02/23/2004 Entry: "IRRESISTIBLE FORCES -- Preeti's Opinion & Poll"
I had thought, approaching reading this anthology, that I'd immediately dive into Lois McMaster Bujold's "Winterfair Gifts." But my mood veered towards wanting to read Jo Beverley instead, which ended up being a good choice. [...] I liked the worldbuilding, the quietly heroic male lead, and the evocation of the difficult sacrifices of WWII.
Next up was Jennifer Roberson's Robin and Marian tale, "Shadows in the Wood," where the couple meet Merlin and manage to finish a job left undone in Merlin's time. It was nice seeing a married couple in love. [...]
I was finally ready for Miles! Except it turns out the story was told from Armsman Roic's point of view. We see Miles' wedding preparation through the eyes of a household guard who is still a bit unsure of his place there. Many familiar characters from previous Vorkosigan books arrive as wedding guests. Roic becomes drawn to one of them and together they're instrumental in foiling a plot against Miles. "Winterfair Gifts" was my favorite story. I was completely engaged. It was terrific, with heart, wit, and insight.
Then on to Mary Jo Putney's "The Alchemical Marriage," which had an intriguing beginning--a weather mage is imprisoned in the Tower of London of a fantasy Elizabethan England--but made me wince at the obviousness of the romance. [...]
Catherine Asaro's story, "Stained Glass Heart," was about young love and coming of age. [...]
Stover's inclusion in the anthology was puzzling [...] Her story didn't work for me as a romance, fantasy, or comedy. It's a variation on the familiar story of an angel who has to help his ex on earth move on before he can advance in heaven.
Bujold and Beverley were the standouts for me, but I thought the anthology as a whole well worth the time. Those of you who don't have inherent objections to reading short stories or novellas may agree.--Preeti