Short Story by: Charlaine Harris – Part of An Apple for Creature Anthology
Published on: September 4, 2012
Published by: Ace Hardcover
Reviewed by: Maria G.
Publisher’s Blurb: What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms.
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s story, “Playing Possum,” Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew’s entire class but finds she’s one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up.
As this site started off as a site dedicated to Sookie Stackhouse, I will be reviewing Playing Possum, but I will mention two more tales from the anthology later on in this review.
If you are only interested in seeing who Sookie beds or who she chooses, this is not the short story for you. But, if you are interested in seeing Sookie continue her path to becoming a resilient and self-reliant heroine, than this is the story for you. I have to admit that watching Sookie make choices that make her life more and more down to earth, such as having a stake in Merlotte’s and trying to have those ordinary relationships like the one she has with her “nephew” make her more and more interesting to me. It’s in these ordinary moments that you see Sookie as she has always wanted to be… normal.
As the blurb explains, we see Sookie do what every Aunt has done for her nephew or niece and that is bake some cupcakes for a school party. She does this happily, even though she suspects this is a test of sorts and all seems to go well as she follows through with her nephew’s wish. Yet, as it always happens with Sookie, the simplest of tasks can become a harrowing experience.
Taking a page from the headlines…
With the help of a local witch named Sabrina Yarnell and Officer Sherry Javitts, Sookie attempts to do the unthinkable. She tries to take down a disgruntled ex-love of the school secretary who is hell bent on not only killing the secretary, but taking down the entire school with his uncontrollable rage. At stake are the innocent lives of hundreds of kindergarteners and the school staff.
What I loved in this story was the interaction between Sookie and Hunter. Yes, they are related and they are both telepaths, but the moments described in this story solidify their relationship and it may be the most stable relationship that Sookie has ever had. When she catches him in an embrace and he is so happy that she has appeared with the cupcakes in tow, that moment is one of the top 10 moments in the series for me.
Knowing that there is only one book left in the series and between the last book and this short story, all I can do is feel sad that in a matter of months we will have to read Sookie ride off into the sunset.
With that stated, should you buy this anthology?
Well, I know that everyone likes specific authors. So, if you like any of the other authors in the anthology, such as Ilona Andrews, Marjorie Liu, Toni L.P. Kelner, etc… than this book is the book for you.
I actually really liked Ilona’s tale (Magic Tests) that revolved around Julie from the Kate Daniels series. Julie, along with Brook (straight A student), Barka (class clown) and telekinetic Lisa, contend with a Yu Fong, whom everyone believes is in the mafia. Julie and Yu’s relationship is quite interesting and you can see that he will be someone she will have to deal with from this point on.
I have to admit that this tale screams that Julie deserves her own spin-off and let’s cross our fingers that Ilona makes this happen.
One of the stronger tales in the anthology was Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie Liu, in it we find a girl who is torn between her loyalty to her mentor in magic and the fact that being able to use magic is like a double-edged sword and what is at stake is her soul.
All in all, I think picking this anthology up is a wise idea. It is something perfect for those of you who love paranormal/sci-fi tales, but have the attention span of a gnat.
I give this anthology 4.5 out of stars.