Posted on August 11, 2011 by alanajoli
If you follow Jim Hines’s blog, you know he’s been experimenting with electronically self-publishing short stories, many of which originally appeared in print publications. His first collection, Goblin Tales, did well enough that he’s releasing another group of six tales, Kitemaster and Other Stories, in mid-August. I caught Jim’s note for reviewers and volunteered, and I think this is another strong group of stories, mostly for the lighthearted fantasy crowd. Three of them I’d previously purchased via fictionwise, and have been favorites of mine since the first reading, but three were brand new to me, and I think all are solid stories — even the one that left me with something akin to the willies over a series of puppet deaths. But we’ll get there in a minute.
Posted on July 19, 2011 by alanajoli
How do I start a review of the final book in a series that I love, which had me sobbing for about three chapters of the conclusion? As it turns out, by avoiding the issue:
I feel sorry for Prince Armand.
There, I said it. Three kick-butt heroines of the whole series and this review starts off with some compassion for the guy who is always first in line to get cursed, kidnapped, and just generally gets the short end of the deal. In a series about princesses who don’t need to be rescued, someone else has to be — and once again, nice-guy prince Armand (who seems reasonably capable) suffers some of the very first consequences to evil becoming a threat in the kingdom of Lorindar.
This time, the threat starts close to home, with Snow White, who has been set up for this kind of fall from the beginning of the series, overstretches her magical abilities and ends up releasing a demon from her mother’s magic mirror. Worse, the demon corrupts Snow herself, meaning that our three heroines are no longer on the same team.
Posted on November 11, 2010 by alanajoli
Jim Hines has a way of twisting fairy tales to let him get at bigger issues that lurk behind those stories. One of the biggest ideas he decided to take on is the traditional tale of Sleeping Beauty. One of the early versions of the tale says the the princess was not woken with a kiss, but either with intercourse or the pain of childbirth. If you follow Jim’s online writing at all, you know he’s worked very closely with rape survivors, and that talking about rape is important to him. It’s no surprise that he handles the issue with sophistication and a delicacy, which becomes even more relevant in Red Hood’s Revenge , a story that takes Talia back to her homeland to face her demons. The Lady of the Red Hood, also known as Roudette, is the most deadly assassin in the world, and she’s come after Talia. Her motives are unclear, especially when circumstances lead her to team up with the princess trio, but her hatred for fairies is obvious. When Talia wants to take out Zestan, a fairy the heroes suspect of being a deev — a very powerful evil fairy — Roudette gives every appearance of going along willingly, and only a shift in narrative technique allows readers to see that she’s up to something. (In the previous books, Jim stuck to a more limited third-person narrator; in Red Hood’s Revenge, the narration is broader, allowing peeks into several of the character’s perspectives.)