Synopsis: The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town. It is a place of contradictions—the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker’s seductive call. It is a place of illusion—is that woman’s beard real? How can she live locked in that watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleight of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on. One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show. To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns—or maybe some magic of one’s own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed, Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.


Painted Love – Rob Thurman
I had not yet had the opportunity to read books by Rob Thurman but I saw some of them on many blogs. And I admit that this novella made me curious about his writings. It was interesting to follow Doodle and to understand who this intriguing character was. A dark little love story about circus and violence.

The Three Lives of Lydia – Delilah S Dawson
This is the first story of this author that I read too. I heard so many great things about her books that I was curious about this story. I just did not expect to have something so dark. I was very surprised, the world is very interesting to discover and full of story ideas. Even in a few pages, the author happens to lead us by the nose and we do not expect to have such a plot.

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street – Kevin Hearne
Again an author I have not read but I have the first volume. As the story is positioned far enough in the series, it is true that I had a little trouble to understand who the characters were and how they interacted. However, the story seems nice and I think the first book would help me understand everything a little better.

The Sweeter the Juice – Mark Henry
Oh I think this is the only author that I did not know even by name, but now I’m really curious about the Amanda Feral series! But it is the strangest stories I’ve read for a long time. The mix of ideas is quite disturbing … But a zombie story always manages to catch my attention.

The Werewife – Jaye Wells
Oh, I did not expect this kind of story. It was intriguing, mysterious and dark. The couple staged is quite strange and I admit that I was quite surprised while understanding the story line. But Jaye Wells is still very fluid in her writing and I admit that I would have liked to learn more about this circus.

The Cold Girl – Rachel Caine
I think this is my favorite story at the moment. Rachel Caine has an undeniable talent to get the feelings of her characters. It was a full dark story. The ideas are original and I would like to learn more about the “cold girl.” A really interesting story.

A Duet with Darkness – Allison Pang
Allison Pang wrote a series that I love and here we can read a novella. It is not really in the circus mood I think but I still enjoyed this story. We do not follow Abby but this time our beloved violinist and Nobu. We had heard so much about their past and we learn more here. I was glad to be able to explore other characters.

Precession of the Divine – Hillary Jacques
I do not know anything about this author, but a story with muses is so rare and I always love the idea. A mixture of mythology, gods and circus. It was interesting to discover the writings of this author and I’m curious enough to see her other stories.

Parlor Tricks – Jennifer Estep
I’ve only read the first volume of the elemental assassin series and it is true that I do not remember any of the events that happen there. But it was nice to follow Gin and it has inspired me to return to the second volume to learn more about it. It’s an intriguing police investigation with a real nasty guy.

Freak House – Kelly Medding
After the muses, we now have jinn and other creatures. I enjoyed this Kelly Medding’s story and it makes us want to learn more about our people and especially our main heroine. A nice surprise and I think I’ll try to see if there is a novel that goes with it.

The Inside Man – Nicole Peeler
I heard so much about the Jane True series. We therefore find our heroine in an investigation that takes her to a circus where she would have never wanted to go. All this complemented by evil clowns. An interesting story to discover and it gives us a foretaste of the characters.

A fortune in Hell – Jackie Kessler
So many authors I’d never read and again Jackie Kessler is part of them. I must say I am very curious about Jezebel now and I think I’ll buy the first volume quickly enough to discover a little more about it. Incubi, demons, humans, I love the idea.

Hell’s Menagerie – Kelly Gay
I love Charlie Madigan and I’m really sad about the end of the series but I loved this little story in parallel with the fourth volume. We discover a story about Emma and Rex, two characters that I love and it was a pleasure to learn more about them. For the fans of the series, this story is for you!

Daughter of Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open Lonely Sea – Seanan McGuire
This is a truly original story about mermaids. I did not expect a plot like this one but it’s a nice and sad novella. The end perfectly closes the book and I’m curious to see if the author decides to write more about it more one day.

So here we are with many very different stories and yet gather around a single topic stories. It was interesting to see each idea as it was a pleasure to read them all.



8 thoughts on “Carniepunk

  1. Thanks Melliane! You have convinced me that I do need this book. I do know all the authors names from my wishlist, or my favourite author list, except for Hillary. Rob Thurman is female though.

  2. That’s one good thing about anthologies despite me not liking to read short stories – you can try new authors and see if you want to try their full novels afterwards. Looks like you enjoyed this one very much, D.! 🙂

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