No man who is master of his fate should ever reek of cheese.
Criminy Stain's observation may seem a bit out-of-place given the authors and characters in this anthology. Shouldn't it be more visceral or blood-related than cheese? Actually, no. Kevin Hearne explains:
I can’t recall precisely where I heard that tyromancy was actually a thing, but methinks it was during the summer of 2012. As soon as I knew it existed I knew I had to write about it, the way some people have to climb mountains or crack safes once they see them. And if I could find another couple of authors brave enough to do it, maybe we could produce the world’s first tyromancy-themed anthology. So my quest began and now here is the spiffy MacGuffin: THREE SLICES, or rather three stories where somebody along the way predicts the future via the coagulation of cheese.
So, he got a couple of other writers to contribute a story et voilà
, they've got themselves a pretty unique book. Honestly, I think if I knew the theme, I'd probably have picked this up earlier, rather than waiting until the release week for Hearne's Staked
(and really only then because he insisted his story was "vital" to read before the new book).
A Prelude to War
This happens within a week of Shattered (and ends a few hours before Staked, I think). And yeah, it turns out to be pretty vital for starting the latter. Sure, you could've pieced things together, I think (I'm only on page 10, so that's a guess) -- but why work that hard, when you could just spend a little time with Atticus and Oberon (and Granuaile and Orlaith)?
I sorta want to talk about all of it, but the story is so short, I'd end up spoiling too much. So let me just stay that this is fun, it's exciting, and the table it sets for Staked looks great.
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys
It took me a little work to really get a handle on what was going on here in this Blud story (and I'm pretty sure I only achieved B+ level of comprehension). I'm not sure if this is prequel-y or if it fits into the continuity of the series -- but it feels prequel-y.
It was creepy, dark, and moody. The tyromancy fit into a Twilight Zone-like part of the book. Then Criminy got into one of the more disgusting (appropriately so) fight scenes that I've read in the last few years.
On the one hand, I wouldn't object to spending more time in this world, but I can't see myself expending a whole lot of effort, either. Just not my thing. I think I'll stick to the Hit books for now.
Good, ol' reliable Chuck Wendig -- he can write dazzling sentences, character descriptions that I will dwell on for days, and yet I can barely stand to read him. I keep waiting for the lightning bolt that will change things and he will become one of my favorite readers. But I can't even get a static shock to make him someone I want to read -- particularly Miriam Black. Interlude: Swallow ain't gonna change that. Sorry, Mr. Windig. (I did chuckle mightily at Miriam's quoting Ralphie Parker). Miriam's rants about mornings, and then her comments on breakfast and then breakfast sandwiches probably made the time I spent worthwhile.
Overall, for me, this was really only worth the effort for Hearne's story -- but fans of Dawson's Blud series or Miriam Black should have plenty of reason to pick this up, too. If you happen to be a fan of all three series, you'll probably love this book.