It’s time once again for the year-end review! Since I’ve been reading a lot of short stories this year, I’ve given them their own section.
Favorite Books – Click each cover to see my review.
Select Favorite Short Stories/Novellas
- “Forbid the Sea,” by Seanan McGuire (from my “Month of Shorts” post) – Ten years after the Great London Fire, the lonely King of Cats takes an impromptu vacation and meets a traveling selkie named Dylan. But as we’ve seen throughout the Daye series, relationships with selkies seem fated to end in heartbreak. It’s stories like these that show the best of McGuire’s style, much more subtle than in the Toby novels (as fun as those are).
- “Drawing the Moon,” by Janni Lee Simner (from Bruce Coville’s Book of Nightmares) – Everyone believes Andrew’s parents were killed by a mugger, but Andrew knows they were really stolen by the moon, which enters his room every night and taunts him with images of them. Finally, Andrew traps the moon and insists it give his parents back. Only, there’s a terrible price.
- “The Instrument,” by Martha Soukup (from Bruce Coville’s Book of Spine-Tinglers II). Melanie finds the instrument in the basement of her favorite thrift shop. It’s missing strings, but just tapping on it creates a perfect sound that hushes all the noise around her. It seems like a great thing, but just how far will Melanie go to keep that feeling of perfect stillness?
- “The Shell Box,” by Karawynn Long (from Silver Birch, Blood Moon) – The story intro describes it as “a conflation of various Selkie and Roane stories, some ‘Bluebeard’ tales, with a bit of ‘The Little Mermaid.’” Lonely Merwen is enchanted by a stranger who pays her compliments, and when he asks her to marry him, she readily agrees. Then he turns sullen as his fishing expeditions prove unsuccessful, so Merwen gives him her voice in a special box to keep him company. Suddenly he’s bringing home excellent catches, and seems pleased with Merwen again. But how much has she given up to make him temporarily happy?
- “Marsh-Magic,” by Robin McKinley (from Silver Birch, Blood Moon) – For twenty generations, the kings named Rustafulus are counseled by their mages to marry a woman of the marsh people, who have their own magic that could bind the land together if they join with the king of the dry land. But the new wife of Rustafulus XX will discover a secret about this tradition, and will not let herself be used the way her predecessors were.
A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!