Review of Hexed: Stories of Magic and Mayhem
While scanning my local bookstore’s used section (also known as the best section), I came across Hexed, an anthology that features four novellas written by four bestselling authors – Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James, and Jeanne C. Stein. The first thing to catch my eye was the book’s headline which noted that it’s a "collection of thrilling novellas featuring powerful women who know how to handle a hex or two." Hurray for badass women and magic! The second was that one of the novellas is a vampire tale, another has a vampire main character and a third mentions vampires. So of course I went home with the book.
The only novella in this book that stars a vampire is Blood Debt by Jeanne C. Stein. In the story bounty-hunter-turned-vampire Anna Strong is visited by three witches who ask her to right a magical wrong. I was honestly disappointed by this one, it was cookie cutter urban fantasy. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t memorable either. I am sure the Anna Strong series as a whole is much better than this one story, but I have no interest in checking the books out after this little peek into the world of Anna Strong.
The one and only vampire-feature in Hexed may have been blah, but there was another story with a vampire (known as a Nightwalker) that was fantastic. In Allyson James' Double Hexed an assorted mix of incredibly powerful supernatural beings are magically trapped inside of hotel and must escape before they turn on one another. This story had a few twists and turns and was non-stop action. Not only did it have a vampire crazed by bloodlust, but there was a dragon, a witch, a god and more.
Then there was one other story that mentioned vampires. Ice Shards by Yasmine Galenorn is set in the author’s Otherworld universe, which has vampires. Ice Shards follows a sprite’s mission for truth. Along with a dragon, an incubus and a witch, she travels to a magical world to answer her questions and break a curse. There are no vampires in the story, but they do exist in the character’s world, which one reason I want to check out more of the author’s work. The other reason for wanting more is that Ice Shards is an excellent fantasy story full of magic, mystery and a wide assortment of mythological beings.
The fourth story, Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews, didn't have a single vampire in it and no mention of vampires. Boo! But, in spite of that it was still an incredible story of magic and Japanese mythology.
Overall, I really enjoyed Hexed and I am glad I picked it up. The one vampire story may not have been the greatest I ever read, but the rest of the book made up for it. I recommend the book even though it’s not all vampires.