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08/02/2004 Entry: "TO WEAVE A WEB OF MAGIC - 3 out of 4 ain't bad (Preeti)"

To Weave a Web of Magic

To summarize, this anthology of romantic fantasy stories had three good entries and one that made me go, "huh?" Sharon Shinn's "Fallen Angel" was my clear favorite. Set in Samaria some 18 years after the events of ARCHANGEL, "Fallen Angel" tells the story of the teenage daughter of a rich merchant and her encounters with the bad-boy angel Jesse. Eden's feelings towards him grow from a forbidden crush to love. It almost read like a YA-high-school-romance story to me, with the good girl becoming infatuated with the rebellious boy and redeeming him. I've always been partial to these types of stories and Shinn's was wonderful.

My second favorite story was Lynn Kurland's "The Tale of Two Swords," set in a fantasy medieval-like setting. A young boy bored and having to stay indoors begs his father to read the family their favorite story of daring and romance again. So the father tells of a woman who escapes an odious arranged marriage on a fiery steed and sets out to find the king's mages to help her. She reaches the king's castle to find it run-down and inhabited by an unassuming guy who is more than he first appears. This is the first Lynn Kurland story I've ever really liked; I found it charming. Kurland is a romance author whose style transfers nicely to the fantasy genre.

Patricia McKillip's "The Gorgon in the Cupboard" is about a sweet and clueless artist who learns to see women as more than objects for his paintings or to be put on pedestals. The heroine's plight in this one was really moving--the plight of all the women in the story was moving, actually. I'll admit that I didn't quite get what was going on with the gorgon, but thought the story was nice nonetheless--I liked what it had to say.

Claire Delacroix' "An Elegy for Melusine" told the story of Melusine (ignorance alert: is that a "real" mythical figure? Arthurian?), a cursed half-human, half-fey creature who needs to get a guy to keep his word to her in order to get rid of the curse, I think it was. This was a dark and bitter story--not bad, but not what I was expecting from this anthology at all. It might be considered romantic if you consider, say, the romance of Jason and Medea romantic. I've never read Delacroix' romance novels, and now I'm not sure I'd ever want to.

All in all, an very good anthology. I hope the publisher, Berkley, does more along these lines.--Preeti

--TO WEAVE A WEB OF MAGIC review page

Replies: 2 Comments

"Melusine" is a medieval French folk tale. It's been used relatively recently as one of the fairy tales in A.S. Byatt's Possession, and as the basis for Miguel Mujica Lainez's magic realist novel The Wandering Unicorn and Lynne Reid Banks' YA novel, Melusine.

Posted by Mely @ 08/03/2004 04:36 PM ET

Thanks for the link! Fascinating stuff. It seems Delacroix' story was pretty much a point-by-point retelling of the myth, which explains, of course, why the story read more like a fairy tale than a novel (or novella.) That's a lot of story to pack into a short format.

Posted by Preeti @ 08/03/2004 09:20 PM ET

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