Nov 182016

Cover for Shadowed Souls edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes.Publishers Weekly: The morally gray heroes of this urban fantasy anthology refute the idea that all magic users are either good or evil. Butcher opens with his own “Cold Case,” the heart-wrenching story of a young woman trying to reconcile her new and terrible power with the duty she must perform. Seanan McGuire’s “Sleepover” follows nicely, revealing a world where magical people are reviled and unwelcome. Tanya Huff’s “If Wishes Were,” the grim story of a vampire holding desperately to her humanity through the man she loves, rounds out a powerful opening, but from here the anthology begins to lose momentum. Several stories are amusing but not exceptional. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Sales. Force.” revives the flagging collection, but the final story, “Impossible Monsters” by Rob Thurman, falls flat, adding an incidental magical element to the tired trope of a serial killer who goes after evildoers. Not every story will appeal to every reader, but the best of them truly shine.