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A Fantasy Medley 2 Hardcover – November 30, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
In A Fantasy Medley, editor Yanni Kuznia assembled a diverse quartet of stories from some of fantasy's most exciting authors, and the sell-out volume earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Now Kuznia returns with A Fantasy Medley 2, offering absorbing new tales of the fantastic from four of the brightest stars in the field: With Quartered, Tanya Huff returns to the world of her beloved Quarters series with the story of the young bard Evicka, whose mission to spy on an assassin brings peril, tragedy, and, ultimately, revelation.In Bone Garden, Amanda Downum revisits Erisín, setting of her critically lauded novel The Bone Palace from the Necromancer Chronicles. Deadly spirits are preying on the city's most vulnerable citizens in this story of secrets and sacrifice.The Sergeant and the General finds Jasper Kent weaving a tale from the other side of the battle lines drawn in his Danilov Quintet, with a French veteran of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign haunted by more than just memories.And in Rat-Catcher, Seanan McGuire travels into the past of the October Daye series to pull back the veils on both the world of 17th century London theater and the faerie Court of Cats as two worlds collide in one of the greatest conflagrations in history.
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"Quartered" takes place sometime after the novels No Quarter or The Quartered Sea and we get to see Vree and Gyhard through the eyes of a young and suspicious bard. I was happy to read about my two favorite characters again. While Tanya Huff provides all the pertinent details, you would probably benefit from reading No Quarter at least prior to this short story in order to really understand why the characters behave as they do.
"Bone Garden" takes place in the same city as The Bone Palace but I didn't recognize any of the characters so I think this one could safely be read on its own. Besides the supernatural elements, it deals with immigrants trying to make a life in a new place with some going as far as shedding their old identities but of course the past always comes back to haunt them. From what I've read of Amanda Downum's works, the world she's created is a bit bleak. This was probably my least favorite story.
"The Sergeant and the General" was a downright creepy read. I hadn't the faintest idea where Jasper Kent was going with this tale. A young man in 19th century Paris meets a veteran soldier at the local tavern and finds out the soldier isn't quite right in the head but doesn't know why. The author does kindly explain everything before the end so all is made clear. I think this story could also be read on its own since it doesn't seem to have any characters from the book series.
"Rat-Catcher" is the back-story for Tybalt, San Francisco's King of Cats, from Seanan McGuire's October Daye books. She recommends reading at least two of the books to get a good understanding before attempting this story and I have to agree. Since the October series is in first person, it's nice to step out of Toby's head into someone else's. It takes place in 17th century London where we get to see Tybalt as a young, carefree prince and meet his family. We also learn how and why he becomes king of London's cats, providing insight into his character in the present day.
I was pleased overall with this book and enjoyed all the stories within it even though they're all sad or bittersweet in some sort of way. If you're looking for a happy collection of stories, this isn't it but it was worth it to see my favorite characters.
This quote was printed on the back of this book. I had picked up this book for the October Daye short story, and was debating on reading just that story or the entire book. After reading that, I figured all the shorts could be read as stand-alones and that maybe, just maybe, I would fall in love with a new series or two! But sadly that wasn’t the case with all the novellas Quartered was really confusing having not read the series.
Quarters, Book #4.5
By Tanya Huff
Author’s Website: http://andpuff.livejournal.com/
Quartered takes us to Tanya Huff’s Quarters series. The bard, Evicka, is going on a Walk and is assigned to check up on a former assassin and be the Bardic Captain’s eyes and ears to check up on his suspicions that Vireyda and Gyhard are up to something.
I had never heard of this series, let alone read any of the books. I found myself completely confused reading this. I didn’t understand what was going on especially with the bards and what the heck are the kighs? It never really figured it out, but could only guess! I’m not sure I would have liked this story even if I had understood everything, but I definitely needed more explanation to fully understand what was going on.
The ending left me wondering what the hell I just read. It made absolutely no sense to me. This is not a happy fun story, and I really didn’t like it at all …
3 stars-Bone Garden
The Necromancer’s Chronicles, Book #2.5
By Amanda Downum
Author’s Website: http://www.amandadownum.com/
Gentian was out partying with Val after his theater performance, but when they come back home to the theater house they find a woman unconscious on the back doorstep. It’s not a safe place for her so they bring her inside, only to discover that its Gentian’s cousin, Sonya. She has come for his help against spirits that has been feeding off of their people. But to capture these spirits will cost them a sacrifice.
I thought this was a decent story and I never felt lost since the author revealed all the information that I needed for me to understand what was going on. This tale can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I’m sure it adds a little more for those who have read the series. It kept my interest and was easy to follow. Although I don’t think there is anybody, male or female, relation or not that Gentian won’t kiss!
1 star-The Sergeant and the General
The Danilov Quintet
By Jasper Kent
Author’s Website: http://www.jasperkent.com/TextPage.aspx?page=Home
This is a grisly story about a man and his horse and the decisions that man made that haunted him up until his death.
This story started out well enough as we are introduced to Sergeant Melle, but I quickly found myself pretty bored as the General started haunting Melle, the story got a bit repetitive, and then switched to Melle’s time in Russia. And, I’m really not a military reader so this dipped into tedium for me. But the story only got worse when he chose riches over his friend and horse that had kept him alive until this point.
There was nothing I liked about this story. Obviously it wasn’t my kind of read, and I was disgusted by Melle’s actions by the end of it. There were no redeeming qualities about it … at all.
October Daye, Book #0.1
By Seanan McGuire
Author’s Website: http://seananmcguire.com/index.php
The carefree Prince of Cats, Rand, witnesses a prophecy foretelling the burning of their lands that will kill them all. His father will not listen to reason, forcing Rand to challenge him for the throne.
This story is the reason I read this anthology. I have not read any of the October Daye books before, but once I understood that the characters were shape-shifting fae the story was easy to comprehend. I liked Tybalt’s character and the story was sound. This is a series I’d like to continue.
This anthology as a whole, did not impress me. The dark tales within just were depressing more than anything with a woman getting her legs cut off and a horse being slaughtered for food, even though it’s owner wasn’t hungry. Bone Garden was a decent read, and I did enjoy Rat-Catcher, the October Daye series is probably the only one I would consider continuing based on these stories. If you are considering reading this book just for the added story to a series, I’d just read that story in question and skip the others, save yourself from wasting time on content that’s just not all that interesting.