Three new stories . . .
"Counting Crows" by Mercedes Lackey
In Lady Gwynhefar's dark, lonely court, her only ally was noble Sir Elloran, a warrior willing to fight for her honor. But would her powerful spell capture his heart -- or tumble the kingdom into chaos?
(Strong heroine overcomes culturally sanctioned violence against women.)
"Drusilla's Dream" by USA TODAY bestselling author Rachel Lee
Every night Drusilla Morgan dreamed of courageous and handsome Miles Kennedy. Their quest: to battle evil and find true love. Yet when the sun rose, would Drusilla's fantasy man become a reality.
(An oddly charming tale of two people struggling to communicate.)
"Moonglow" by Nebula Award-winning author Catherine Asaro
In a world where kings married for magic, Iris was required to wed the prince--despite the spell that kept him deaf, mute and blind. Healing her bridegroom would take a power greater than any she'd ever known.
(A different slant on the uses of magic and how personal committment to each other can overcome overwhelming odds.)
Three stories set in very different worlds but all with strong heroines who make their way in a world of magic. Lee's is the weakest. The movement between the real world and the "daydream" is jarring. Lackey's medieval is a wonderful love story with an unexpected resolution. And Asaro's prequel to her novel "The Charmed Sphere" is set in the same strange and interesting world of colored magic.
Three wonderful stories by three wonderful fantasy writers--this was my first exposure to Rachel Lee and Catherine Asaro, and I will be reading more of both. The Lackey story would be even more amazing as a true novel (I'd love more back story on the main characters).
Lackey is ALWAYS good. Lee and Asaro were new to me. I'd rate Lee as OK and Asaro as Not Interesting. All the stories were good enough to read through, but I could not sympathize with Asaro's characters. I seem to remember being aggravated at her heroine's stupidity. Lee's story was just not memorable that I can recall much about it.
others have detailed the gist of the three stories very well. My main thing I want to get across is that in the first story, Counting Crows by Mercedes Lackey, the heroine, is brutally RAPED by her husband, in shocking detail.
I was not expecting that in a romance, and it ruined the entire book for me. If reading disturbing scenes like that would bother you, then I highly suggest you either skip this book or at least skip Miss Lackey's story.
Three stories, three reviews
M. Lackey "Counting Crows" - As another poster mentioned brutal rape scene. If you have read Arrow's Fall (Valdemar) you have an idea of what Lackey is capable of at times (not in all her books, but I now know of at least 3). You know it is coming, skip over the details (in my copy halfway down p48-halfway down p50). The story is good. You are set up to loathe her husband. There is only one quick theory as to why he is the monster he is. You are never given to sympathize with him. Short stories being what they are the characters can lack depth - all bad, all good, nothing in between. If you have read and enjoyed Valdemar stories, you will most likely like this one. By the way, if you find Elloran in the story let me know. I only saw the name on the back of the book write up and never again.
R. Lee "Drusilla's dream" The person summarizing the story for the back of the book did lousy. "Every night Dursilla Morgan dreamed..." - well technically true, but she was working nights so it was more "daydreaming" or "fantasizing" would have been a better word. If you have daydreamed and been pulled out, but wanted to go back in to finish it, you will understand. Or if you are the type of person who is slow to wake, so the alarm clock is some annoying bird in your dream until you finally truly wake. That overlap is what I believe turned some people off. Geek is the point. Artistic la-la land is the point. And what would you do if someone could jump in AND out with you? I liked this one. I know I have read Lee before, but nothing of hers has compelled me to put her on an author watch list. Still, it was a nice read.
C. Asaro "Moonglow" - This one was compelling. Some bits had to resolve quicker than I thought they should, but hey, short story by definition. She ties up the loose ends for you for all the characters. At least enough to be satisfied that you don't have to run out and get the book that this is related to. Still I may do just that. The "world" she created is interesting. The main characters that will be in "The Charmed Sphere" are complex enough in this story to make you curious.
This anthology contains two good stories (novellas) - "Counting Crows" by Mercedes Lackey and "Moonglow" by Catherine Asaro, and one so-so strange one by Rachel Lee. Lackey's is a departure from the usual worlds she writes in, and Asaro's is a novella set in the world of her first full-length fantasy novel, actually a prequel to the novel. Lee's is a strange blend of computer geek/fantasy romance and seemed out of place among the other two.
Counting Crows by Mercedes Lackey
In Lady Gwynhefar's dark, lonely court, her only ally was noble Sir Elloran, a warrior willing to fight for her honor. But would her powerful spell capture his heart or tumble the kingdom into chaos?
Drusilla's Dream by Rachel Lee
Every night Drusilla Morgan dreamed of courageous and handsome Miles Kennedy. Their quest: to battle evil and find true love. Yet when the sun rose, would Drusilla's fantasy man become a reality?
Moonglow by Catherine Asaro
In a world where kings married for magic, Iris Larkspur was required to wed the prince despite the spell that kept him deaf, mute and blind. Healing her bridegroom would take a power greater than any she'd ever known one only two bonded hearts could provide!