A collection of novellas and stories from one of the most critically acclaimed authors in the fantasy genre, Robin Hobb. Including work written under her pseudonym, Megan Lindholm.
Reviewed on 2nd March 2014
This is the first time I've read anything by the author's Megan Lindholm persona, and I've found the shorts here varied and interesting. Brief comments on each follow.
A Touch of Lavendar - A bittersweet story about a family in slightly sci-fi world. Beautifully written and much more moving than anything I think I've read from the Hobb persona.
Silver Lady - A modern day fantasy love story that while pleasant I'm not sure I really got.
Cut - An unsubtle look at uncomfortable issues that doesn't seem afraid to go places that a lot of mainstream fiction wouldn't. Actually poses real philosophical mind benders.
The Fifth Squashed Cat - For reasons I can't fathom, this one reminded me of John Grisham. Perhaps it's the style of the first-person narrative. It's weird, but it makes you think.
Strays - Quite a sad coming-of-age story as a girl learns more about the world, with a really interesting character and relationships.
Finis - Short, almost sweet story that I really enjoyed reading.
Drum Machine - One interesting issue that arose was not knowing the gender of the first person narrator - it happened in several stories but this was the one where I felt most established in the woman I was envisioning when suddenly she became a man. Maybe this was intentional. Again, this poses some interesting ethical questions in a dystopian setting, and worked really well to tie that in with a revealing narrative.
The rest are 'Hobb' stories, set in the author's 'Realm of the Elderlings' world.
Homecoming - A prequel to the Live Ships trilogy, which fills in a chunk of backstory. Really good and felt like it could easily have been expanded to a full novel (although there are a number of similarities to the Rain Wilds series), but the journal style compressed it down nicely and allowed for some amusing asides.
The Inheritance - A nice short tale which again feels like a Live Ships prequel, but one that's really about a new character rather than telling us anything about the world.
Cat's Meat - The final short story is a standalone set in the Six Duchies before the events of the original Farseer trilogy. Another character story that explores the magic of the world in a new way, and one in which it's interesting to get a new and different perspective on this part of Hobb's creation. Reminiscent in part of the Tawny Man trilogy.
I've really enjoyed exploring other parts of Hobb's world and experiencing Lindholm writings for the first time. I'll certainly be looking for the longer Lindholm works once I've finished working my way through the author's other works.