Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: Chicks Kick Butt

Chicks Kick Butt
Chicks Kick Butt by Rachel Caine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmm. Well, there were chicks. And they kicked butt. So it wasn't like the title lied to me, or anything. Still, I was overall disappointed.

The stories were all very different, with different sorts of women kicking butt. The ones I enjoyed most were the ones with no supernatural reason for doing so. The two featuring ordinary human women drawn to doing the right thing made me want to read more (Carol Nelson Douglas and P. N. Elrod wrote those two, if you were curious). It wasn't the supernatural elements, themselves, that turned me off most of the rest of the women in these stories. Rather, it was the great pains that the authors had to take to find things that would threaten their kick-butt chicks so that I would feel they were in any danger.

I also didn't appreciate how each story dropped me in. Generally, I read anthologies to see who's worth reading, not because I've read every single one of the back stories and want to see more. But each story seemed to take place in an already-established world that was like stepping through a portal into some harsh reality I had five minutes to figure out. It was disorienting, after the first three. I would've liked to read a prequel, or a story that has nothing to do with previously written-about characters. An awful lot of the magic and powers felt like they were convenient for the plot, rather than something that was established several books ago as something she can do.

This would be a lot more enjoyable for UF fans who have already read these authors' stories, or at least a good chunk of them. While I like the idea of an anthology full of strong women's stories, this did not live up to my expectations. I would've liked it a lot more if I already knew the worlds and various mythos. Most of them were well-written, but I spent way too much time recovering from the whiplash of adjusting to each mythology to really enjoy them.

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