From a funeral procession in Asia, to an ancestral estate deep in the heart of a vaguely Victorian forest, to a carriage accident in the vast universe of The Runelords, Unnatural Worlds takes listeners on a journey to the far side of the imagination. Funny, heartbreaking, frightening, but most importantly, memorable, the original stories in this anthology go places few writers dare reach. Unnatural Worlds marks the perfect start to the brand-new Fiction River anthology series.
Working at a sex & toy shop like Chinaman Joe's Good Luck Parlor keeps Cassie in smokes and off the streets. It isn't glamorous. But it's a life. Then again, Cassie is just normal - not one of the blessed. No paranormal abilities, no telepathy, no pre-cognition. Normal. But when someone kills Cassie's best friend in the alley behind the store, the police start looking at her hard, particularly when the post-cog on the case swears she's involved, somehow.
Xiao Yen is a paper mage: She folds paper into an animal or a thing, then does magic, so the paper becomes what she's folded. However, she's a woman trying to fill a man's roll during the Tang dynasty, in China, and the only people willing to hire her are foreigners. Things go from bad to worse for Xiao Yen on her first assignment. Before long, Xiao Yen must battle a warlord, attack a rat dragon, and destroy a Taoist immortal. But even bigger battles await Xiao Yen up ahead...
Franklin helps ghosts move from this world to the next. Sometimes that means giving a ghost a ride so they can confront their killer. Other times, it means listening to the wind in his fields and the trucks blowing down the interstate and hearing the songs a ghost needs to sing.
Franklin learns he must use an ancient, powerful blade to force the ghosts back Beyond. However, someone else wants that blade, for purposes that involve life and death, not just for the ghosts, but for all the living as well.
"Not as Good as the First Book"
Peter is interested in just three things: Dancing, finding a girlfriend, and hiding his raven soul. Peter is a raven warrior, an ancient race known for their assassination and fighting skills. Through secrecy and strict teaching, they've learned to cope with the modern world. When Peter meets Tamara, he knows she's different. Special. He doesn't learn until too late that she has secrets too. Tamara is a tiger warrior. And her kind are only interested in killing his kind.
Adele - the beautiful fairy queen with wings of clockwork - despairs when her husband, the master tinker, dies before he finishes the great machine that will reignite the human-fairy war and drive the humans away. When she meets Dale, a human boy with natural talent - who can finish the machine - she enslaves him and binds his will with her fairy magic. However, Dale's twin sister, Nora, who has only recently discovered that she is a maker and has power of her own, escapes before she can be taken as well.
When Francine's a little girl, she'll do just about anything for her papa. But as Francine grows older, she and Papa start fighting about everything - school, fiddling, and boys. Then the others come calling, fairies from no tale Francine has ever read. They ask her to come fiddle at their court, promising magic and all the music she wants. Francine gladly goes with them. When war starts between the two Creole fairy courts, the Seelie and the Unseelie, Francine finds she's fighting her papa again.
Travel to rainy Seattle and the see the world from the viewpoint of a private investigator who just happens to be a ghost, then go down to the creole fairy courts of Louisiana, learn the secrets of 9s and how the raven warriors take care of their own. Here are 13 tales of fantasy and wonder, sweet and savory, to fill you up just right.
Five years have passed. The worlds above and below have recovered and changed. The fairies from the Clockwork Kingdom return every year, asking for Dale's help in vain. This year Cornelius, the head of the fairies, brings dread news: Kostya has returned. The maker has taught herself what she could about magic, but no teacher has ever arrived. Finally a herald manages to break through the spells surrounding the town to warn Nora that something, perhaps a monster, has been keeping them at bay. And it is stalking her for her power and her life.
Kai never met Mama. But based on her own abilities, and those who call her kin, she knows Mama wasn't human. Kai finds things. In post-Katrina New Orleans, everyone's lost something, though most can't afford to pay. Kai's latest client, a siren, hires Kai to find her sister. Sirens need both men and water, and can call them. The kidnapped sister is being held on dry ground...while another storm brews off the coast of New Orleans.
Lukas first dreams about the end of the world when he's five. As a prince of the hound clan, he is steadfast and loyal, able to take the form of any hound. Yet, no one believes him except his grandmother. The shadows, a corrupting force determined to suck the life out of everything on Earth, have infected the hound court. How can Lukas survive to adulthood? Then battle non-corporeal creatures and save the world?