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Publisher's Summary

Come one, come all! The Carniepunk Midway promises you every thrill and chill a traveling carnival can provide. But fear not! Urban fantasy's biggest stars are here to guide you through this strange and dangerous world....

Rachel Caine's vampires aren't child's play, as a naive teen discovers when her heart leads her far, far astray in "The Cold Girl." With "Parlor Tricks" Jennifer Estep pits Gin Blanco, the Elemental Assassin, against the Wheel of Death and some dangerously creepy clowns. Seanan McGuire narrates a poignant, ethereal tale of a mysterious carnival that returns to a dangerous town after 20 years in "Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea." Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid and his wisecracking Irish wolfhound discover in "The Demon Barker of Wheat Street" that the impossibly wholesome sounding Kansas Wheat Festival is actually not a healthy place to hang out. With an eerie, unpredictable twist, Rob Thurman reveals the fate of a psychopath stalking two young carnies in "Painted Love."

©2013 Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, Allison Pang, Kelly Gay, Delilah S. Dawson, and Kelly Meding (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

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Its A Separate 14 Short Stories

When i got this book, I have assumed that all these characters from all these authors will be mixing together, but nope, you have 14 short stories each one is based in a carnival, I will give you a quick review for these stories

1- Painted Love:
It was a weird story about a guy with a monkey tattoo who comes alive.. honestly, i was lost during this story. 2 stars.

2- The 3 lives of lydia by delilah s dawson
I liked this story, interesting and had a sad but unexpected ending.

3- The demon barker of wheat street by kevin Hearne
This was one of the reasons for buying this book, i am a big fan of the Iron Druid series. Here you have your favourite 3 characters, and your usual interesting story. The story itself was fine, they went to a carnival and many things happened there (its a short story, quick and short can't review that much) but narration was the worst, we are used to Luke Daniels's narration, Kirby Heyborne was good, but when he narrated Oberon, it came out a a serious voice, and that was just wrong.. story 5 stars, narration 2 stars (only for this book)

4- The sweeter the juice by mark henry
weird post zombie apocalypse short story, which is focused on trans-genders life with no doctors to help, as most died from the zombie apocalypse. Putting that aside, i was really bored from this book, half of it didn't make any sense, and the other half was boring.. and its ending was a bit weird as well.. i thought there would be 10 or 15 minutes left to finish, and all the sudden it ended... 2 stars

5- The WereWife by Jaye Wells
I liked this book, the plot was good, and the ending was unexpected. The story here is about a man and his wife who turned into a werewolf and he is trying to deal and live with it, then the carnival comes and he tries to fix what started there. And the narration here was good. 4 stars.

6- The Cold Girl by Rachel Caine
Another good story here, it talks about a girl who has a boyfriend for a killer, Before she finds that out they go to the carnival and the carnival help her in their own interesting way. 4 stars.

7- A Duet with Darkness by Allison Pang.
This wasn't a bad book, i liked it, but i think this is more appropriate for those who know the series already. 3 stars for me.

8- recession of the divine by Hillary Jacques
I didn't like this book much, it was about a girl who was a greek goddess or something and became human and works as an insurance investigator.. thats just weird.. i didn't understand much of this story, and didn't like it at all. 1 star

9- Parlor Tricks by Jennifer Estep.
This was the other reason for buying this book. I am a fan of the elemental assassin series. Its a quick story about Gin and her sister go to the carnival to find someone, and they end up finding that someone but not in a good situation 5 stars.

10- Freak House by Kelly Meding
Its about a girl who her father was captured by a carnival and she tries to free him with the help of some people she met. i liked this book 3 stars.

11- The Inside Man by Nicole Peeler
I haven't read Nicole Peeler's books before, but i did like this one, this book is a part of the Jane True series. When I started this story, i have assumed that i will not understand anything, but nope, it was easy and felt familiar somehow although i didn't hear about this series before. Its a good one. 4 stars.

12- A Chance in Hell by Jackie kessler
Another series which i didn't hear about, and this short story was a part of it, and it felt familiar as well. its a bout an ex-demon who became a human. in this short story she goes to the carnival with her friend who gets into trouble. I really liked this one, hope that it will come to audible some time soon. 4 stars.

13- Hell's Menagerie by Kelly Gay
This is another short story from a series, but didn't like it much, it took a while to get to know these characters a bit, and the story plot was ok but nothing amazing or great.
its about 2 kids who go to hell to rescue hell hound pups, which were stolen by a carnival. 3 stars.

14- Daughter of The Midway by Seanan McGuire
This is about a mermaid who joined a carnival and had a daughter who is one as well. This carnival goes to Alabama for a show but some people try to take the little mermaid. Not a bad story. 3 stars.

So this is my longest review i have ever written. I hope you find these reviews quick and useful. If you want a set of magical short stories, then this books is a good choice.

46 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Cliff
  • madison, MS, United States
  • 08-16-13

CarniePunk not a great listen

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The stories would have had to have been much better. They were all fairly short and many were weird to the point of being almost incomprehensible. The only way to make this a 4 or 5 star would have been to get better writers, narrarators and make the Kevin Hearne story (only one worth listening to) much longer.

The stories were strange, and not in the good way. The best point was that most were short so you wouldn't be annoyed for long. The carnie link was weak at best in several of the stories and some were more romance stories more than urban fantasy. I rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes this time. If you are a hardcore Kevin Hearne fan it might be worth a credit otherwise I'd say pass on this one.

Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

Only Kevin Hearne. I bought this strictly for his story and hoped that I might find a new author or two to follow. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

What three words best describe Candace Thaxton and Kirby Heyborne ’s performance?

Candace Thaxton Sultry, lively, Worst British accent of all time (not one word but has to be noted)

Kirby Heyborne Nasal, Effiminate, mispronunciations.

Ms. Thaxton had a very pleasing voice. It was sultry and enjoyable. While her standard voice is nice she does not have a lot of range so all her voices sound pretty much the same. She misprononuced a number of words but that is no big deal for me although it might bother someone else. I have to note she has one of the worst attempts at a British accent I have ever heard. She couldn't even keep it for a full sentence. Often she tried to speak faster to cover it. I found it more amusing than annoying.

Mr. Heyborne had a very effiminate voice. In some ways he sounded less manly than Ms. Thaxton. He could do a multitude of voices, but his standard narration voice is high, effiminate and offputting. He has the capability to do better mens voices and did so. He should just apply them to his standard voice and he would be much better off. He had a lot of mispronunciations as well. These don't bother me but I note it for others that might find this aggravating.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The Kevin Hearne story was good. Also, several of the authors have potential to be intersting, but seem to need to work on their writing a bit first. Despite what it may have appeared I did like Ms. Thaxton's voice. She just needs to work on her range and British accent.

Any additional comments?

I can't recommend this one. Even if you are a major Kevin Hearne fan the story isn't enough to justify spending a credit.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Brandon
  • CHANDLER, AZ, United States
  • 07-31-13

Come one, come all, the carnival is in town!

Overall I jumped into Carniepunk looking for a smattering of short stories to cleanse the palette of novels requiring a longer time commitment (ie: Wheel of Time, Dresden Files). The swirling cavalcade of attractions, seedy individuals, and colorful tents festooned with bright lights provides an excellent atmosphere for the unexpected to happen.

-The Good-
1. There are many great short stories that paint the living life of the carnival in many unique ways.
2. Each story requires a short commitment of time letting you come back to Carniepunk without feeling story fatigue/burnout.
3. Candace Thaxton provides a stellar performance and a dynamic vocal range that will keep you engaged.
4. Demonic soul-sucking clowns (no further explanation required).

-The Bad-
1. Some of the stories feel uninspired and create a polarizing difference from the stronger ones in book.
2. Several authors only give the carnival a brief mention before moving on into their own universe.
3. If you listen to other works by these authors (ie: Iron Druid Chronicles) the change in voice actor might throw a monkey wrench into a particular stories enjoyment.

Carniepunk as a whole I would give a 3.75/5. The voice acting will keep you engaged and many of the authors clearly had fun writing these stories. Regardless of where you live there is most likely a sense of fun and folly that you associate with the carnival/fair. This creates vivid moments of chilling comprehension which is fun. The only downside that holds Carniepunk back is that several uninspired and bland stories.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Powderly, KY, United States
  • 11-04-13

Very Cool Stories!

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed all the stories. Listening to some of my favorite characters, such as the Iron Druid series, in a different voice was strange but the stories made up for it. The Cold Girl and Painted Love were my personal favorites.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Brewster, NY, United States
  • 08-05-13

Fool me once....

Well the problem I have is that I buy these story collections because an author I like puts his name on it. Aside from one story having to do with the Iron Druid series the rest were no where near the quality of Mr. Hearne. As for that one Iron Druid story..some other narrator did Oberons voice...and it totally ruined the experience.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Could not listen to it

I am 100% sure this is not a human voice narrating the story. I could not bring myself to listen to the book at all.

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  • Ed
  • 07-10-17

mostly juvenile

Intrigued by the concept, and a fan of Kevin Hearne, I decided to give this collection a listen. To my disappointment, Kevin Hearne's story was one of only 3 I found of any interest, and even that was far from one of his best. The stories all seemed the writings of inexperienced authors in their early teens, following predictable and generic plots of romance with dark fantasy shoe-horned in. The main characters themselves seemed like blatant self-inserts simply for the sake of fulfilling personal fantasies made falsely deep with what are often referred to as "Mary-sue" tropes.

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Love anthologies

I always love anthologies my favorites writers are a part of. It always leads me to other amazing authors. This collection contains some great stories, and I've gone through goodreads and audible to pick up one of each of the authors I've never read before.

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Not what I expected

I basically bought this book because of Kevin Hearne. His story and a few others were great! However, the other stories either did not make sense or were extremely boring. I had to force myself to keep listening to this book. I'm not sure if this was a worthwhile purchase.

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Where to start... Some good short stories that could have been portrayed better. IMO
Candace Thaxton is a strange one. I usually enjoy her narration but during this book I found at times a clunky, off rhythm, to parts of her work today. Difficult to explain but it was as if she were reading a poem or something by Christopher Walken, I'd imagine.
And the there is a Kevin Hearne, Iron Druid book not read by Luke Daniels. A tough act to live up to. And not that Mr Hayborne does anything wrong but his Oberon just isn't Oberon.
Shame, I was looking forward to this book.