Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong

Synopsis: Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy’s most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan.

With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.

– Rakshashi (standalone)
– Kat (Darkest Powers universe, non-series narrator)
– A Haunted House of Her Own (standalone)
– Learning Curve (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
– The Screams of Dragons (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
– The Kitsune’s Nine Tales (Age of Legends universe, non-series narrator)
– Last Stand (standalone)
– Bamboozled (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
– Branded (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
– The List (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
– Young Bloods (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
– The Door (standalone, original to this collection)
– Dead Flowers by a Roadside (standalone)
– Suffer the Children (standalone)
– The Collector (standalone)
– Gabriel’s Gargoyles (Cainsville universe, Gabriel)
– Harbinger (standalone)
– V Plates (Otherworld universe, Nick)
– Life Sentence (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
– Plan B (standalone)
– The Hunt (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
– Dead to Me (standalone)
– Devil May Care (Cainsville universe, Patrick, original to this collection)

Review:

Rakshashi
That’s quite an interesting story about a vampire, a character with myths that I did not know about and I admit that I was curious to find out what a Rakshashi was. A small story that managed to surprise me. I would have liked to have a series filling this little novella. 4/5


Kat

We discover the story of two young women, Kat and Daisy, a girl with special gifts and a vampire who are fugitives and are caught up here for the first time. I have never read the Darkest Powers series of the author but I have heard a lot about it and I have a novel that I should read. 3.5 / 5

A Haunted House of Her Own
As you can guess from the title of the novella, the topic treated here is about a haunted house that a couple buys. I confess that I did not quite manage to connect to the story or the characters. 2.5 / 5

Learning Curve
I do not think that I know Zoe from the Otherworld series, but it was nice to get back into the universe and to follow here this vampire with a fiery temperament. A nice little story. 3/5

The Screams of Dragons
I love the Cainsville series and this is the first news that I read in this universe. The main character is not one we know about but we have the chance to meet Rose many times. The novella takes place many years before our time, when Rose is young enough to have a young Seanna. But it’s a pretty dark story that we discover here as we see the evolution of a very nice boy into a ruthless killer. 4/5

The Kitsune’s Nines Tales
I have not read the Age of Legends series, and it’s true that we’re pretty quickly immersed in the fantasy world without really having a background and it is a bit difficult I confess. But it was nice to catch a glimpse of the world that the author was able to create here. 3/5

Last Stand
It’s been a long time since I had not had the opportunity to get into a dystopia. So it was nice to discover this history, to see what could be the zombies there, to get to know Monica and I confess that it makes me want to know more. 3.5 / 5

Bamboozled
I love the Victorian era and this story is set during this period, how not to be intrigued? We follow Lily, a strong young woman in the Othrworld world and it was pretty interesting to see how the story was going forward. 3/5

Branded
This is another dystopia and I confess that this time the story really made me want to discover the series and see what the world has become. Besides, I would love to know what happened to the characters and to understand how the fortresses and the outside coexist, as well as the rules and the hierarchies inside. 4/5

The List
A little vampire story and a girl who is not on a list giving their names and who is determined to change that. 3.5 / 5

Young Bloods
Another little novella about vampires, even if the characters are different. 3/5

The Door
A very good story about a family trying to survive in a difficult environment where we will understand the ins at the end of the story. I loved discovering the secrets of this family even if the set is really sad. 4/5

Dead flowers by a Roadside
This time, the main character is a man, which changes a little. Not just any man, but one who manages to communicate with ghosts. But those with whom he would like to talk to are his wife and daughter. 3/5

Suffer the Children
We have alternatively three characters: Addie, Preacher and Browning. This is one is the longest story we can find in this anthology but I admit that I struggled to really get into it or to connect to the characters. 2/5

The Collector
This is one of the strangest stories I’ve read and I admit that I’m not sure I understood everything. 3/5

Gabriel’s Gargoyles
That’s a very good story, one about the past of Cainsville again and even better, a story about Gabriel. The author presents a part of his childhood, his research about the gargoyles, but also the difficulties of living with his mother and also the change that occurs when he is with Rose. 4.5 / 5

Harbinger
Jenna is a girl like the others who finds herself one day with the ability to see the ghosts of drowned girls without understanding the reason, ghosts who appear in front of her more and more. I admit that I was curious to know the reason for all this and I did not expect for such a purpose. 4/5

V Plates
A little story about zombies as we love them and which are always nice to read. It was quite short but it was a pleasure to see the mention of the characters that we know well and to revisit some we already know about. 3.5 / 5

Life Sentence
A zombie story again here, but unlike the previous novella, I admit that I did not managed to get into the story … 2/5

Plan B
This is a story of murder, conspiracy, between a married couple, but who wish to both get rid of the other. A novella full of surprises. 4/5

The Hunt
Here we find a fast enough novella about a particular hunt. 3/5

Dead to me
A strange story about a woman who lives with the ghost of her husband, but is this really the case when he keeps saying that he is not dead? It was interesting to discover this woman and see the truth about everything happening. 4/5

Devil May Care
Here we find a story about Cainsville, the last of the anthology and we follow Patrick this time as well as a part of his history. It was nice to learn more about this enigmatic character and on some of his secrets. A good discovery. 4/5

mellianefini

27 thoughts on “Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong

  1. Looks like a pretty standard collection in terms of story success – some clear winners and some that weren’t quite as strong. I didn’t realize Kelley Armstrong had a « best of » book out, so thanks for this review Melliane! I’ve enjoyed a number of her boosks in the past:)

  2. Anthologies are so hit and miss for me. I have read two in the last few months, and of course, there were some good stories and others that just didn’t work for me. Sounds like this one is like that as well.

  3. Kelley Armstrong is an author I’d really like to try one of these days, though maybe in her case this anthology might not be the best to start off with. Too many stories getting 2s and 3s for my tastes. I want to read her upcoming book The Masked Truth though!

  4. I’ve been meaning to read Armstrong. This might be a good place to start, then I’d get a hint at what her different series were like. I appreciated the breakdown. I always like hearing about each of the short stories. Like most anthologies sounds like it was a bit hit or miss.

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