Review: Legends of Australian Fantasy

Title: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Goodreads)

Editors:  Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan

Rating: ★★★★☆

Celebrate the legends of Australian fantasy. Extraordinary voices … extraordinary worlds.

Come to Erith, to a faerie tale with a sting, or to Obernewtyn, long before the Seeker was born. Revisit a dark pocket of history for the Magician′s Guild or get caught up in the confusion of an endlessly repeating day in the Citadel. Cross the wall, where Charter magic is all that lies between you and death. A trip with a graverobber can be gruesome, and it′s hard to share the fear of a woman who must kill her husband if her child is to rule …

Details

Series: Stand alone anthology of short stories
Genre: Fantasy
Published: Harper Voyager, 2010
Pages (paperback): 560

Paper copies: Booktopia • The Nile
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Barnes & Noble

Review

I borrowed Legends of Australian Fantasy from the library expecting it to be a quick read of a few short stories to go towards the Aussie Fantasy month – how wrong I was! At 560 pages, this tome would be a decently-sized full novel. Add the time it takes to actually get into each story and it took me a lot longer to read than I had anticipated.

That aside, I loved the stories from the authors I knew and also really enjoyed discovering some new authors to add to my lists. If you’re a fan of any of the series mentioned in Legends of Australian Fantasy, I recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book.

Reviewing an anthology is quite tricky, but I’ll list the stories contained in this volume and add a few comments about each.

Garth Nix, To Hold the Bridge: An Old Kingdom Story

A young man, alone in the world and with nothing of value save a share of the Bridge Company building an enormous bridge over the Greenwash to facilitate trade. He approaches the masters of the bridge to become a cadet in the Company and begins his training, but soon has to face a much greater threat than he could have imagined.

What a great opening to this collection! This story starts out gently enough, but the action hits hard when it arrives. I loved this story! I must go back and re-read the Abhorsen series so that I can remember more about the magic system and the world of the Old Kingdom.

Also by Garth Nix: Mister Monday

Trudi Canavan, The Mad Apprentice: A Black Magician Story

A story of the black magician Tagin and his sister Indra, this tale shows how nasty black magic can be. I enjoyed this story even though it was a bit grisly. Trudi Canavan’s Magician books have been on my list for a while and this has made me want to get to them soon.

Juliet Marillier, ‘Twixt Firelight and Water: A Tale of Sevenwaters

Set in the world of the Sevenwaters series, this is a story about the love affair between Conri and Lóch, a curse, and how the curse was broken. Juliet Marillier has such a beautiful storytelling style that this story was a joy to read.

This book is also available as a separate novella: Goodreads • Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk

Also by Juliet Marillier: Shadowfell

Isobelle Carmody, The Dark Road: An Obernewtyn Story

This story may be rather incomprehensible to those who haven’t read almost all of the existing Obernewtyn books. It deals with Hannah, her daughter (also called Hannah), Cassandra and Evander and the combined quest to prepare everything for the Seeker. If you are already a fan of Obernewtyn, this story gives an interesting look into the time soon after the Great White, when the mountains were still poisoned and Obernewtyn a ruin.

Kim Wilkins, Crown of Rowan: A Tale of Thyrsland

The Queen Rose is pregnant, but her husband the King is not the father. This is quite an emotional story about keeping secrets, duty and honour.

Sean Williams, The Spark (A Romance in Four Acts): A Tale of the Change

Aditi is finally close to tracking down the man she swore to marry, Roslin. When she finds him comatose in a doss-house, she must pull all strings to try to get his mind back from the void.

I really enjoyed this story of love, loss and loyalty. I’ll certainly be looking up more of Sean Williams’ work in the future!

D.M. Cornish, The Corsers’ Hinge: A Lamplighter Tale

A Sherlock Holmes style mystery and a sinister Corser going about his work of collecting body parts, all set in the world of the Half-Continent.

Set in the world of Monster Blood Tattoo, this story might be a little confusing to those who haven’t read the series. There’s plenty of the terminology that makes the MBT series so brilliant, but here it’s not explained. Don’t let that stop you reading this story and falling in love with D.M. Cornish’s beautiful storytelling style.

Also by D.M. Cornish: Foundling

Ian Irvine, Tribute to Hell: A Tale of the Tainted Realm

Something is not right with the world. Depravity is rife in the population and the Gods seem to be failing. A young novice must try to stop a terrible act that could bring about the ending of the world, but can she make a deal between Gods to stop the destruction?

This story was exciting and certainly action-packed, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other Ian Irvine book I’ve read. This world is the setting for the new series Ian is working on, and it sounds promising.

This book is also available as a separate novella: Goodreads • Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk

Also by Ian Irvine: A Shadow on the Glass

John Birmingham, A Captain of the Gate

This story is a snippet of an alternate history of the Cold War, but it specifically deals with the invasion of Japan during the Second World War. I’ll admit skipping over this story because it’s quite gruesome and I’m not a big fan of modern war stories.

Jennifer Fallon, The Magic Word

Adrina is confused. Why does it feel like she has fed the same sparrow every morning for years now? When will her baby finally arrive? It feels like she has been pregnant forever.

This is a fun and light-hearted look at what story characters might get up to while the author is occupied with other projects. I really enjoyed Jennifer Fallon’s writing style, even if I found the story a little too whimsical. I’ll definitely be seeking out her books soon.

This book is also available as a separate novella: Goodreads • Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk

Also by Jennifer Fallon: The Undivided

Cecilia Dart-Thornton, The Enchanted: A Tale of Erith

I loved the world of Erith from Cecilia Dart-Thornton’s Bitterbynde series, so I was excited to get back to the world of unseelie wights, the Shang winds and the Dainaan. This story is a bit different – almost like an Austen-esque romance, with misunderstandings and whispering servants at every turn. This curious combination of styles worked quite well though, and made for an exciting final story in this collection.

Warnings: Some violence, sexual references and a bit grisly at times.