I had high hopes for this anthology which brings together three truly talented Fantasy authors. The stories each contributed are quite readable and I did enjoy the book. However, two of the stories didn’t live up to the quality I expected from these authors. While still promising, this anthology garners only a qualified recommendation from me.
- by Mercedes Lackey
Grade : B- Sensuality : Warm
For the first story, Mercedes Lackey revisits her Land of the 500 Kingdoms in Moontide. Moira has been in training with the King's sister, but her schooling was cut short by her father's demand that she return home. Instructed by the King to watch over events at her father's home, Moira finds herself torn between her father's wishes, her own desires, and her loyalty to the King. Strangely enough, her father's Fool is the one person who seems trustworthy to her, and Moira spends a great deal of time trying to figure out his loyalties as well as trying to determine what her own course should be. Lackey's tale has a delicious gothic feeling to it. I just wish there could have been more to this story. While I found it fascinating, I also felt as though I only skimmed the surface of the story. It really needs more depth and detail to fully bring it to life.
The Heart of the Moon
- by Tanith Lee
Grade : B+ Sensuality : Warm
Tanith Lee's The Heart of the Moon offers a tale of love and redemption that is easily the strongest of the collection. As the story opens, the warrior Clirando has suffered betrayal at the hands of her closest friend. The aftermath of this betrayal has been so terrible that Clirando finds herself haunted, unable to sleep, and drowning in her own misery. She is sent by her village on a quest to the Moon Isle. During a certain cycle of the moon, those who are chosen are sent to the island but what happens to them on this enchanted isle remains cloaked in mystery.
Upon reaching the Moon Isle with her party, Clirando finds herself alone on a most amazing journey. Her only company for this trial will be Zemetrios, a warrior from another land who is haunted by his own nightmares of the past. What these two tortured souls find together make this a tale well worth reading.
- by C.E. Murphy
Grade : C+ Sensuality : Warm
I truly adored C.E. Murphy's debut novel, Urban Shaman, so I was greatly looking forward to Banshee Cries. This story revolves around Jo Walker's second supernatural case, one involving ritual murders taking place under the full moon. Jo' s spiritual powers continue to develop and as she turns inward to her own spiritual guides for help in solving the case, she discovers frightening ties to events in her mother's disturbed life. While this story did provide a great deal of insight into Jo Walker's character and her mother's past, it just did not grab me. For those unfamiliar with Murphy's novel, the story does not stand well on its own. In addition, Jo's world is not well-explained here and I found myself picking up Urban Shaman to refresh my memory about Jo and her world as I read this story. Murphy's writing is still engaging, but this story really needed more space so that the backstory could be developed and Jo's voice given freer rein.