Three Slices (Iron Druid #7.5; Blud # 0.5; Miriam Black #3.5)
Kevin Hearne, Delilah S. Dawson and Chuck Wendig
Published: May 5, 2015
Review source: copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Three Slices might just win the award for the strangest anthology theme ever. And the trophy is probably shaped like a big bowl and filled with queso because this is a book about cheese. More accurately, it’s about tyromancy, divination through cheese—like reading tea leaves but with dairy products. Each author portrays the process very differently, but all three of these stories feature some sort of cheese-derived prophecy.
A Prelude to War (Iron Druid #7.5) takes place about a week after Shattered. Atticus visits an old friend in Africa to discover how to get the upper hand against the vampires that have stolen his money and killed his friend. As odd as prophesy by cheese making is, it fits right in with the Iron Druid world, which draws from mythologies from around the globe. I enjoyed the explanation of the process and the prediction itself, which feeds into a sort of running gag in the series.
Granuaile has stayed behind at their cabin, training and looking for a way to remove Loki’s mark from her arm. She travels to Asgard and meets with Odin to ask for assistance. That trip leads to a confrontation with Loki, which I won’t spoil except to say that it was awesome.
As always, one of my favorite things is the banter between Atticus and Oberon. I love that the Monty Python reference actually comes from the hound. I did wish that Atticus and Granuaile were together at some point in the story. I still feel a little weird about them being a couple, so I want to see their relationship develop. And I missed Archdruid Owen, my favorite character from Shattered, who’s completely absent from A Prelude to War. If you aren’t caught up with The Iron Druid Chronicles, you might have trouble following this story. It also contains spoilers for Shattered.
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys (Blud # 0.5) tells how an ambitious young magician became the proprietor of his own circus caravan. Criminy Stain is surprisingly introspective in this story. He’s a consummate showman who’s every movement and expression has a purpose. He’s confident but not as cocky and flamboyant as he’ll be one day. I liked getting a look inside his head and a little more insight into his magic.
The mysterious tyromancer adds to the dark, creepy atmosphere of the caravan, but the whole story had a sort of David Lynch vibe for me. There’s a sense of mystery and foreboding throughout, broken up by bursts of action. I don’t recall Criminy brawling in any of the books, but it suits his younger self.
This story takes place decades before Wicked as They Come, but it shows the potential of both the hero and his caravan. If you’ve read the book you’ll see a few familiar faces, but you don’t need to know anything about the series to follow the story.
I have to confess that I own all of the Miriam Black books, but I haven’t read them yet. That will probably change soon because I really enjoyed Interlude: Swallow (Miriam Black #3.5). I just loved the narrator’s voice! I could hear it in my head like the snarky voiceover from an old noir film, though the tone is actually more Tarantino than Chandler.
Miriam is approached by a psychic claiming she can help her find a woman who can “cure” Miriam of her power to foresee death. Waiting for the psychic in a bar, she meets a man who might have been her friend under other circumstances. He helps her decipher the psychic’s clues in exchange for details about his death. I loved the banter between Miriam and John.
The story structure made it easy to pick up without knowing what happened in the previous books. Miriam wakes up bound and concussed and tries to piece together what happened since she met John in the bar a week ago. The narrative bounces between the two time periods as she remembers details. I suspect that there are spoilers for previous books, but I won’t know for sure until I read them.
Sexual content: kissing, references to sex