by Kelley Armstrong
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With her signature twists and turns, New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong (Otherworld, Cainsville, Darkest Powers, Age of Legends) always gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies. She is equally exciting when traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even feudal Japan. Here is the first time that urban fantasy, young adult, mystery, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. From humorous to heart-stopping, and including two original tales, Led Astray showcases Armstrong at her versatile best.
Fans of Kelley Armstrong are sure to love Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong. Within its pages are short stories of various lengths. Some are from the wonderful series she has created and others are standalone. I am currently reading her Cainsville series, but thanks to these short stories I fully intend to begin the Otherworld series this winter.
Spoiler free thoughts on the stories within Led Astray
- Rakshashi (standalone) – This was a nice little standalone and introduced us to Amrita. She is a Rakshashi who is doing penance for the life she lived previously. I found the myth and story to be interesting. Armstrong delivered a twist at the end that I quite enjoyed.
- Kat (Darkest Powers universe, non-series narrator) Kat is set in the world of the Darkest Powers series, a young adult series. This was action packed as young Kat and a vampire named Marguerite flew from those who purse them. I found Kat’s story interesting her past, why she is with Marguerite and what she is. If this is a sample of the Darkest Powers world I want more.
- A Haunted House of Her Own (standalone)- This was good and a perfect tale to share on Halloween. A young couple renovating a “haunted” bed & breakfast with a twisted twist.
- Learning Curve (Otherworld universe, Zoe) This was short, but I loved Zoe. She is snarky, and her interaction with her stalker made me want to learn more about both of them.
- The Screams of Dragons (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator) This was dark and creeptastic. Those who haven’t read the series need not worry, but it will give you a taste of Cainsville and perhaps make you shiver.
- The Kitsune’s Nine Tales (Age of Legends universe, non-series narrator) This tells the story of a warrior sentenced to death in the Dead Forest, he is escorted by three of the king’s guards. Their leader has been warned at how clever Alvar is and we witness his warnings come to fruition. This offered a clever twist.
- Last Stand (standalone) This was a post-apocalyptic story about a group of survivors holding up in an old farm. Armstrong delivered a jaw-dropping twist with this one, showcasing her ability to craft clever tales. I was impressed.
- Bamboozled (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator) A band of outlaw thieves who are more than they seem. The story takes place in the Dakota Territories in the year 1877. The paranormal twist was interesting and has me curious about the Otherworld universe.
- Branded (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator) The more I read about the Otherworld the more interested I become. This story begins within the walls of a human compound where humans have separated themselves from supernatural beings. The town discovers that a young man among them is a werewolf. We learn what they do to him and then Armstrong weaves a crafty tale.
- The List (Otherworld universe, Zoe) I was so excited to visit with Zoe again, I quite like this character.
- Young Bloods (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator) The metro, vampires and a clever twist made this one a winner.
- The Door (standalone, original to this collection) This was unique and the perfect tale to share. It highlights Armstrong’s talents at weaving a captivating tale.
- Dead Flowers by a Roadside (standalone) Grab the truffles and tissues before starting this one. Not a favorite.
- Suffer the Children (standalone) I loved Addie and Armstrong brought her to life in this dark and disturbing tale. This is not for the faint of heart. *shivers*
- The Collector (standalone) Stick with this even if at first you are a tad confused because it become very interesting. I loved the puzzle boxes and Armstrong delivered.
- Gabriel’s Gargoyles (Cainsville universe, Gabriel) Now this is a series I am reading, so I was excited for this story. I love learning more about Gabriel and Armstrong shared some deets as Gabriel finds the last gargoyle.
- Harbinger (standalone) Ghosts, and a young woman who I felt deeply for. This one kept me on edge.
- V Plates (Otherworld universe, Nick) In this story we meet Nick, Reese and Noah. I haven’t read the Otherworld stories yet, but this was interesting with a touch of humor. Each taste I get of this world has me craving more.
- Life Sentence (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator) Daniel is determined to become immortal. This was weird, and it took me a while to get a sense of the characters but the author pulled it all together.
- Plan B (standalone) This little mystery with is unlikable cast of characters offered up a thrilling suspense. While I figured some aspects out the author managed to surprise me in the end.
- The Hunt (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator) A really short story set in the world of Cainsville and based on mythology. This had potential but it was just too short to sink my teeth into.
- Dead to Me (standalone) This reminded me of those campfire stories where you end up scratching your head at the end and thinking, “What the heck just happened?”
- Devil May Care (Cainsville universe, Patrick, original to this collection) I enjoyed this, but feel a little like I out the cart before the horse. I have not read Visions yet..but guess who is starting it STAT. Devil May Care renewed my excitement for the series.
Led Astray is a wonderful collection for fans of Kelley Armstrong and for those curious about her work. All the stories even those set within her series worked as standalone giving readers a taste of her writing and a look into the worlds she has created. My personal favorites were; Last Stand, The Door, and Suffer the Children.
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