Verdict: 3 stars | Definitely one to try, possibly one to love.
A Touch of Lavender (Lindholm)
A touch of sci-fi in this story, my first experience of its kind from this author. Aliens with toxic/addictive skin and a young boy with a troubled home-life. The characters were strong but the plot wasn’t something that thrilled me.
Struggling author meets Merlin… or does she?
I hate to say it, but I actually found this story a bit dull. The writing, as always, was excellent, but it just seemed to lack the punch that I’m used to from this author.
The topic of female genital mutilation is never an easy one to write about and, although I liked the plot of this story for its thought-provoking nature, the characters themselves left much to be desired.
The Fifth Squashed Cat (Lindholm)
This one involves eating road kill in order to gain magical powers. A fun, disgusting read but nothing special.
So. Many. Cats. This story had stronger characters and a more engaging plot, but I can’t say I found it thrilling.
Finis (Lindholm) and Drum Machine (Lindholm)
I’ll be honest, by the time I finished the short story collection, these two stories fell by the wayside in my mind. Average but enjoyable.
RIGHT. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Homecoming (Robin Hobb)
A Rainwilds story – specifically, the origin story of how the Rainwilders came to be (as discovered in Liveship Traders).
At first, I found this story rather slow-moving. I actually put it down and read another book before continuing, but I’m so glad I did.
The Inheritance (Robin Hobb)
Set in Bingtown about the daughter of a Trader trying to recover her heritage. A short, tidy story with two engaging characters.
Cat’s Meat (Robin Hobb)
My favourite story in the collection, hands down. This is the short story I had been waiting for without even knowing it.
The character development and the plot are of the high quality I have come to expect from Robin Hobb and I found myself thinking about the story whenever I had to pause reading, and even after I had finished. That’s something I couldn’t claim about any other story in the collection.
Always character driven and interesting in their own way, but the high-fantasy ‘Realm of the Elderlings’ stories are the only ones that meet the standards I’ve come to expect from this author.
Great ideas and thought-provoking narratives.