Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Firebirds Rising

A while ago I did a ramble on a short story collection called Firebirds that I totally fell in love with.  Imagine my happiness when I found out that there was a...I guess you could call it a sequal?...collection called Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Sharyn November.  I loved this collection of YA targeted stories at least as much as the previous collection and am seriously having a hard time picking my favorites.  I will do my best and give you a bit of a taste of the amazing flavor that is this varied and phenomenal collection.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Huntress by Tamora Pierce - We start of the collection with one of my favorite authors who smacks us right in the face with a eerie and empowering story.  We have our loner girl who falls in with the popular crowd...who turn out to be very different from what we first think.  What starts out as an elite group of high school runners turns out to actually be a vigilante group that uses their speed and prowess to "cleanse" the area of undesirables...always an ethical conundrum.  The addition of an ancient goddess, murder, and Central Park all combine to make this a thrilling start to the collection.

Unwrapping by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - This is one of the stories in this collection that always sticks in my head long after I have read it.  This is a story of friendship between two unlikely friends, Brenna, who is shy and quiet and Nadia who is the life of the party.  This particular day happens to be Halloween and Nadia has a very special costume in mind.  Turns out Nadia is actually an alien with a bizarre flame like appearance and has befriended Brenna 'cause of her accepting nature.  After her initial shock Brenna helps her friend be herself.  I'm not sure what it is about this story, but I love it.

The Real Thing by Alison Goodman - Stories like this are one of the reasons I love a great short story collection.  In just a few pages the author has introduced me to a world and a writing style that makes me want to read more!  In this case, the story is set in a world the author has full length novels in and deals with the future and an alien race that can "link" with certain humans.  We follow our human partner as she tries to cope with some sort of social life all while contending with a partner who always wants to be in her head.  I am now scouring my book stores for books from this author.

In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages - This is what short stories are meant to be.  In this tale we have a full story, beginning to end that creates a world, characters and story in complete perfection.  Of course that fact that this story is about a girl who grows up in an abandon library with seven librarians for guardians may also be part of its appeal.  To me this story is pure magic and one of the reasons I started reading in the first place.  I love how complete and coherent this story is, I love how magical this story feels and I love how much I love this story.

Jack o' Lantern by Patricia McKillip - Another story of pure magic.  I love this author in paticular when I want to totally escape from life and enter a world of utter fantasy.  This short story did not disappoint and had the added advantage of being a quick in between life's chaotic moments read.  The author includes art, myth, youth and imagination all combined to create a story that is also a work of art.  Sigh...so happy.
These are just a tiny sample of the awesome and amazing variety of stories in this collection.  I really enjoyed that it was a mix of Sci Fi and Fantasy.  I liked that each story was original and complete to themselves.  I liked...well I really pretty much just liked everything about it.  Usually in collections like this it is hit or miss.  I tend to like about half the stories and love just a few, but in this case I seriously enjoyed every story and fell in love with several of them.  AND the best part?!?!  There is a third collection!!!!!  Yep this is overall a trilogy of short story collections.  It is now sitting on my shelf and I am so excited to read it!  I give this collection 9 out of 10 phoenix feathers and recommend it to pretty much everybody!  Happy Reading Everybody!

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