The Book of Swords — Anthology

The Best Man Wins — K. J. Parker
Her Father’s Sword — Robin Hobb
The Hidden Girl — Ken Liu
The Sword of Destiny — Matthew Hughes
“I am a Handsome Man,” said Apollo Crow — Kate Elliott
The Triumph of Virtue — Walter Jon Williams
The Mocking Tower — Daniel Abraham
Hrunting — C. J. Cherryh
A Long, Cold Trail — Garth Nix
When I was a Highway Man — Ellen Kushner
The Smoke of Gold is Glory — Scott Lynch
The Colgrid Conundrum — Rich Larson
The King’s Evil — Elizabeth Bear
Waterfalling — Lavie Tidhar
The Sword Tyraste — Cecelia Holland
The Sons of the Dragon — George R. R. Martin

 

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Alice — Julia Crane

Another tale from the anthology Once Upon A Curse.

I’ve quite enjoyed the previous tales from this anthology, and was quite looking forward to one that was “Alice and Wonderland” inspired.   Oh my, how utterly disappointed i was.

To begin, you’ll realise when you get to the apparent end of this tale that this is simply the beginning of one of Julia’s books and you’re supposed to be so impressed with this that you go running off to Amazon to buy it.   Julia, and/or the editor of the anthology, should — in the very least — have had the decency to warn the reader of this fact at the beginning of the tale.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this were any good and one was left wanting to go and buy the full story, but it’s an utterly childish love story and one soon finds oneself just wishing it over and done with.   So yes, there’s a part of me that’s very pleased that this is just an excerpt and i was therefore relieved of having to wade through the whole tedious story.

Furthermore, it doesn’t have anything to do with “Alice and Wonderland” other than the protagonist is called Alice and her adoptive mother is referred to as the Red Queen.   It’s an insult to your readers to take a half finished story you had lying around and rename the characters and try and pass it off as a “Alice and Wonderland” tale.

I’m putting this in “The Deleted” even though i can’t delete this as it’s part of an anthology that so far i’ve been enjoying.   But seriously, all “Alice and Wonderland” fans, just avoid this tale if you come across it.

Julia’s Page

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The Clockwork Alice — DeAnna Knippling

I really enjoyed All the Retros at the New Cotton Club, so i was really happy to discover that Deanna’s also wrote some “Alice and Wonderland” stuff.

Instead of the fun clockwork story about Alice and all things Wonderland that i was expecting, i found a story heavily biased towards the real life of Alice Liddell and her relationship with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll): this story is set several years after Charles’ death.

I’m not going to get into my views about Dodgson here, this is about DeAnna’s views, and she does a fairly good job of brushing over things (sweeping them under the carpet) and tidy things up in making a story out of Alice’s and Charles’ final years.   Although, to be honest, i think that DeAnna just makes things worse: i’m left with the opinion that this story could be a nice little dose of Streisand effect for a lot of its readers.

And for those of you feeling the effects of Streisand, you can begin at Wikipedia.

All that aside, it’s a fairly good read, and a must for all Alice and Wonderland fans: just expect it to be more about Alice reminiscing, through thoughts and dreams of Wonderland, than a pure Wonderland adventure.   Sadly, there’s a few typos that detract on occasion, and that are so obvious they should have been easily fixed before publishing.

Final words, other than those few annoying typos, DeAnna’s a very good writer.   The Queen of Stilled Hearts is in “The Pile” and i’m looking forward to giving that a read soon.

DeAnna’s Page

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Trinket — Anthea Sharp

All in all i quite enjoyed the first Feyland trilogy and so i’ll definitely give the second trilogy a good read as soon as i collect them all.

Anthea’s page

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How to Babysit a Changeling — Anthea Sharp

All in all i quite enjoyed the first Feyland trilogy and so i’ll definitely give the second trilogy a good read as soon as i collect them all.

Anthea’s page

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Royal — Anthea Sharp

All in all i quite enjoyed the first Feyland trilogy and so i’ll definitely give the second trilogy a good read as soon as i collect them all.

Anthea’s page

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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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