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.

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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.

Tapping the Dream Tree – Charles de Lint

I’m often surprised how many de Lint books are out there that I still haven’t read.    The man is nothing short of prolific.    This is a book of short stories, with familiar characters, and characters that are just passing through or around Newford.

My favorite story in this book is “Seven Wild Sisters” about a seven girls living on a farm outside Newford.    Sarah Jane (one of the middle sisters) has befriended the old woman living on the neighboring farmstead.   Aunt Lillian sees fairies, and on one fateful day, Sarah Jane learns she can, too.    This is a peripheral Newford story, and a good one – a nice modern twist on a couple different fairy tales.     Absolutely sold this anthology for me.

Amphigorey Too and Amiphigorey Again – Edward Gorey


The main thing I’m taking away from this trio of books (see here for the other) is that Edward Gorey thought a lot about the alphabet.    There are so many variations of alphabet lists in these books.    He’s also morbid.     Which I already knew, but got extra confirmation reading these.

I appreciate that these were collected together because they’re probably harder to get otherwise, but I can see where some of these would have worked better as stand alone vignettes.    To a degree, his work should be digested in small pieces.