Rating: 4 Stars
Date Started: 1 April 2017
Date Finished: 20 April 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, General
I really, really enjoyed these stories. Most of them challenged the norm, or what is considered the norm, and I loved the fresh perspectives. The stories themselves are very subtle, in that they don’t carry you away on a torrent of things happening. Instead they let you float along calmly, allowing you to lazily reflect on the surroundings. There’s a little bit of magic in each, and most of them will remind you of a childhood tinged in the sepia tones of memory.
Usually with a short story compilation like this, I’d add my thoughts on each story. There was quite a bit more stories in this book though and it would take way too long to discuss each story, so I’m only going to touch on a few that really stuck with me.
First was “The Education of a Witch“. Lizzy is a very young girl that identified more with Maleficent than Sleeping Beauty, recognizing the treatment that might have pushed the witch to act as she did. She was more entranced by the fact that Maleficent was independent and could turn into a dragon than that Sleeping Beauty was pretty and got to marry a prince. Lizzy has a keen insight into how people tend to treat anyone who doesn’t conform to expectations, and even though she was really young, she had more courage than me as she challenged these behaviors. It would be awesome reading more about her and what she grew up to be!
“Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl” is a mouthful of a title, but it perfectly suits the story as there’s lots of yummy sounding foods and puddings! The story is about a thief and the “wizard” and her lady love who gives him his comeuppance by using wit and sleigh of hand. I think this was supposed to be high fantasy, but in reality it was more sci-fi as the “magic” was really just science tricks… the characters really made this story.
The last story that really stuck with me is “Woodsmoke“. It just kind of represented what I think an old time-y American teen’s life would’ve been like. Growing up, I was always so jealous watching movies about summer camp and kids getting to spend the whole summer’s just chilling by a lake and making friends and memories. This story had all that, but also an underlying layer of what growing up really is. There was the confusion as you develop and grow into yourself, the hurt of not being understood and accepted by those who are supposed to love you unconditionally, the blossoming of friendship and first love that you don’t choose but that finds you anyway… The end of this story was a bit WTF and just drove home the fact that everything changes and nothing is always as it seems…
Although these three stories are the stand-out ones for me, all the other stories were pretty good in their own right, and I’ll probably find myself thinking about them at some point in the future. Klages has a very unique way of telling a story that sneaks up on you and burrows under the layers of your subconscious, ready to pop up when you least expect it. She’s a great writer, and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more of her work.