Thursday, April 2, 2015

Modern Day Fae

Today's rambling is a short story collection called The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray.  I remember seeing the cover on Pinterest and just had to have it and this time judging a book by it's cover paid off.  This is a collection about the fae trying to adapt and live in modern times.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
We Will Not Be Undersold by Seanan McGuire - I have always found Ms. McGuire's take on modern fae to be well done so I was not at all surprised to find I loved her contribution to this collection.  In this story we find a Wal-Mart like store that turns out to be run by the king of fairies. The best part is watching the human lover eventually give in to the idea and help the fairies optimize their business using things like the internet and other modern conveniences.  There are plenty of nods to the old ways, like when the king states on of the reasons for the store is to spread plastic (which does not hurt fairies) around the world to replace iron and steel (which is dangerous to them).  A fun and humorous take on the big box corporate store.

Changeling by Susan Jett - This is a great story because it reads like an old tale, set smack dab in the modern world.  This is the tale of Marisol, a young mother who has been told her baby was a stillborn.  She is trying to come to terms with this when her midwife figures out that her baby is not dead, only stolen by a fairy.  She teaches Marisol how to see the fae world and how to get her son back.  The feel of the story is so authentically old school and yet show's how the old world can slide right into ours with just a few adaptions. The author seems to have done her research on the customs and rules of the fairy world and applied them to this story beautifully. I love love loved it.

 The Roots of Aston Quercus by Juliet E. McKenna - This story features dryads and tree's and that makes me so very happy.  We read about a grove of trees that have been inhabited by dryads for thousands of years and is now being threatened by the development of a highway.  The dryads must learn about the modern world, interact with modern humans, and tackle politics to save their homes.  I loved how the author showed a race of beings who continually live within our world, and yet are apart enough from it to not always understand what is going on.  Watching the different dryads and their various knowledge of the different time periods and how they put it all together to save their home was inspiring and magical.

How Much Salt by April Steenburgh - The Selkie plays the starring role in this tale, and as Selkies have long been a favorite of mine, this story was bound to please.  We follow Carrick through the ages as his beach gets slowly taken over by humans.  As his family drifts away Carrick discovers an aquarium that holds a seal show.  Imagine his surprise when he finds it full of Selkies and run by one as well.  Turns out, that since so much of their home has been invaded, they came up with this show to be able to interact with humans, play, sleep, eat and just generally be content.  Carrick see's the wisdom in this and joins the show.  This is probably the best example of how a fae uses their special abilities to adapt to the new world.  I like how Carrick weighs the pros and cons and comes to his own conclusion.  Good story over all.

Hooked by Anton Strout - Here we have a very dark take on the Tinker Bell style of fairy.  This tale features a fairy who has gone so bad and so feral that she has been banished by her own kind.  Her way is to lure men to her glamoured house in Centeral Park with the promise of fantasy sex.  Once there she rips their hearts out and leaves their bodies to rot.  She is finally thwarted by a changeling who's parents had been killed in her rebellion. He has been sent to bring her back to the courts for justice.  He allows her to go through her spiel, letting her pull out her Tinker Bell act and revealing her power source before capturing her.   This story show's how dark our fantasy's can get and how the blending of fantasy and reality can be both awesome and dangerous.
These are just a few of the awesome, amazing stories in this collection.  Over all I loved the cohesion of the theme, the variety of authors, the different takes on the stories.  It was just really, really good.  I recommend it to anybody who likes fantasy, fairies, urban fantasy and/or short stories.  I give this collection 8 out of 10 glimmering wings.

What is your favorite blending of modern and ancient?  What is your favorite urban fairytale setting?  Do you still search for the fae like I do?

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