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Harvest Moon Paperback – September 21, 2010
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"This Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms novel is a delightful
fairy-tale revamp. Lackey ensures that familiar stories are turned on their ear with amusing results."
-RT Book Reviews on The Snow Queen
"Sagara swirls mystery and magical adventure together with unforgettable characters in the fifth Chronicles of Elantra installment."
-Publishers Weekly on Cast in Silence
"Mob Rules is exciting and fresh, with a complex and conflicted heroine who grabs your attention and doesn't let go. This book will make you fall
in love with urban fantasy all over again!"
-Diana Rowland, author of Mark of the Demon
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Mercedes Lackey has written over one hundred titles and has no plans to slow down. Known best for her tales of Valdemar and The Five Hundred Kingdoms, she's also a prolific lyricist and records her own music.
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A tangled web was not one of Mercedes best stories. I like her writing usually, but this story I found flippant, light reading with almost no character development, no linkage to other stories and kind of unsatisfying like eating a marshmallow. Cast in Moonlight by Sangera seemed to start in the m idle and stay there. It appeared to presuppose I knew more background than I did or was meant to leave the reader with a cryptic half understanding. I dislike either approach. Retribution by Caleron Haley was a pleasant surprise, the only one of the three really worth reading. I was not really familiar with the author and expected this to be the weakest story. But the story was fast paced, intriguing and entered you into a world that felt real where gangsters worked with magic and life was tough. I'd give this story a 4.5 rating. All in all skip the anthology, Mercedes & Sangera have written better books and the editor should be ashamed for accepting their lower quality work.
I will agree with other people in saying that the second story was, in fact, the best one in the compilation. I am not familiar with the author, or the series and I felt that I could reasonably follow the story and the characters were well developed. I do agree that the switch from "assassin" to "trainee" was kind of abrupt, and didn't make much sense, but I shrugged it off as not really understanding the world the story was written in.
The last story was my least favorite. It was an interesting twist on how magic could exist in modern times, and an interesting story in its own right. This story however held the least interest for me. I had a hard time wanting to read the darn thing. I feel like the main character was two different halves of two different people mushed together. You've got the savvy gangster meets the completely inept magician. Yet she's somehow supposed to have gotten to her position because of her magic abilities. The story really didn't jive for me, but I'm interested enough to want to pick up the first book of the series to see if it was just the short story I didn't like or if I don't really like the world and author's style.
I'm giving the compilation five stars based mostly on the first two stories, which were both fantastically developed stories that drew me in and kept me reading until the end. Both paced quickly enough to not seem drawn out, but slow enough to know what's going on. I'm reserving judgment on the last author.
This is why I read anthologies in spite of frequent disappointments. A nice sequel to a good story--which really should be read first--by a familiar author. With two standalone stories by unfamiliar authors, that are great reads. Discovering new authors is a great thing and IMHO the only justification for messing with collections of any sort.