Hola Readers! Rambling time!!! Let's see...hmmm...I have a huge stack of books here to ramble about...Let's go with After Hours: Tales From the Ur-Bar edited by Joshua Palmer and Patricia Bray. This is an awesome little collection of stories centered around a bar run by the legendary Gilgamesh and is set in many times and places. All of the stories are pretty cool, but here are just a couple of my favorites.
Why The Vikings Had No Bars by S.C. Butler - Vikings rock! Vikings who get introduced to liquor fight. Vikings who get introduced to liquor and then messed with by one of their gods just makes for a great bloody story. This early entry into the collection was just fun and bloody and perfectly Viking in every way.
The Tavern Fire by D.B. Jackson - Tiller is a simple man who earns his food by buying and selling stuff he can gather from the townsfolk. He stops by the Brazen Head Tavern where Miss Jackson is uncommonly kind to him. Turns out she wants information about Janna, who works at Gil's bar (which is called the Fat Spider in this story). Tiller goes to Gil's bar and is given food and drink. Miss Jackson comes in to try and get Janna to cast a spell to bring a married man to fall in love with her. Janna refuses and Miss Jackson threatens to expose her as a witch. Gil offers a spell instead. This results in the man coming to Miss Jackson, but his wife follows and it is implied that she sets the tavern on fire...solid story.
The Alchemy of Alcohol by Seana McGuire - This is probably my favorite story in this collection. It combines the world of fae, science, cooking, potion making AND includes two very yummy drink recipes. The Summer King brings The Winter Queen to be woken early so she can help battle her obnoxious sister. Furniture, drinks and magic fly in this fabulous story.
Forbidden by Avery Shade - A woman from the future comes to the present to collect genetic samples. She comes from a place where individuality and extremes have been eliminated leading to a bland and safe existence. With the help of a chat with Gil and some experience in the bar she decides to stay and live a full...if possibly unsafe life.
I really enjoyed all the variety this collection had to offer. I also like the common thread running through them all, kind of like reading a complete story with little tales tucked inside. I am now going to join my friends for a drink and create our own stories. I give this collection 7 out of 10 magic elixirs and recommend it to anybody who likes a great ale tale. Happy Reading Everybody!