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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hungry for more of Hobb's Bingtown traders? Snack on this!
I don't know whether to praise the service or the story--but for 49 cents it is impossible to go wrong. Fans of Robin Hobb's Farseer and Bingtown Traders novels who read short fiction (and even those who don't generally like short stories might want to take a look) this is a must-read. "The Inheritance" tells the tale of a young woman who is short-changed after a...
Published on August 20, 2005 by Edward Carmien

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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars uneven, greatly prefer the Hobb stories
The Inheritance and Other Stories, by Megan Lindholm, offers up one-stop shopping, collecting into one volume three stories by her pseudonym Robin Hobb and seven by her other pseudonym, Megan Lindholm. There's no doubt these are two different authors, despite being the same person, and so there is a good mix of style and genre here. I'm a huge Hobb fan, believing her...
Published on May 9, 2011 by B. Capossere


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars uneven, greatly prefer the Hobb stories, May 9, 2011
This review is from: The Inheritance: And Other Stories (Paperback)
The Inheritance and Other Stories, by Megan Lindholm, offers up one-stop shopping, collecting into one volume three stories by her pseudonym Robin Hobb and seven by her other pseudonym, Megan Lindholm. There's no doubt these are two different authors, despite being the same person, and so there is a good mix of style and genre here. I'm a huge Hobb fan, believing her work to be substantive and subtle with world-class characterization and plotting, and so I was pleased to see the Hobb stories set in one my favorite all-time worlds--that of the Liveship Traders/Rain Wilds. I hadn't ever read her Lindholm works though I'd always been curious. Unfortunately, I turned out to be much more a Hobbs fan than a Lindholm fan, and though one of her Lindholm stories was one of my favorites in the book, I found myself wishing the balance between the authors had been reversed (though in terms of pages they are roughly equal as the Hobb stories are much longer) And, as is almost always my experience with anthologies, the overall reaction is muddy, with the stories varying greatly in enjoyment level.

The first story is "A Touch of Lavender," which was a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula, and for good reason. It was, I thought, by far the stand out of the Lindholm stories. It's told from the pov of a young boy named Billy and is set in a world where aliens have come to Earth (their reasons are somewhat foggy at first) and are given govt. benefits in hope of learning the secret of interstellar travel. But the preferential treatment, as well as plain old xenophobia also makes them the target of abuse and resentment, along with humans that get too friendly with them. The aliens have two especially pertinent qualities: one is they are remarkable musical mimics (using sound sacs on their body) and the other is that they secrete a drug-like and highly addictive substance. Billy's mother, unfortunately, is lured to both. Like nearly all the Lindholm stories, this one is grittily realistic and puts us into the world of the lower-classes and the spurned, the ones getting by week to week and eating Mac and Cheese so frequently they have to just swallow it whole they're so sick of its taste and consistency. Hobb presents all this vividly and without an ounce of condescension or a sense of an author going by what she sees on TV or in the occasional drive through the "bad" section of town. "A Touch of Lavender" is sad, complex, and moving and draws you in fully, with all the characters from Billy to his mother to the alien they take in and even to the short-lived side characters all etched in wonderfully full form and vision.

Unfortunately, as I said, it was the standout of the Lindholm pieces and the rest just didn't do it for me. "Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man" had that same great sense of time and place, the main character a middle-aged woman stuck in a Sears mall job--but the story itself just wasn't particularly compelling or surprising. "The Fifth Squashed Cat" had a nicely unique concept of magic, again in a seemingly trademark gritty kind of Lindholm fashion, and the resolution was effective, but I can't say it grabbed me. And I found the main character's interior monologue a bit too on the nose in terms of telling me what I was supposed to think or react to. "Cut", dealing with female circumcision and a world where "choice" is the law for good and for bad, was too blunt in its exploration of the idea and the dialogue, usually a Hobb strength, seemed forced and stilted. "Drum Machine," set in a future where babies are designed and parents get to pick their options, was also a bit too obvious and the scenes and dialogue, as in cut, felt scripted to make a point rather than let the point rise naturally. "Finis" is a story that I think is supposed to have a twist at the end, but it was so easy to spot I'm not quite sure: it was structured for a reveal, complete with wrap-up final sentence, but it's hard for me to imagine someone didn't see that coming.

The first Robin Hobb story in the collection is Homecoming, and this was my favorite of the book. It is told via journal entries written by lady Carillion Carrock and it tells the story of the first settling of the Rain Wilds territory, though one needn't be familiar with that world and those books to enjoy this story. The true pleasure here is in the slow evolution of Carillion from aloof, unlikable noblewoman to, well, I don't want to spoil it--let's just say character development is what makes this story more than plot. The following story, "The Inheritance", set in the same world but generations later, focuses on Cerise, a young woman who comes into a very important inheritance from her just-dead grandmother, though perhaps not the inheritance she or the reader thought. The story moved along smoothly, but it was the least successful of the Hobb stories I thought mostly because Cerise is relatively passive (taking instruction from a mentor more than doing on her own) and the end is somewhat predictable. The final story, "Cat's Meat", similar to the first two, focuses on a young woman who undergoes a transformative event. For Carillion it was being marooned in an inhospitable land, for Cerise it was her grandmother's death and what it brought her, and for Rosemary, it is the return of the man who abandoned her (while she was pregnant) three years earlier. It also involves a cat who decides to get a bit more involved in events surrounding him. More compelling than "The Inheritance" but not as strong as "Homecoming," it is an enjoyable read, darker than one might expect, and displaying a complexity of character and human interaction.

Each story is briefly introduced by the author, offering up some interesting tidbits on the story's genesis or the writing process. Even better is the introduction, where Hobb explains why she chose to use a pseudonym and then not and how the two authors are really quite different despite being housed in her single mind.

Inheritance and Other Stories is about 375 pages long, 140 of which are made up of the two longest stories, which perhaps not coincidentally are also the two standouts. (Hobb seems to do better when she has time to slowly develop characters). The other two Hobb stories, though not as strong, are still good and deserving of a read, and they total about 110 pages or so. That's about two-thirds of the collection that is well worth reading, which is actually not at all bad for an anthology in my experience. The other stories aren't particularly strong or memorable. They aren't bad; they just left me unaffected. Though I was mostly disappointed in the Lindholm half, I'm going to recommend the book based on the percentages and also because the two best stories are just so good that they alone I think make the read worthwhile. If you don't think 2/3rds is good enough to warrant a purchase, then I certainly recommend a visit to the library.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hungry for more of Hobb's Bingtown traders? Snack on this!, August 20, 2005
By 
I don't know whether to praise the service or the story--but for 49 cents it is impossible to go wrong. Fans of Robin Hobb's Farseer and Bingtown Traders novels who read short fiction (and even those who don't generally like short stories might want to take a look) this is a must-read. "The Inheritance" tells the tale of a young woman who is short-changed after a relative's death--or so it would seem. What little she does receive opens her eyes to possibilities she'd never imagined for herself. Hobbs/Lindholm demonstrates consummate craft in the short form--the main danger here is you'll find yourself diving back into the Bingtown traders books to slake a larger thirst awakened by this short story. It is impossible to review a story further without giving too much away (unlike a novel review, the source text is so slim there's very little one can say without spoiling the experience for others), so I commend old Hobb hands to read this. For those wishing a quick first taste, beware--Hobb is not by accident one of fantasy's leading lights. There could be whole novels of reading ahead for you.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brief return to the Rain Wild world, May 7, 2011
This review is from: The Inheritance: And Other Stories (Paperback)
I read this book fairly quickly. The 'Megan Lindholm' short stories were intriguing sci-fi/alternate world stuff, and I'm tempted to read the rest of her work under this pseudonym now that I've had a taste of it.

The Robin Hobb stories were more interesting to me, because they return to the worlds of her other novels, and expand a bit on life in that universe.

I do prefer longer-format stories, so that may account for some of my preference for the Robin Hobb works. Shorter works tend to leave me wanting more, in a frustrated way. Why create such intriguing worlds, only to move on so quickly?

I'd say they're worth a look whether or not you've read any of the Robin Hobb novels, but I'm not sure these are the best introduction to that universe. I'd suggest total newbies start with the initial titles in any of her trilogies.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two authors in one head, December 12, 2011
By 
Kat Hooper "Kat at FanLit" (St. Johns, FL, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I've been a fan of Robin Hobb for many years -- her FARSEER, TAWNY MAN, and LIVESHIP TRADERS series are some of my favorite epic fantasies. That's why I was looking forward to reading The Inheritance and Other Stories, a collection of short stories written by Robin Hobb under that name and her real name, Megan Lindholm.

Why write under two names? She explains this in the introduction to the book: the two authors have completely different styles. As Lindholm, she writes contemporary urban fantasy that's edgier and more daring than the more traditional fantasy fare she serves up under the pseudonym Robin Hobb. Behind both names, though, her creativity and intelligence shines through.

The Megan Lindholm stories are shorter than the Hobb works. There are seven in this collection and they take up approximately half of the page count:

"A Touch of Lavender" - This Hugo and Nebula finalist is a depressing yet touching tale of a boy being raised in poverty by his single mother. Their life changes in unexpected ways when they befriend an alien. Though it's full of poverty, drug addiction, child neglect, and hunger, "A Touch of Lavender" is also full of love, and it's a beautiful story.

"Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man" - Nominated for a Nebula and second place winner for the Sturgeon Award, this is a story about a working woman who's lost faith in herself and needs to learn how to believe again. I liked the voice here: "My Muse was a faithless slut who drank all my wine and gave me half a page a day." In the introduction, Lindholm explains that this is a personal story written for her husband's 40th birthday.

"Cut" - This Nebula-nominated story, which is not a fantasy, has a MESSAGE. I agree with the MESSAGE (how far do we take "the right to choose?"), but the story was so transparent that there was no pleasure or suspense in its telling.

"The Fifth Squashed Cat" - In this bizarre tale, we join a couple of mismatched girls on a road trip. Things get really weird when they pick up a hitchhiker who's looking for roadkill. It's kind of gross, but I loved the characters, the magic system, and the moral of this quirky little story.

"Strays" - Another story about roadkill, poverty, child neglect, and drug addiction. "Strays" has some of the strongest characterization in this collection, but was too depressing for me.

"Finis" - It was obvious where this little old-fashioned mystery was going, but it was still amusing.

"Drum Machine" - This Gattaca-type tale about the "dangers" of unplanned genetic variation also has a message, but I liked it anyway. It's not a new idea, but I like Lindholm's comparison of genetic engineering to musical composition. This was one of my favorite Lindholm stories.

While Megan Lindholm captures the lives of the dispossessed and finds magic in the mundane, Robin Hobb explores the beauty and terror of new worlds. Only three Robin Hobb stories make up the second half of The Inheritance and Other Stories. Because they're longer, they give us a little more time to get to know their characters but, best of all, they give us a little more time in Hobb's well-loved fantasy worlds:

"Homecoming" - This exotic story is set in the Rain Wilds, when humans first tried to settle in its harsh environment. Lady Carillion Carrock, who tells the story via her journal entries, is at first unlikable until she (and we) suddenly realize that she's been exiled from Jamaillia City because of her husband's subversive activities. We watch her transform into a hero as we explore the treacherous Rain Wilds. This story was the longest in the book but when I finished it in the middle of the night, I still wanted more.

"The Inheritance" - When her grandmother dies and the inheritance is divided, Cerise seems to get the short stick. But the small bit that she receives turns out to be unexpectedly powerful. This story is set in Bingtown, the politically turbulent place that Hobb fans already know and love.

"Cat's Meat" - Rosemary is a single mother who's been abandoned by her baby's father. She has managed to scratch out a decent way of life in a tiny cottage on a tiny farm. When the baby's father arrives and announces that he's back to stay, Rosemary's cat decides he doesn't like that idea. This darkly charming story features three common Hobb elements: a strong female heroine, a cat, and "the Wit."

Lindholm and Hobb have radically different styles, and overall I liked the stories of both authors and enjoyed becoming acquainted with Robin Hobb's alter-ego. Still, though, I preferred the Hobb stories, mostly because they are set in fascinating worlds that I have enjoyed exploring in the past and am eager to spend more time in. In contrast to the familiar urban, and often impoverished, settings that Lindholm employs, Hobb's worlds are lush and exotic, and I simply prefer to fantasize about those types of places.

I recommend The Inheritance and Other Stories to all fans of Robin Hobb and to those of you who are not yet fans of Robin Hobb and should be. The Inheritance and Other Stories gives you a glimpse at the other person living in her brain and allows you to spend more time in her fascinating worlds. The limited edition by Subterranean Press that I read is illustrated by Tom Kidd.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm a big fan of the author, but..., May 1, 2006
"The Inheritance" tells the story of a young woman trying to recover her inheritance from those who stole it from her. Like Hobb's Liveship Traders series, this story is set in Bingtown, but is not a continuation of the other storyline. Unlike Hobb's novels, instead of being a complex interplay of many characters, the story focuses on the girl, who is the only clearly developed character (besides a talking necklace) in the whole story. I found "The Inheritance" very entertaining and an overall good read and I'd probably recommend it highly if I hadn't read her other works. The characters in this story didn't grip me the way FitzChivalry or any of her other characters did. So, I would say that if you are a long time reader of Hobb's work, go ahead and read this story, it'll add another facet to your experience of Bingtown. But if your new to Hobb's work you can get a much better introduction to her work by reading Assassin's Apprentice, a book where she is in top form.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, effective snippet from Hobb, August 22, 2005
By 
Zubin Madon (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Readers of Hobb's work will recognize her unique style in this short piece. Strong characters and histories appear, and intrigue surfaces in the space of 8000 words. This different yet familiar look into Bingtown Trader society is well worth any fan of the Liveship Traders book's two quarters, especially since it may be the last work about this world from Hobb for a while, as she embarks on her new Soldier's Son trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Satisfying Morsel, July 9, 2006
By 
Michael B. (CA United States) - See all my reviews
I'm a big fan of Robin Hobb, so I decided to try this "Digital Locker" short story. I wasn't disappointed. You can read the entire snippet in ten or fifteen minutes, and I was engrossed throughout.

This isn't a novel, or even a novella; don't expect deep characterizations here. The story essentially explores themes regarding the true nature and essence of the legacies left by our parents/grandparents. Hobb uses this story to drive home the message that the material items we receive from our family are less important than the sense of self and identity they forge into us.

The story could be told in just about any fashion, but the Bingtown setting dovetails nicely into Hobb's prior writings.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We got our money's worth, September 21, 2006
Anyone expecting the traditional grandeur that Robin Hobb is associated with wasn't being realistic when they bought this short story. For $.49, you're not going to get the polished skills of a fine editor.

Ms. Hobb herself tells us what to expect. While I do agree that the main character isn't as appealing as Ms. Hobb thinks she is, the rest of the story is very appealing. It's comforting to step back into Bingtown, even if it's only for a few seconds, and hear a wizard wood pendant talk. And Ms. Hobb is correct when she says that we are often formed by how our parents, etc., view themselves. Anyone that knows me would say that I am a product of my mother...certain aspects, anyway. The main character never had a strong sense of self, but when she realized her potential, she quickly grew into it. Too often we never get the chance to realize our potential until we are far along in years. This was an interesting example of someone who had the opportunity to set herself right while she still had a long life ahead of her.

It's a short story. A very short story. For what it was advertised to be, I think Ms. Hobb did a commendable job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Varied stories, some of which are very good, November 25, 2012
By 
I've been a fan of Robin Hobb for a while having read the first 6 novels in her Rain Wild series. So I was really looking forward to more stories from her and even something from her other pseudonym Megan Lindholm. This collection was her first that included only her works.

There were a few stories that really stood out for me. 'A Touch of Lavender' and 'The Fifth Cat' were my favorites of the Megan Lindholm stories. I really didn't care all that much for either ending, but I really enjoyed the characters and the way they were written. I have very vivid images in my mind of both of these stories - which is a testament to her writing abilities that in such a short story I am remembering it so well days later.

Some of the other Megan stories are there just to make you think or an extension of the author's life. The best thing about the entire book is the write-ups the author does before each story. She explains why she wrote it. This helped me a lot considering I would have absolutely hated a couple of them if I didn't understand her perspective ahead of time.

The two Robin Hobb stories that take place in the Rain Wilds world are the best in the entire collection. I especially liked the 'Homecoming', the story of the first settlers in the Rain Wilds. You can tell the author knows and understands this world very well. It is a lovingly crafted tale that fits in so very well with the other Rain Wild books I've read. I found it fascinating how the ideas for the platform living, survival in the swamps, and the first to find the ancient city buried beneath the swamps all come together to create a new society. It is fascinating and well written.

Overall - I highly recommend this to anyone who has read any of the Robin Hobb books as this will definitely fill some gaps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Treat, November 19, 2012
By 
Gina L. Turner (Springfield, MO USA) - See all my reviews
I'm a huge fan of Robin Hobb, yet I had never read any of her writing under the pen name Megan Lindholm, which is what made me so curious about this book. I was in for a real treat! The two styles of her writing are vastly different but equally enjoyable, and I do mean EQUALLY. This just goes to show that a great writer is a great writer in any style, perspective, or under any pen name. I have always loved short stories of any genre, and each of the ten stories in this collection is a sparkling gem. And the author's notes that preface each story lend so much to the reading experience of each tale! I would highly recommend this book to everyone.
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The Inheritance: And Other Stories
The Inheritance: And Other Stories by Robin Hobb (Paperback - May 3, 2011)
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