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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Review: A Fantasy Medley edited by Yanni Kuznia

A Fantasy Medley features the superlative storytelling abilities of four diverse authors:

In Zen and the Art of Vampirism, Zoe Takano, the only vampire in Toronto, a city filled with supernatural creatures of Kelley Armstrong s Otherworld, finds her place in the hierarchy threatened by two interlopers.

Riding the Shore of the River of Death returns us to the world of Kate Elliott s Crown of Stars. Kareka, daughter of the begh of the Kirshat, hunts to take a man s head. It is her last opportunity to prove herself as a man or else she will find herself restricted to the role of woman and wife in the clan forever.

Robin Hobb revisits her Farseer world in Words Like Coins. Mirrifen, a failed hedge-witch's apprentice who has married to find security finds that threatened by a severe drought and the appearance of a pregnant female pecksie.

C.E. Murphy takes us to frozen Moscow in From Russia, with Love. Baba Yaga s daughter is a barmaid at a dive when Janx and Eliseo Daisani walk in. They discover, as they compete for the girl s affections, that Baba Yaga has plans for Janx and that her beautiful daughter had merely been the bait.

First, I would like to say that I loved all 4 stories but the book was entirely too short. I have read Kelley Armstrong before and I enjoyed seeing Zoe Takano in light hearted story. I thought the story was funny and I liked that Zoe had a "family" that took care of each other. It would be nice to get more books about her secondary characters. Zoe is very clever when she needs to be and when 2 vampires decided to take over her territroy she does what she must to protect her family.

The other 3 authors in this anthology I had heard of , but never read any of their stories. I am going to have to do a thorough search and find books from them after this enjoyable anthology. Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars takes you to a time where women aren't highly regarded except in how they can benefit their husbands, unless they can prove themselves "manly". They prove this by taking the head of an enemy without being killed in the process. If they do this, then they prove their manhood and don't have to marry to receive status. The story was well written and it felt like an introduction to another longer story( so I will definitely be looking into it)

Robin Hobb takes us to a story where Mirrifen is left to look after her sister-in-law, Jami, who is pregnant while the husbands are out trying to find work. Jami is very pregnant and Mirrifen will do everything she can to ensure that she has no trouble with the baby. Many rats come into the house and chicken coop taking food that they can't afford to lose. Where there are rats, there are pecksie. Pecksie are small creatures that hunt rats. Pecksies are rumored to cause more trouble than they are worth and to be harmful to babies. Jami doesn't want them anywhere near her, but Mirrifen isn't sure how she feels about them. Well written story and I enjoyed it a lot.

C.E. Murphy's story takes you to Russia with a tale of Baba Yaga and her daughter. Baba Yaga is a very powerful witch who anyone that could catch her and bind her would fid her a very powerful possession. What Janx and Eliseo Daisani don't realize is that even though they are very powerful they must constantly stay on their toes to ensure that they leave Russia unscathed. Although the story of Baba Yaga is an old one this is a fresh new take on this tale.

Altogether these four stories were well written and a joy to read. Definitely worth the time if you can get hold of this book. Currently out of print but can be found through Amazon and other sources if you care to look.

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