The Breath of War — Aliette de Bodard

Currently available to read at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

This is the last of “The Universe of Xuya” stories currently listed on Aliette’s website, where it’s mentioned as being “… in a completely different corner of space”.   And yes, it most certainly is.

It’s got some sci-fi-ish things going on but at the same time it has beings carved out of rock that are breathed life into by their breath sisters who are then needed to breath life into their breath sister’s new born babies else they’re still born.   So in a lot of ways it feels far more of a fantasy story than a sci-fi one.   It’s certainly a very different thing to the rest of the Xuya stories, but it’s really quite enjoyable and i would give it the award of the most stand alone story in the Xuya universe.   If you are just wanting to grab a quick read without needing any background stuff then this would be it.

And that, as they say, is that: all current Xuya stories read apart from one.

Aliette’s Page

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The Beast of the Cave — Joseph R. Lallo

The Beast of the Cave, written by Joseph R Lallo.Last time i counted this was the 11th book in The Book of Deacon series, cronologoically speaking; but, that’s at the time of writing this, Joseph may have thrown one or two more books into the mix since then.

Anyway, a really good novella telling us what Mott got up to after The D’Karon Apprentice, and best read as soon as you’ve finished that and before you read The Crescents.

One thing Joseph really excels at is writing cute, little creature characters into his stories, and even the most motley, messed up, creatures — like Mott — should be able to get a Lallo makeover once in a while.   Not that Mott will ever be as cute as Squee, but just don’t go judging a monster by its…

…well, whatever it is one judges monsters by these days:  every freaky, patchwork monster deserves a second chance.


Joseph’s Page

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Sidequests — Joseph R. Lallo

Sidequests, written by Joseph R Lallo.A delightful collection of short stories that Joseph was nice enough to give away to all those of us who receive his newsletter:   so sign up now!!!

Squee’s Day Out (Big Sigma)
Building the Perfect Pet (Big Sigma)
Meeting of the Mas (Big Sigma)
The New Inspector (Free-Wrench)
Lil and Coop (Free-Wrench)
The Beast of the Cave (Book of Deacon)

Joseph’s Page

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Bones — Yasmine Galenorn

Back to the old classic of don’t-go-where-the-grown-ups-tell-you-not-to-go-or-something-very-bad-will-happen kind of fairy tale.

I like that Yasmine tells this one of those delightful grim dark endings to it.

Available in the anthology, Once Upon a Curse.

Yasmine’s page

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The Queen of Frost and Darkness — Christine Pope

A gender role reversal of the old fairy tale standard of defenceless princess put under evil spell until perfect, heroic prince kisses her and they live happily ever after.   This time it’s the brave, adventurous girl rescuing the enspelled boy.

So yeah, it’s about time the girls get to have an adventure and do the rescuing and young readers get to realise that boys are just as fallible to the wiles of evil doers as girls have always been portrayed to be.

I think this one is good for all ages, and certainly a great way to begin further conversations with children about historical views of gender roles when this is compared to fairy tales from the patriarchy such as Sleeping Beauty etc..

Available in the anthology, Once Upon a Curse.

Christine’s page

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Fae Horse — Anthea Sharp

This one is very much on the dark side of folk-lore/fairy-tale telling, beginning in a witch hunt.   Maybe not so suitable for very young children.

That said, its very good and will certainly keep you in its grip until the end.

Available on its own (click on picture) but also included in the anthology, Once Upon a Curse, and also in the collection, Tales of Feyland and Faerie.

Anthea’s page

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