Friday, July 9, 2010
Never After by Various Authors
"Never After" is a compilation of stories based on the age old idea of a fairy tale wedding, only these stories have a twist. Instead of the classic "damsel in distress" scenario, the princesses are the one's saving those around them. The stories are each unique and entertaining.
"Can He Bake a Cherry Pie?" is the first story, and it's author, Laurell K Hamilton, is the title author for the book. Despite this, its the shortest of the stories in the book, and I found it to be a little simple. In it a girl named Elinore decides to avoid her fate marrying a man she detests by facing the challenge to save a prince who has been trapped for many years now. Prince Charming isn't quite all he was described to be though, although we will find that he can indeed bake a cherry pie.
"The Shadow of Mist," by Yasmin Galenorn is a companion story to her "Otherworld series." In this novella she takes one of the minor characters from the series, a selkie named Siobhan Morgan, and expands on her story and her history. Siobhan has a dark secret that not even her fiance and the father of her baby knows. She's spent the last 100 years running from the man her parents betrothed her too, the man who raped her, and now he's found her.
In "The Tangleroot Palace," by Marjorie M. Liu we meet another princess who seeks to avoid her suitor, this time by running to a magical forest known as the Tangleroot. The Tangleroot is a place of dark magic, and a prison for an evil queen. As Sally travels to find the Tangleroot and escape her father's plans, she meets a band of traveling entertainers, and begins to fall for one of the men. The two of them find themselves facing the terrors of the Tangleroot together, and the end will be much different from what Sally had imagined.
"The Wrong Bridegroom," by Sharon Shinn, completes our set of stories. In this story we have another princess, and this one is probably the most stubborn of them all. Olivia has spent her entire life defying her father, and in his wishes for her to marry, she's no different. Since she refuses to marry the man picked out for her, her father calls a tournament, allowing men from all over to fight for the hand of the princess. The only problem is that the tournament ends in a tie, between the man Olivia has begun to fall for, and the man her father originally wanted her to marry. But will it turn out that she chooses the wrong bridegroom? Or will the time given her by her brief engagement open her eyes to things she never suspected?