Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Swan Sister

Title: Swan Sister
Author: Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

What it's about: This here's a second anthology of retold fairy tales. Look up the entry for A Wolf at the Door for the first installment. This book includes "Greenkid" by Jane Yolen, "Golden Fur" by Midori Snyder, "Chambers of the Heart" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, "Little Red and the Big Bad" byWill Shetterly, "The Fish's Story" by Pat York, "The Children of Tilford Fortune" by Christopher Rowe, "The Girl in the Attic" by Lois Metzger, "The Harp That Sang" by Gregory Frost, "A Life in Miniature" by Bruce Coville, "Lupe" by Kathe Koja, "Awake" by Tanith Lee, "Inventing Aladdin" by Neil Gaiman, and "My Swan Sister" by Katherine Vaz.

What I thought: I quite liked "Golden Fur" because it had a very traditional fairy tale feel to it but without sacrificing characterization, as my collections of regular fairy tales seem to. A sense of character is what draws me to retellings rather than the original tales. "Golden Fur" had plenty of traditional elements, but it had its own unique spin on the matters, and that's what drew me. "The Harp That Sang" was pretty dark, pretty straightforward as a fairy tale. It was creepy and well-told. Bruce Coville puts an interesting science fiction twist on the Tom Thumb story with "A Life in Miniature," which seems very much like how I remember his books to be from back when I used to read them in grade school. "My Swan Sister" is an incredibly moving short story, and it was the perfect choice to end the collection. It doesn't resemble a fairy tale too much at first glance, but it definitely has magic to it. "Chambers of the Heart" had a dark feel to it, very reminiscent of the original Bluebeard tale. It's really a very straightfoward retelling, like "The Harp That Sang," but that just adds to its appeal for me. You might notice that the stories that are straightforward retellings are my favorites, and I can't deny it. I also like "The Fish's Story." It's a cute version of the story about the fish who grants wishes. It has a nice heroine, and it has the feel of a morality tale, but without the preachiness.

Overall: These stories have just as much charm as their counterparts in A Wolf at the Door. Definitely worth checking out.

Ach, I'm a bit behind on my reading quota. The Shadow of the Wind is a novel that deserves one's full attention, and too often I find myself busy with other things. Luckily, I've got some shorter novels on the docket for when I finish this sucker. The last thing I want is to have to rush my reading again like at the end of June. I'm hoping to find a job, and if I land one, that'll make me more productive. One of those funny facts of life. The more you have to do, the more you get done. Works the same way with NaNoWriMo. Anyway, I'm out. I'll get the review for The Westing Game up soon, too.

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