Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Queen in Winter Kurland, Shinn, Delacroix and Monette

This anthology of romance tinged fantasy was published back in 2006 by Berkely and includes works by Lynn Kurland, Sharon Shinn, Claire Delacroix and Sara Monette. I also read the previous fantasy romance anthology, To Weave a Web of Magic. I think this one is stronger than the previous one, but I don’t own it any longer and direct comparison is therefore impossible.

A Whisper of Spring by Lynn Kurland is s short story set in the kingdom of Neroche. Symon the mage must rescue Iolaire the elfin maid. I couldn’t help but picture Liv Tyler as the elfin maid, which enhanced my reading I think. For me this story is very visual, and it unfolded neatly.

When Winter Comes by Sharon Shinn showcases a small kingdom slowly being dragged into civil war. Sisters Annie and Sosie and Annie’s baby Kinnon must flee their family home and search for refuge. Along the way they make friends and find answers. Set in the same world as the 12 Houses series.

The Kiss of the Snow Queen by Claire Delacroix is a unique take on the Merlin trapped in a cave myth. I found a secondary character named Loki the most compelling. I pictured him as Michael Fassbender(image at left) who plays Azizeal on the tv series Hex. And I’m thrilled to discover Ms. Delacroix is writing a paranormal series featuring fallen angels.

A Gift of Wings by Sarah Monette is a heartfelt exploration of the painful effects of post traumatic stress syndrome on the loved ones of those who suffer emotional and physical trauma, all wrapped up in a cabin mystery.

Of the stories I thought Ms. Monette’s is the strongest both in terms of emotional content and plot. It is one of the few stories I’ve read recently where the female lead convincingly carries the relationship. The other story that impressed me was the one by Ms. Shinn. I regret to say I’ve not read her Samaria series. I just can’t seem to get around the visual of folks with wings, I guess. The other two stories are well done, but I felt each one had individual elements that stood out against the background.

No comments: