A pair of reviews for the impressive LED ASTRAY: THE BEST OF KELLEY ARMSTRONG.
(photo: Kathryn Hollinrake)
Reading Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong was an interesting and pleasant reading experience for me, because I hadn’t yet read anything by Kelley Armstrong (I was aware of her and knew who she is, but unfortunately I hadn’t had an opportunity to read any of her novels or stories). I’m glad I could read this collection, because I found myself enjoying it and was fascinated by the stories.
I don’t normally read urban fantasy, because I consciously tend to avoid it due to the sad fact that a lot of urban fantasy novels and stories are simply not worth reading. I’ve often been more or less disappointed with the low quality and poor entertainment values of many urban fantasy novels, because it’s very frustrating to read about shallow happenings and Barbie-and-Ken-like characters who fall head over heels in love with supernatural beings and have all kinds of sex with them without any kind of sense or style. Fortunately, this collection turned to be entertaining and was worth reading, because the stories were good and interesting.
Now that I’ve read this collection, I have to mention that I’m convinced of Kelley Armstrong’s writing skills. She’s one of the few urban fantasy authors who seem to be at home in many different sub-genres of speculative fiction, which is rare. She knows how to entertain her readers and delivers good and addictive stories that easily hook her readers.
Kelley Armstrong has a nice way of surprising her readers with unexpected twists and turns. I was pleasantly surprised by the twists in these stories, because the author had added interesting twists to many of her stories. For example, “A Haunted House of Her Own” has an interesting twist at the end that works well.
What separates Kelley Armstrong from many other urban fantasy authors is her ability to add good characterisation to her stories. Her characters are interesting and they have lives and problems of their own that are of interest to the readers.
I give this collection strong four stars for its entertainment values. (To be honest, some of the stories deserve five stars, because they’re excellent.)
If you enjoy reading entertaining urban fantasy, you will most likely enjoy Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong, because it contain entertaining and fascinating stories. It will be of special interest to fans of Kelley Armstrong, but also to readers who enjoy urban fantasy and works by such authors as Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison. If you’re into urban fantasy and want to read entertaining stories, I think that you’ll enjoy this collection. It’s a collection with an emphasis on entertainment and style.
My final words are:
Led Astray is a good short story collection for readers who enjoy reading urban fantasy novels and stories. It’s excellent escapism for urban fantasy readers!
I have to say that this book isn’t an easy read. It contains stories containing child abuse, rape, suicide and lots of terrible grief and tragedy. It’s not an easy read, but it is a powerful one which is truly excellently written. I can’t emphasise this enough, the writing is excellent and the emotional impact of the stories because of that is, at times, gut wrenching. Coming from the Otherworld series I never expected something so dark or a book that would throw in so many emotional gut punches – but I have to say I’m impressed, deeply impressed by almost every story in this book.
For more information on LED ASTRAY: THE BEST OF KELLEY ARMSTRONG, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story