Led Astray is an anthology of work from Kelley Armstrong, most previously published in various places. The stories dip from the past through to the future, including some post-apocalyptic scenarios, one of which is set in a future affected by the goings on in the Darkest Powers world. I would definitely be interested in reading more of that future if Kelley decided to write a novel there…

The world will end, not with a bang, but with a sniffle.

I appreciated how substantial some of the stories were. Ones you could really get involved and absorbed in. It’s one of the best example of this kind of anthology I’ve read in a long time. It’s definitely not the dregs! There’s also plenty that are standalone tales, including an excellent one where a village struck by diphtheria is visited by some men promising them the impossible. It’s a skill to write characters that draw you in in such a short space of time.

You’ll get the most out of the in-world stories if you’ve read the series, but they are mostly quite contained and still can be enjoyed without prior knowledge. Where they are set in an existing world, it’s handily listed underneath the title, so no having to guess what world you’re in. Obviously, some of them might have a few character spoilers, and the Cainsville ones definitely shouldn’t be read before the first book if you want to keep the intrigue.

Bloodsucker? What’s next? Queen of Darkness? Spawn of Satan? You’re running about twenty years behind, sweetie. Where’s the clever quip? The snappy repartee?

The Cainsville stories got me in the mood for the novel out next week. They are all set in the past and reveal a little bit more about the Walshes. I’m not sure if I missed the significance of something in Visions but Devil May Care definitely shed more light on something for me. The blurb states it includes two new Cainsville stories, I can only assume the others have been published elsewhere as there’s definitely more than two.

List of contents (taken from kelleyarmstrong.com):

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)

Led Astray is published by Tachyon Publications and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 15th September 2015. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.