Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron edited by Jonathan Strahan
My Rating: 3-1/2 of 5 Stars
Anyone who’s visited this blog more than a few times probably knows that I’m very fond of good anthologies. A well-written short story (which is rarer than you might think) is a treat to me, especially when I can enjoy one between reading bigger books. In fact, I enjoy collections of short stories enough to have devoted an entire bookshelf to various anthologies over the years. The stories in this collection are all related to witches of one sort or another, as you might guess from the title and the cover. As anthologies go, it’s not a bad collection. Not the best I’ve ever read, but definitely not bad.
I’m sure none of you who stop by often will be surprised to know my favorite story of the collection was by Jim Butcher. Not only am I a big Harry Dresden fan, but I have really enjoyed his Bigfoot series of short stories that have appeared in a couple of other anthologies. I like this character and his scion son (half human, half Bigfoot) so much that I’m hoping to see them pop up in one of the next Dresden Files books. “B Is For Bigfoot” made me smile, which is always a cause for high marks in my book. (Not to be confused with putting actual marks in my books, you understand, high or otherwise. But now I’m just being silly again.)
I also really enjoyed Patricia A. McKillip’s “Which Witch,” a fun, urban fantasy type tale about a young witch, just learning how to communicate with her crow familiar, Cawley. And “The Stone Witch,” by Isobelle Carmody had an interesting take on how one might suddenly become a witch and acquire a most unusual familiar in the process. I liked Carmody’s writing style a lot.
None of the stories were poorly done, though some caught my fancy more than others. This is a pretty solid entry into Urban Fantasy anthologies, and if you have an interest in witches new and old, and sometimes a bit off the wall, you would probably enjoy reading Under My Hat.
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