Tortall and Other Lands – Tamora Pierce

0375866337-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_I am so behind with certain authors – Tamora Pierce being high on that list. This book was published in 2011, and has a collections of stories spanning all of Pierce’s various series, as well as one that’s in the real world.

I definitely liked some stories better than others, but I will say, I enjoyed the really wide diversity of stories – even if I didn’t care for some as much, this represented a really interesting selection of differing viewpoints.

One of my favorites was “Testing”, which is the real world story I mentioned above, and is based on Pierce’s experiences being the housemother in a group home for girls. That story just had a lot of heart that I really enjoyed.

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The Faery Reel – ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

221ce144b11955559344b735a67434f414f4141This short story collection is meant to draw from fairy traditions around the world, and is therefore surprisingly grounded in real life, with interesting twists. And it is global, with stories from Australian, Native American and Asian traditions, as well as the European traditions you’d expect when the word “fairy” is used.

I think my favorite story was “The Annals of Eelin-Ok”, the story of a particular kind of fae that inhibits abandoned sand castles on the beach. It’s a surprisingly moving tale for something that should seem so ephemeral.

The Furthest Station – Ben Aaronovitch

3c088924915a27c596f784f7041434f414f4141Ghosts are starting to interact with passengers on the Tube, and Peter Grant (and the Folly) are called in on the case.

One complaint about this story – it’s too short. I absolutely want more of the main story line of this series, and this was not the novella to do that. That said, you get to met a baby river god, and Peter’s cousin Abigail’s studies in magic are coming along quite nicely, so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes. I just hope I get to see where that goes soon.

Cloaked in Red – Vivian Vande Velde

a06a0d9e32acbc559324f325951434f414f4141I found this book while looking at what was available under Amazon Prime Reading. It would translate to a small volume in paper – not sure I would have paid for something that size.

The author starts out with all the parts of the “Little Red Riding Hood” fairy tale that make no sense – like how Red’s mother must be a terrible parent to send her young daughter into the forest, and how Granny can’t be that smart to let a wolf into the house.

She then tells various versions of the story to correct those issues, so you end up with stories from different character viewpoints. I think my favorite was the wolf’s story, which was very much an “I was minding my own business, and these humans are crazy” tale.

Still not sure I would have paid for this, but it was an entertaining evening’s reading.

Elementary – ed. Mercedes Lackey

d3cc07370e3599a596d51396877434f414f4141This is the second short story book where Lackey has opened up her Elemental Magic world to other authors. She’s got a story in here as well, but it’s a bit of a disappointment, because it’s clearly the short story she expanded into Blood Red, so nothing new here.

There’s an interesting mix of stories, going back to Roman times, and expanding into the American West (the only rule for timeframe is that the Edwardian time period is the latest these stories can go.) Two of my favorites were “Arms of the Sea”, where a Water Master who’s lost the use of her legs is handicapped on land, but shows herself more than capable of saving countless lives when she’s in the sea, as well as “Fly or Fall”, where a young woman has to face up to her magic in order to save a little girl from her magic.

These are serviceable stories – I liked the other edition a bit better, and I still prefer the longer forms in the books.

Impossible Things – Connie Willis

c0809e025b55007597767325367434f414f4141This book of short stories is a fun sampling of Willis’ work.

Some of my favorites are: “Even the Queen”, a great send up to women’s lib. Who knew talking about your period could be so funny? “Jack” was a great story about how WWII in London let some people rise above anything they might have accomplished if there had been no war, with an interesting twist. And “Winter’s Tale” was a purely historical fiction tale,with a very interesting take on a very old mystery.

This is only my second foray into Willis’ work – I definitely need to read more.

Changing the World – ed. Mercedes Lackey

836a4b0fd040d3d5930654a6177434f414f4141This is another Valdemar anthology opened up to other authors, and it’s another solid offering. Per usual, my favorite story is the Mercedes Lackey story, which in this case, is about the girl left behind when her sweetheart is Chosen to be a Herald. It’s a rather unexpected story, which I think is why I particularly liked it.

There are no stories that I couldn’t stand, though the last story, which is set in Kentucky, gave me serious pause. It’s at least well written, even if I can’t really decide if it really fits in with other companion stories or not. Well, Mercedes Lackey was evidently fine with it, so I guess I need to be too.