Friday, 10 June 2016

Singleton Short Stories

I read a few isolated short stories and thought I'd post a few words about them. So here we are.


First Kill by Jennifer Fallon is set in the same world as the Hythrun Chronicles, the Demon Child trilogy and The Lyre Thief. It features Kiam Miar, an assassin who is one of the main characters in The Lyre Thief. This story, like the title suggests, is about the young assassin's first — graduation — kill. As far as I can it's set before the events at the end of the Demon Child trilogy, but you don't have read any of Fallon's books for this story to make sense. That said, if you have read The Lyre Thief and enjoyed the character of Kiam Miar, this is a good story to read.

When I started reading, I wasn't sure how Fallon was going to make the story interesting rather than a straight recounting of Kiam killing someone. I obviously don't want to spoil it, but there is more going on than a straightforward assassination and the story showcases young Kiam's cleverness.

You can read the story on Tor.com or pick it up from your favourite ebook retailer.

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Finnegan's Field by Angel Slatter is another Tor.com original and, being a Slatter story, how could I not read it? It was horrifying. (Intentionally so.) I will note that at one point, maybe halfway through, I caught myself thinking "Oh, but that's one horror element, the rest of the story doesn't feel that much like horror..." But then I got to the end. This story is definitely horror. Also, if you don't like reading about bad things happening to children, don't read this one. Like, really, don't. Read The Bitterwood Bible or something instead.

The story is about a little girl who goes missing one day, like children sometimes do. Unlike other missing children, she shows up again three years later. The first thing her parents notice, once she's home and safe and clean, is that she didn't grow as much as they would have expected in three years. The subsequent things her mother notices are a bit more dire and a bit more supernatural. Set in small town Australia with a helping of Irish folklore, this is an excellent read for fans of dark fantasy and horror and, of course, fans of Slatter.

You can read the story on Tor.com or pick it up from your favourite ebook retailer.

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Glass Slipper Scandal by Tansy Rayner Roberts is an original short story podcast on Sheep Might Fly, the author's fiction podcast. I listened to all eight episodes of it in one go during a car trip, which added up to less than two hours. I was quite glad to get it all in one go since I am very much not a fan of episodic stories, especially when the episodes are so short (10-15 minutes each).

The story itself is set in a magical kingdom where Prince Charming is being forced to look for a wife and a large ball is being held. The protagonists are a relatively new journalist and one of the princesses, who has motivations beyond wanting to marry the prince. Told with Roberts' characteristic humour, this is a light-hearted tale that twists several fairytale tropes. The newspaper element also leant itself well to exaggerated proclamations of scandal, which added to the amusement. Recommended for fans of light-hearted and humorous fantasy.

You can listen to the story by subscribing to the Sheep Might Fly podcast, or by following the links here.



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