Alanna the knight, Numair the mage, Daine the wolf-speaker and more! Favorite and unfamiliar characters in 11 tales, including three brand new stories!
Collected here for the first time are six tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories, some of which have been published before, will lead Tammy’s fans, and new readers into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy. Also included are four other fantasy stories . . . one set in a remote desert, two in an unknown town, and one set in a very familiar locale: New York City, in the present day. Also, as a bonus, there is a non-fantasy story set in contemporary Idaho that proves that Pierce’s ability to spin a tale is not limited to realms of dragons and magic.
I enjoyed most of this collection of short stories, anything for more adventures into Tortall. It was nice to see familiar characters from new perspectives. My favourite stories with known characters were The Dragon’s Tale from Kitten’s perspective and Nawat about his first days as a father. One step away from characters we already know, Elder Brotherfinally tells the story of the tree that became a man when Numair turned Tristan into a tree in Wolf-speaker and Student of Ostriches tells of the early years of the Shang Unicorn referenced by Liam Ironarm in Lioness Rampant. So many of these stories were different takes on oppressed young women overcoming obstacles; The Hidden Girl covers religion, Lost, with darking cameos, tells of an overpowering and ignorant father withholding education, which is also covered in Plain Magic, along with the expendable nature of women. Completely unique, I really enjoyed Time of Proving and Mimic.
If only the collection ended after these stories. Unfortunately, the last two, Huntress and Testing broke the spell the others were so subtly weaving. The contemporary setting was too modern, they felt jarring and out-of-place in the collection. Huntress especially was quite dark. It was intense and creative and captivating, but very dark considering the age demographic of the other stories.
Overall, an excellent collection of short stories with some familiar and not-so-familiar faces. For the Tortall-only experience I’d skip the last two stories, or consider them separate from the others.