P.N. Elrod, editor,
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
(St. Martin's Griffin, 2006)

My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, a collection of short stories of an urban fantasy bent, gathers together characters of various backgrounds and throws them into one of the most stressful, unnatural events ever devised by humankind: a wedding. Overall, the collection has some gems, although I found some paste alongside the jewels. Any review of this book would be remiss if it didn't include the word "uneven."

There are three authors whose involvement made this book a "must-have" for me: Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, and Charlaine Harris.

Butcher's story, "Something Borrowed," is an enjoyable side trip through the world of wizard detective Harry Dresden. Harry is called in as a last-minute replacement best man for the wedding of the werewolf couple, Billy and Georgia. When the bride goes missing, Harry uses his detective skills to save the day. Even though it's set in Dresden's world, it is not necessary that that reader have any exposure to those books to enjoy the story, although I'm certain his fans will get more out of it than novices. I don't know if the story is strong enough to convert non-fans into fans, but it's a nice introduction.

"Dead Man's Chest" by Caine tells a tale of mystery, intrigue and pirates. After a whirlwind courtship, the mousy Cecilia is hustled aboard a ship by her fiance, a romance-novel cover model named Ian. But after the ship has set sail, secrets are revealed that change everything. Who will save our intrepid heroine? As always, Caine's crisp style pushes the story to a satisfying conclusion. Her tongue is planted firmly in her cheek, making for sassy, diverting fun. Although I enjoyed the story, I find Caine's novels more satisfying.

Although it is not necessary to have read any of Harris's Southern Vampire series to understand her contribution "Tacky," in this case I believe familiarity with the world in which it is set would be a plus. Many details are not fully explained, which may leave the uninitiated scratching their heads. Once again, the author is writing in territiory that is well-known to her readers: vamps and weres. While enjoyable to fans of heroine Sookie Stackhouse, the story may leave non-fans cold. In order to get the most out of this story, the reader probably needs to be familiar with the politcal and social structures of the series.

Beyond the contributions of those three authors, I was pleasantly surprised by a few of the other stories. "The Wedding of Wylda Serene" by Esther M. Friesner may bring a new character to the world of bridal lore: the Motherzilla of the Bride. I found Lori Handeland's "Charmed by the Moon" refreshing and interesting, making me want to seek out more of this author's works. Editor of the book P.N. Elrod contributes a fun little romp in her "All Shook Up."

All in all, I would recommend My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding to fans of the genre, but not enthusiastically. The hits are great, but the misses sometimes miss the mark by a long shot.

review by
Belinda Christ

16 January 2010

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