Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween: One Last Frightening Short Story Review

Halloween has come and nearly gone, but I have one more short story review before I close out this month's short story theme.

Today's review is #3 in the Feast, Stray, Love Trilogy by Kevin Anthony.  The author gifted me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

Feast, Stray, Love - #1, #2 and Introducing #3Feast, Stray, Love - #1, #2 and Introducing #3 by Kevin Anthony
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good, scary, and funny, but not as much love in # 3 as expected.

Love is the third installment of this series and is full of twists and surprises.  Damien is still messed up in the head, but his powers, besides being handy and incredibly gory, are getting the better of him.  Meanwhile Maxine and Ava have both moved on to their Stray and Jaxom has moved on to his Love.  Damien is stuck in the kitchen of a quirky restaurant whose owner can't settle on a menu or a theme.  But, no matter the interesting and varied cuisine, it just can't seem to compete with the TFC Chicken across the street.

First off, this is a funny and, of course, explosive finale to the trilogy.  The mysterious factory, its purpose, and the mastermind behind it all are revealed.  The battle between good and evil sucks you right in, and Damien's superpowers and lovable friends make it fun.  The new friend Trey is interesting and likeable, but there seems to be more to him than is revealed in this installment.  Also, I couldn't exactly peg how he fits in with Damien.  I settled on protoge in the end. When I asked the author about him, he revealed there may be more books in the works, and Trey's story will be featured in more detail.

Besides the plot, humor is still prevalent, but in this case there are more one-liners but not as many natural laugh out loud moments. My favorite is still #2 Stray for its humor and deeper social plot, romantic tension and, of course, Sparkles, but #3 is a crazy, fun ride, and I liked it.

Another thing of note is that despite the title, there's not as much Love or incidental romance for Damien or his friends in this one, making me think the title's just a convenient one matching up with the self-help book featured in the story.  For those who prefer less romance, that might be a good thing, but I felt a little disappointed for Damien.  He's such a likeable guy, I really wanted him to hit it off with someone.

Now for the balance.  Despite liking this story, I couldn't fail to notice a lack of technical polish to it.  The word choice and flow are a bit off in spots, and for some reason the header listed this as #2 Love.  I also found a couple of spots where the text was centered, which I assume was an accident because those spots were just regular paragraphs.  I feel this book could use a couple more passes by someone with an eye for detail and a feel for transitions and lead-ins.

Overall, this is a good book, humorous, scary and more action packed than it's predecessors.  I'd recommend it to people who enjoy a quick read in the horror genre with just a touch of m-m romance.  As for the series as a whole, I'd recommend it. Not for the kids, though.

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