readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

Fantasy – Sean Wallace, ed.

Leave a comment

“Like your fantasy edgy, modern, and sophisticated?” OK, if that’s not a pretentious, self-congratulatory tagline, I don’t know what is. But the stories collected here aren’t bad. This slim volume seems to be aimed at getting people to subscribe to ‘Fantasy’ magazine (Now ‘Lightspeed’).

**** Goosegirl – Margaret Ronald. A very effective re-telling of the old fairytale of a princess and a goose-herder who switch places on the way to meet the princess’ betrothed. Although this is a many-times-told tale, I feel this telling really did bring something new and original to the story, while maintaining its kernel.

** All the Growing Time – Becca de la Rosa. Aims for a surrealist meditation on time and a relationship. But it didn’t work for me – the style was distancing.

**** Somewhere Beneath Those Waves – Sarah Monette. Just read this in Monette’s collection of the same title. In a seaside town, a woman is caught in a loveless marriage, a selkie is trapped by the cruel man who has stolen and hidden her skin, and a creepy museum curator hold the spirits of female ship’s figureheads in his gallery. When the three elements come together, all will gain their freedom.

*** Shallot – Samantha Henderson. I don’t know why it’s spelled like the vegetable. What if the Lady of Shalott was an alien with hypnotic powers? I feel like I’ve read a very similar story about the Lady of the Lake.

*** Bone Mother – Maura McHugh. (Not Maureen McHugh.) A tale from the point of view of Baba Yaga. Not bad, not more memorable than average.

*** The Greats Come A-Callin’ – Lisa Mantchev. As an inheritance gift, a woman receives the ghosts of her ancestresses. There are both good and extremely inconvenient aspects to this.

*** Zombie Lenin – Ekaterina Sedia . A Russian girl is rather obsessed with zombies, and seems to see them following her around. Nice, works on multiple levels, but seems a bit like an early work by Sedia.

** The Yeti Behind You – Jeremiah Tolbert. The stress and fear brought about by hearing there’s a baby on the way manifest, for this man, as invisible extinct animals that follow people around. Didn’t really work for me.

*** The Salvation Game – Amanda Downum. A nice, dark, paranormal-action fantasy. Good fun.

*** Sugar – Cat Rambo. A plantation owner runs her factory by using golems, and is emotionally torn between two women – one, dying, one living, and her complicated relationship with both of them. (I know Britomart is a name from Greek mythology, but it always sounds like a 24-hour grocery store, to me.) The setup here was very nice, but the style was distancing, to me.

*** Brother of the Moon – Holly Phillips. In a war-torn land, a twin leaves his sister and goes to make some kind of sacrifice that may save the land. Again, a nice feel to this, but too many unanswered and undefined questions – like, if this magic was possible, why didn’t one of the twins do this much earlier? What exactly IS the sacrifice, what happens? It felt either unfinished or like an excerpt.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s