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Fae Paperback – May 8, 2014
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"A delightfully refreshing collection that offers a totally different take on the usual fairy stories!"
-- Marge Simon, multiple Bram Stoker® winner
"The Fae prove treacherous allies and noble foes in this wide-ranging anthology from Rhonda Parrish that stretches boundaries of folk tale and legend. There's no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here -- but there are chills and thrills aplenty."
-- Mike Allen, author of Unseaming & editor of Clockwork Phoenix
"Anyone with an abiding love of Faerie... will find stories to enjoy in FAE."
-- Tangent [C. D. Lewis]
About the Author
Anthologist Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.
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Top customer reviews
I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that "And Only The Eyes of Children" by Laura VanArendonk Baugh wasn't my favorite story, but then I'm biased. I got to read this story as part of my critique group, and it made me openly envious that I hadn't written it. Baugh captures the city of Indianapolis so well, and the narrative voice of the main character is perfect.
I honestly liked all of these stories. I buzzed through the anthology in two days, which is unusual for me with anthologies. I have a hard time with short stories, both reading them and writing them, so I don't read too many anthologies in general. Two things worked in FAE's favor: all the stories had a common theme, and they were seamlessly woven together by editor Rhonda Parrish.
Other standout stories for me were "The Queen of Lakes" by L.S. Johnson, "Antlers" by Amanda Block, "The Fairy Midwife" by Shannon Phillips, and "The Cartography of Shattered Trees" by Beth Cato. Johnson manages to portray a vivid setting and well-defined characters, and I both admire and am frightened by the frank ambition of her main character. Block's contribution to the anthology reads like a story I should already know--as if the story is already part of a commonly-held mythos. Shannon Phillips' main character has an accessible and likable voice, and no character in this story is wasted. My favorite thing about "The Cartography of Shattered Trees" is the title, because that is an awesome title. I love the way past events are unfolded for us, and the agency her main character seizes for herself.
The other stories are also well-written. "Rosie Red Jacket" by Christine Morgan is a nice opening story, seeming to keep to the traditional fairytale structure, but sneaking in a frisson of dark fantasy. "Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage, Only Some of Which Relate to Fairies" by Sara Puls uses a list format I've seen employed before, and in Puls' skilled hands, the format ties into the characterization of the main character.
In "Only Make-Believe" by Lauren Liebowitz we're granted the rare first-person narration by one of the Fae themselves, and Liebowitz does it well. The world-building in "F.C.U." by Jon Arthur Kitson seems sparse at first, but that gives the reader a delicious chill when you finally realize what's going on.
"Water Sense" by Adria Laycraft was the one story that seemed slightly out of theme to me, since despite being a Charles de Lint fan, I don't generally associate Native American spirits with the Fae. But the story had a rich setting and interesting characters, with a nice twist, so I'm not complaining.
"Possession" by Rhonda Eikamp surprised me by being perfectly set during the American Civil War, a topic I've studied for two decades or better, and yet had never thought of in relation to the Fae. "Seven Years Fleeting" by Lor Graham broke my heart in the best possible way. Parrish's editorial comments at the end of that story reflect my feelings perfectly.
"The Last King" by Liz Colter was probably the sour note for me because of the theme. I won't spoil you, but it was well-written, and the theme is a widely-accepted one that obviously resonates with many people. The main character's history is tantalizing, and the Fae characters we encounter are deliciously depicted.
I loved "Faerie Knight" by Sidney Blaylock, Jr. Halloween just screams for the Fae walking around, undisguised, and the main character is fabulous. This story reminds me of Roger Zelazny's <i>Last Defender of Camelot</i> in the best way possible.
Kristina Wojtaszek delicately hints at a character with Asperger's Syndrome or Autism in "Solomon’s Friend," and she does it well. I love the POV Wojtaszek chose, and the two main characters shine.
One of the stories that most left me craving more was Alexis A. Hunter's "A Fairfolk Promise." The setting is both beautiful and chilling, and while the ending of the story is perfect, I found myself yearning to know what happened next.
The final piece, the short "The Price" by Kari Castor, is a fitting ending to this collection about the Fae--it touches on not only the promise but the price of dealing with the Fae.
All in all, Rhonda Parrish has done a masterful job of pulling these stories together into a rich tapestry depicting the constantly inconstant, paradoxical, lovable, terrifying nature of the Fae. This will occupy a permanent place on my bookshelf next to my used copy of Katharine Briggs' <i>Encyclopedia of Fairies</i>.
There are so many terrific stories in this collection it's hard to pick my favorite--but I can. It's The Queen of Lakes by L.S. Johnson, the creepy, sensual story of a frustrated young woman, kept from an education by her parents and a society which gives women little value, tempted by an each-uisge. I just can't get that one out of my mind--and I'm not trying all that hard.
Other favorites are Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage, Only Some of Which Relate to Fairies by Sara Puls, and Solomon's Friend by Kristina Wojtaszek. Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage features a young woman who is floundering and hapless to recognize good things when they appear. Solomon's Friend is a heartrending love letter to the mother of a special boy who just happens to see world in a different way than most people. I cried most of the way through it.
But the list just goes on and on. This is one of the most consistently well-written anthologies I have ever read. These fairies are a far cry from the Disneyfied variety. They may be beautiful and magical, but they can also be wild, cruel, and not at all to be trusted. Or they may be kind and honorable if treated with kindness in return. So think twice about making a bargain, and be careful what you wish for. Unless you wish for a spellbinding read. Then read Fae and your wish is granted.
I would write more but health has not been fantastic and this is a new mini keyboard. Suffice it to say that I've been fitting in reading these stories in the cracks of a recent hard life and I have been very grateful I had these stories to do that.
(Review copied over from Goodreads February 2015)