Saturday, February 09, 2008

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 341
Reason for Reading : Saw it in the library and was intrigued

A collection of 10 fairy tales collected by Lester Del Rey and Risa Kessler with illustrations by Michael Pangrazio. Some of the authors are pretty well known within the Fantasy and Science Fiction genre, but I haven't read any short stories by them. As this is a collection of fairy tales I thought it would be interesting. All the tales are original and not directly based on any already existing although they contain many familiar and traditional elements. Most tales seemed to involve dragons.

Prince Delightful and the Flameless Dragon - Isaac Asimov
About a young man who at birth was visited by a clumsy fairy godmother among many others. She mistakenly gifted him with gracelessness by holding her wand upside down during the ceremony. He sets off on the usual year and a day quest to kill a dragon and win the hand of a Princess. Turns out the same fairy visited the dragon who cannot shoot flame, only produce a terrible smell! I really enjoyed this tale, the humour appealed to me.

Imaginary Friends - Terry Brooks
Jack McCall is about to turn 13 when he is diagnosed with leukemia. During this time he remembers an incident with an elf when he was younger that no one else believedc. In his sickness the elf visits again and Jack has to save him from a troll and dragon which are a metaphor for his illness.

Gwydion and the Dragon - C J Cherryh
There is a sorcerer and dragon taking over Dyfed. The last Prince in the land, Gwydion ap Ogan goes to try his luck and win the hand of the sorcerer's daughter who has her own powers. He takes his friend, horse and dog as companions in his quest.

The Fairy Godmother - Lester Del Rey
Princess Samantha is on the way to stay with her aunt who she doesn't really like when bandits appaer. For some reason she seems invisable to them and escapes into the forest. She has been told she has a fairy godmother, but has never seen her and wonders if she is protecting her. In the forest she finds a couple who take her in and look after her. One day the woman is bitten by a poisonous snake and Samantha is sent to fetch the doctor. She meets a mysterious stranger at the cross roads who offers help instead.

Thistledown - Susan Dexter
A story of a young unicorn and peasant Flax whose mother was suspected of witchcraft before she tragically died.

The Old Soul - Wayland Drew
A merchant, doctor and architect are thrown together on a long journey across the land after they all miss their passage aboard a ship. Along the way they meet a Crone who tells them a story about fairies and saving the Mysteries. The story affects each listener differently and each set off on their own personal quests.

Changeling - Barbara Hambly
Brown Michael is the lord of White Marshes and kills a dragon. In it's cave he finds a young girl, a strange green deer-like creature and a ball of sparkling lights and he takes them all home with him. He and his family are unable to find the girls parents and she barely speaks so they suspect she is fairy born. They try to return her to her family when another dragon is spotted. The family suspect the ball of lights is a baby dragon, but things turn out quite different from expected.

The Tinkling Fairybells - Katherin Kuntz
A beautiful tale of a fairy and a White Robe priest who fall in love despite everything going against them. She is ethereal and when he is later ship wrecked whe can only watch as he is drowned. The story doesn't end there however, but I won't spoil it here.

The Quest of a Sensible Man - Anne McCaffrey
Prince Bieregard of Mundesland is sent off to find a mare for his mount, a stallion of direct Peagasan lineage. One his journey he is able to break through a magical wood to find Alav and Sendra who have 6 suitable mares. Fortune has shone on them and as well as falling for Senra, Bieregard is able to help them break the enchantment of the forest and finally leave it.

Portrait of a Hero - Lawrence Watt-Evans
A tale of a village a dragon is molesting. Young Wuller leaves the town after they consult an ancient oracle to find the beautiful lady it said could helo rid them of the dragon. On returning the villagers think she is there to be a virgin sacrifice, but the young woman comes from a family of dragon killers and has other ideas.

I quite enjoyed this collection. My favourite tale was by far "The Tinkling of Fairybells" and I also enjoyed "Prince Delightful", "Thistledown" and "Changeling". The downside was there seemed quite a lot of repetition with the occurance of dragons and Princes.


Margo. said...

They sound like really good stories Katie.

Btw I tagged you for a meme on my blog. ;)

Ladytink_534 said...

It really sounds like a good book. I recogized a few of those authors. Great review!

Ana S. said...

Repetition seems to be a problem somewhat often with themed anthologies. That's why I've come to the conclusion than they work better for me if I read them slowly and alongside a novel. Still, this definitely sounds like a worthwhile read!

Alice said...

I like fairy tales!

Rhinoa said...

Margo - Thanks will check it out later.

Ladytink - Thanks. I recognised a lot of the authors, but had only read novels by Terry Brooks and Anne McCaffrey before this collection.

Nymeth - I tried to read a story a day alongside whatever novel I was reading. It is worht reading, but not the best collection I have read.

Alice - Fairy tales are great :)