Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits

Master storytellers Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, the team behind Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, collaborate again to create five captivating tales incorporating the element of fire.
In McKinley’s “First Flight,” a boy and his pet foogit unexpectedly take a dangerous ride on a dragon, and her “Hellhound” stars a mysterious dog as a key player in an eerie graveyard showdown. Dickinson introduces a young man who must defeat the creature threatening his clan in “Fireworm,” a slave who saves his village with a fiery magic spell in “Salamander Man,” and a girl whose new friend, the guardian of a mystical bird, is much older than he appears in “Phoenix.”
With time periods ranging from prehistoric to present day, and settings as varied as a graveyard, a medieval marketplace and a dragon academy, these stories are sure to intrigue and delight the authors’ longtime fans and newcomers alike.


Beth says 4 Stars...

I love Robin McKinley. I'm putting it out there because I'm completely biased because of how much I adore her. The Blue Sword is probably still my favorite book and I take it with me everywhere, inculding to college. This book was good, but not great. I really enjoyed all of the stories; Dickinson can hold his own in my mind. This is the second short story collection from a powerhouse couple in YA fantasy (I think that it's too cute that they're married). The stories have a common theme of fire that binds them together, but that's it. Some are higer fantasy, while others only graze the supernatural. McKinley and Dickinson are both master authors. The worlds that they create are palpable even though they're only in short stories.

The main problem I had with the book is that McKinley insists on writing in first person, although this effort fares significantly better than the ill-fated Dragonhaven (even I'll acknowledge how terrible that one was). I miss the beauty and lyricality that was a trademark of her writing. Her strength is her prose, and while it was still really good, it could have been better. It's difficult to pick a favorite story; none differ significantly in quality from the others. They all fit together and flow to create a pleasant collection.

While not a revelation, this is a really fun book. This is for fans of either author, those who enjoy short stories, or just a lover of fantasy. All in all, I'm glad I read it and am still excited about the continuation of this series.
Book from Library


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