frustrate me because they tend to have only one or two really good stories. At best, many anthologies have too much filler, and at worst some authors really don’t seem to give a crap (like when Laurell K. Hamilton used a short story that was actually an excerpt from her next book).
Despite my low expectations for urban fantasy story collections, I had high hopes for My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding. I liked that it had a theme, especially one as interesting as wedding stories. It looked like a good mix of authors I’ve already enjoyed and folks who were new to me, which is always a bonus. Here’s a list of the stories and a few impressions:
- “Spellbound” by L.A. Banks
In “Spellbound,” the feuding Hatfield and McCoy families use voodoo rather than brute force to fight their battles. The basic idea is very Romeo and Juliet. But thankfully when Odelia Hatfield and Jefferson McCoy decide to marry, they have more support than Shakespeare’s lovers.
- “Something Borrowed” by Jim Butcher
Dresden Files fans will be happy to see a Harry story set at Billy and Georgia’s wedding. In one of the earlier books in the series, Dresden and the werewolf couple made a powerful enemy who decides it’s time for revenge. But the story should be enjoyable even for readers who haven’t been following the series.
- “Dead Man’s Chest” by Rachel Caine
This is a supernatural pirate tale, unconnected to Caine’s Weather Wardens series. It was fun enough, but highly predictable and I found Caine’s protagonist pretty annoying. I’m probably being a bit too harsh because pirates have been so overdone in the past couple of years.
- “All Shook Up” by P.N. Elrod
An Elvis impersonator with an uncanny resemblance to the real thing makes an impression on the caterer of a celebrity wedding. I thought this was the most original story of the lot, and a lot of fun. I liked Elrod’s approach to the wedding theme, by having the hired help as the main characters.
- “The Wedding of Wylda Serene” by Esther M. Friesner
I love the prose style of this one. It’s about a wedding that’s planned at a country club with an unusual problem. The setup is fantastic, but I have mixed feelings about the resolution because it got a little cheesy.
- “Charmed by the Moon” by Lori Handeland
An earlier story included a werewolf wedding, but in this setting the werewolves are more monstrous. This story includes characters from Handeland’s Nightcreatures series, but they’re taking a break from hunting shapeshifters to question their motives for getting married. This is one of the most romance-oriented stories in the collection, which means it wasn’t exactly my thing.
- “Tacky” by Charlaine Harris
This story is set in the same world as the author’s Southern Vampire stories, but doesn’t use the same characters. It’s about an unusual wedding, the thought of this marriage doesn’t really thrill either the bride’s vampire nest or the groom’s werewolf pack. It’s a must-read for any Harris fan, her characters are entertaining as they navigate the awkward social situation. There’s enough action to keep things moving, and the wedding ceremony itself is, uh, to die for. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
- “A Hard Day’s Night-Searcher” by Sherrilyn Kenyon
This is the other really romance-heavy entry, though there was more excitement than in Handeland’s story. It felt like Kenyon cheated on the theme. There was a wedding scene, but it was hardly central to the plot. The main characters could have just as easily crashed a birthday party or a book club meeting. Not that the supernatural creatures involved struck me as the book club type, but you get the point. The main character jumped from lust to serious life-altering commitment in a disturbingly short amount of time, which always bugs me.
- “…Or Forever Hold Your Peace” by Susan Krinard
The anthology closes with this supernatural mystery. The alternate history victorian setting was a treat, I was sad to learn that Krinard has only one other short story that uses it. The story starts out with a dramatic interrupted wedding followed by the disappearance of the bride. The main characters are a young man and woman who each have inherited supernatural talents that they put to use helping the groom figure out what happened. There are enough twists to keep everyone guessing. I liked the style of this story a lot, and hope to read a full length novel about the characters in the future.
This collection has really raised the bar for urban fantasy anthologies, which is nice to see. The upcoming Many Bloody Returns is a birthday themed set of stories that looks like it will feature many of the same authors, and My Big, Fat Supernatural Honeymoon has been announced but there’s no release date yet.