I picked this up because I love Tanith Lee, and I've also read and enjoyed Mercedes Lackey's work, so the idea of 3 novellas centering around strong young women, magic, and the winter moon was interesting. I'd never read anything by C.E Murphy before, but I wasn't disappointed. The first story, "Moontide" by Lackey, centers around Moira, a young girl summoned back home to a sea keep by her father from an unusual finishing school. Her father expects a demure young woman, but Moira has hidden steel beneath her proper exterior and she suspects him of treason against the king. I thought that the description of the sea keep was probably the most fascinating aspect of the story. It probably could have been longer, and I felt unsettled about something until I was drifting off to sleep and then woke up thinking about a plot hole. The second novella, "The Heart of the Moon", by Tanith Lee centers around a spiritual journey by Clirando, a warrior priest who has been deeply affected by guilt and the betrayal of her best friend. Tanith Lee presents a very dreamy, wintery, changing landscape, and a sceptical woman. Thirdly was C.E. Murphy's story. Although I have not read Urban Shaman before I read her novella "Banshee Cries", (which is supposed to be part 1.5 of her series), it was easy for me to understand what was going on and get into the story anyway. This was more of a modern, paranormal story compared to the other two which were more fantasy, but it rounded off the trio very well. Joanne is a cop with newfound powers as a shaman who is still trying to learn what she can do while trying to catch a murderer. She also learns something about her past along the way.
Three authors present novellas with a moon theme. At least two of them tie into their current book series.
Mercedes Lackey brings a story set in the fairy tale world of her Hundred Kingdoms - a world of feudalism and magic. This story does not tie directly to one of her books, but is set in the same world. If you like Lackey's writing, you will enjoy this story about a princess returned home as a spy for the King against her harsh father. The description of the keep makes you feel like you are there and the characters and engaging.
Tanith Lee tells the story of a warrior woman, Clirando, who is struggling with guilt over a former friend's death and who is sent on a quest wherein she finds peace and love. I am not a big Lee fan, and can'[t say if this ties to any series she has previously written. I liked this story the least of all.
C.E. Murphy's story is directly linked to her Urban Shaman series. It tells more about Jo Walker's mother, and fits between the first and second book. It sent me straight away looking for Urban Shaman. A fast moving and well written tale.
"Moontide" by Mercedes Lackey
This is my first Lackey story even though I've got her Diana Tregarde mysteries waiting here on Mt. TBR that I haven't read yet. In this novella, Lackey takes us to the land of her Five Hundred Kingdoms and tells the story of a sea keep's daughter who's been sent off to fostering for most of her young adult life. While there, she was trained as an assassin and one of the "Gray Ladies". Her skills come in handy when she returns home to find her father entertaining a pirate from a rival land, to whom he wants to use Moira as a bargaining chip. But Moira's got other plans...
"The Heart of the Moon" by Tanith Lee
I really enjoyed this story. It portrays a tough heroine, a warrior, who is sent off to by the priestesses of Amnos to the magickal island of Moon Isle, where she must work through some of the things from her past. While on her "journey", she meets a strange man whom she feels an instant attraction to. But can she trust him, or is he just another man like Thestus, who would only betray her? And what else will she learn about herself in the process?
"Banshee Cries" by C. E. Murphy
"Banshee Cries" is set in the same place as Murphy's The Walker Papers series and takes place between Urban Shaman (book 1) and Thunderbird Falls (book 2).
This was the best of the bunch. I read the first book of the Walker Papers, Urban Shaman
, back at the end of 2005, so I'd forgotten much about the characters. Fortunately, this story provides a lot of reminders that jump started my memory. Also, whereas the Urban Shaman
kind of dwindled action-wise after awhile as Joanne struggled with her new powers, there wasn't much time for dilly-dallying in this short story format. Joanne still wishes she didn't possess her Shamanic skills, but she's beginning to get a handle on them nonetheless. This story gives us a lot more information about Joanne's mother, who passed away in the last book, and it's with the help of her dead mom that she's able to defeat the Banshee, the Harbinger of Death, that has returned to try to complete something it couldn't 30 years ago!
Three short stories from 3 very good authors. Mercedes Lackey is fabulous as usual. Tanith Lee's story is very imaginative. C.J. Murphy's goes along with her "Urban Shaman" story, I liked it but found myself having to reread several passages because I would get a little confused.
3 novellas in the Romantic Fantasy genre, by Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee and C.E. Murphy. I'm not a huge Lackey fan, but her entry (although fairly formulaic warrior-princess fare) was pretty good. The Lee and Murphy stories were much better, especially surprising for the Murphy novella - she published her first novel just this year, and it helps to have read it before this one; this novella expands on the world she created in Urban Shaman.