Four fantasy stories with a winter element and a female protagonist. This is the second collection of stories by these authors, the first being "To Weave a Web of Magic". "A Whisper of Spring" by Lynn Kurland is the story of an elf princess being kidnapped from her kingdom by an evil wizard. Her brother seeks help from a mortal man to rescue her. Possibly my favorite story, mostly because of unexpected humor throughout. "When Winter Comes" by Sharon Shinn is the story of two sisters kicked out of their home and looking for safety. This is set in the same world as Shinn's Twelve Houses trilogy, though you will only need to have read the first book of that series (Mystic and Rider) to recognize Sosie, her sister Annie, and Annie's child Kinnon. This is what happens to them soon after they meet Senneth. Since I read Mystic and Rider, I couldn't tell if Shinn needed to put more background about this world in this story, but it could feel unfinished or part of a series to those not familiar that trilogy. "The Kiss of the Snow Queen" by Claire Delacroix is the story of a seer Gerta as she escapes a forced marriage and seeks to save her home. Probably the most thought provoking and original story to me, because Delacroix mixes viking legend, The Snow Queen, and the Bible for this tale. Plus Loki is an incredibly interesting character; he steals the show, and I wanted to read more about him. "A Gift of Wings" tells the tale of a wounded man (broken perhaps more deeply in spirit than in body), and his faithful bodyguard/ex-lover as they find themselves trapped in an inn during a bad snowstorm. A murder takes place and they are the prime suspects. I would not recommend this book to pure romance lovers, as this is mostly fantasy with a *dash* of romance thrown in. I read the reviews on amazon for this book and most people disappointed seemed to be expecting something completely different from what this book is.
Armstrong reviewed The Queen in Winter (Twelve Houses, Bk 1.5) on
I only read the Lynn Kurland section, but I can say that it is well worth the read! If you want the back story about the 9 kingdoms series of books, then this is the story for you. It has all of the hallmarks of a Kurland novel, vulnerable heroes and warm hearted strong willed heroines. Enjoy!
Sarah Monette's story is really good. I stayed up late reading this. :> I can't put her down. If you haven't read Sharon Shinn, this isn't a bad introduction. Read their novellas -- very well worth your time!
Claire's is jarring. Somewhat stilted, but not awful, and possibly written for the exit line. Not too bad. It isn't like the very first novella, however...
Lynn's is truly awful. In fact, hers reads like "Isn't this how (yawn) stupid High Fantasy normally works out?" And the answer is No. High Fantasy can be done well, but not by her. I'm sorry that the editors didn't get someone better.
My advice is to get this from the library. They've paid for the book. It goes into their records how much it's requested.
I got this book for the first story, "A Whisper of Spring" by Lynn Kurland. I love her writing, while the other authors here just aren't my style. I love the way Lynn's stories are all clean... the romance is real love, rather than sexual "chemistry." This story didn't disappoint me. The emotion and tension is there, even though not even a kiss can be found in its pages. It is a BEAUTIFUL story of two people who discover that the chance that they never thought possible, has been given to them... to be together.
Iolaire, an elfin priness, has been kidnapped by the evil Lothar of Wychwold. Her brother seeks out Symon, the mage king of Neroche, to help rescue her. The rescue is swiftly accomplished... but Iolaire cannot return to her home... and Symon finally dares to believe that maybe he can have her as his own.
Marginally less good than the two previous anthologies I read before this, but still solid writing. Both Lynne Kurland's A Whisper of Spring and Sharon Shinn's When Winter Comes seem to be a part of a bigger novel and so one comes away with the sense of wanting something more. Claire Delacroix's The Kiss of the Snow Queen teetered on the edge of corny but somehow managed to keep its equilibrium. Sarah Monette's A Gift of Wings is an intriguing new world that piqued my interest for more. All in all a good read.