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Delia Sherman

Delia Sherman(1951- )
Delia Sherman has a Ph.D. in Renaissance studies. The Porcelain Dove and The Fall of the Kings both won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Besides these novels, Delia Sherman has contributed to and edited several fantasy anthologies and she writes poetry. Learn more at Delia Sherman’s website.

Changeling

Changeling — (2006) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Neef is a changeling, a human baby stolen by fairies and replaced with one of their own. She lives in “New York Between,” a parallel Manhattan of elves, fairies, demons, and mythological spirits. Neef has always been protected by her (rat) nursemaid,Astris, until she winds up breaking Fairy Law. Now, unless she can meet the challenge of the Lady of Central Park, she’ll be sacrificed to the bloodthirsty Wild Hunt. But Neef is a native New Yorker, streetwise and sharp, and she’s determined to beat the rap.

book review Delia Sherma 1. Changeling 2. The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queenbook review Delia Sherma 1. Changeling 2. The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen

Changeling: A cute book for kids

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Changeling by Delia Sherman

Neef wants desperately to go on an adventure of her own, alike to the ones she hears about in fairy tales, and that’s just what she gets when she’s kidnapped by the fairy. From being banished by the Green Lady, genius of central park, to a wild ride on the pooka, to serving a riddle to the mermaid queen for her mirror, Neef toughs out obstacles and gains an unlikely companion who seems to be more trouble than she is worth. But Neef is a tough cookie and she gets through it … just not exactly as she planned…

Delia Sherman's Changeling is a simple and cozy little story chock full of humor and sticky situations. It’s is a fun-filled wild ride of a story from beginning to end. It’s not complex, but it still manages to surprise. Changeling is a cute book — entertaining to the very end, but not much more than that.

All in all, Changelin... Read More

Through a Brazen Mirror: A bittersweet gem of fantasy

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Through a Brazen Mirror by Delia Sherman

Through a Brazen Mirror is the sort of book that deserves a wider audience than it's gotten so far. The author is a lesbian, and the book contains a gay character. Since mainstream publishers are still a little squeamish about such things, this book gets the label "Queer Fantasy" slapped on it, gets published by a small press, and the upshot of it is that most straight readers have never heard of the darn thing. And that's a shame. This isn't just a good "gay book," it's a good book.

Through a Brazen Mirror fleshes out the ballad The Famous Flower of Serving-Men. It is compelling from the first few pages, wherein a young man stumbles into the King's kitchens during a rainstorm. He announces he's looking for a job, proclaims his robust health, and promptly faints. But the... Read More

The FIREBIRDS Anthologies: Excellent short fiction for young adults

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The FIREBIRDS anthologies edited by Sharyn November

Firebirds is the first of the three FIREBIRD anthologies edited by Sharyn November. Some people don’t like short stories, especially in anthologies where you are reading several different authors. I, however, almost always have a volume of short stories on my bedside table. Even if I manage to get no other reading done during a hectic day, it is a way for me to finish a whole story in 15-20 minutes. In an age where many authors seem incapable of writing anything other than multi-novel epics, it is a treasure to be able to enjoy a whole tale in one sitting.

Many collections of fantasy short stories are a compilation of hit or miss attempts to match a loosely defined theme for the volume. The Firebird Anthologies far exceed th... Read More

The Evil Wizard Smallbone: Young readers will love this funny, exciting fantasy

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The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman

What is it about Maine? Stephen King and John Connolly both write terrifying horror stories set there, and Delia Sherman places The Evil Wizard Smallbone, a middle-grade fantasy published in 2016, in Maine in the winter. That state must have a lot of magical juice.

The Evil Wizard Smallbone not only shares the horror of a Maine winter, it’s got an evil wizard, shape-shifting coyote-bikers, a small and somewhat magical town called Smallbone Cove whose residents have forgotten their own strange history to their peril, and a scrappy boy named Nick who stumb... Read More

Magazine Monday: Fantasy Magazine, Women Destroy Fantasy

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Fantasy Magazine was folded into Lightspeed Magazine in 2012, but it came out of retirement in October 2014 for the Women Destroy Fantasy issue, one of the stretch goals of a Kickstarter for an all-women edition of Lightspeed. I was one of the contributors to the Kickstarter, and, as my review last week revealed, I greatly enjoyed the Women Destroy Horror issue of Nightmare Magazine that was another stretch goal of the same Kickstarter. I’m pleased to report that the fantasy issue is just as “destructive” and enjoyable.

Cat Rambo guest-edited the new fiction for this issue of Fantasy. Her editorial remarks on the difficulty of seeing the shape of a field when you’re smack in the middle of it. You can see fine details, but the overall structure, size and scope tend to escape y... Read More

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears: Excellent anthology despite my twisted gut

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Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (eds.)

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tearsis the third in the series of fairy tale anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. It’s a very good collection; in quality it’s probably equal to its immediate predecessor, Black Thorn, White Rose, though I didn’t personally like it as much for reasons I’ll elaborate below.

My favorite of the stories is Ellen Steiber’s stunning novella “The Fox Wife.” Set in nineteenth-century Japan, it concerns a domineering husband and his young wife who shows signs of becoming a kitsune, a fox shapeshifter.

Other favorites include “The Beast,” by Tanith Lee, and the poem “The White Road,” by Read More

Black Heart, Ivory Bones: All that’s best of dark and bright

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Black Heart, Ivory Bones edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Black Heart, Ivory Bones is the sixth and final entry in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s series of fairy tale anthologies. Of the six, I’ve read four, and each has its own particular flavor, its own unique mood. While all of the books contain a mix of light and darkness, in this volume there seems to be more of a balance: “all that’s best of dark and bright,” if you will. The mood that Black Heart, Ivory Bones evoked in me was a wistfulness, maybe, or a pensiveness. When I first read the series, Black Thorn, White Rose was my favorite, but I’ve come to a deeper enjoyment of this volume as I’ve grown older. At this point I’d have to say the two are now tied in my mind.

My favorite stories in thi... Read More

The Green Man: Read it slowly

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The Green Man edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

In fairy tales, whenever someone journeys into the forest, you just know something strange is about to occur and that the protagonist’s life is going to be changed forever. The same is true of the stories and poems featured in The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest. With this collection, editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling kicked off a series of young adult anthologies, each devoted to a particular theme. Here, the theme is wild nature, and most of the stories feature teenage characters who encounter the wilderness and undergo a coming-of-age experience there.

Of course, I have my favorites. Delia Sherman contributes a tale of the Faery Queen of Central Park, and the insec... Read More

Salon Fantastique: More uneven than most of Datlow and Windling’s anthologies

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Salon Fantastique: Fifteen Original Tales of Fantasy by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are the two greatest short fiction editors of fantasy and horror of our time. Their annual collections of the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror provided us, for 16 straight years, with the best short genre and slipstream fiction from all sources. Their anthologies have defined cutting edge fantasy.

Salon Fantastique is more uneven than most of Datlow and Windling's collections. This themeless anthology, containing stories intended, as the introduction states, "to evoke the liberating, creative spirit of a literary salon," contains some very fine stories. It also, oddly enough, contains some very bad stories.

Delia Sherma... Read More

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

In many ways, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 anthology is a difficult book to review. For one thing, to me and a lot of my reading/writing circle, this is easily the definitive bible when it comes to short stories of the genre. For another, many of the stories that are included in this collection have been featured in other anthologies as well, so there's an overlap in terms of stories featured. But I'll try and talk about what makes this anthology unique from other similar anthologies.

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is quite comprehensive about its subject matter, not just featuring short stories but poems and articles. The first dozen pages are articles summarizing the important events that happened in the two genres including the obituaries of the previous year. That’s really qui... Read More

The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales

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The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales is another thematic fantasy anthology by the trio of Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, and Charles Vess. Coyote Road features twenty-six pieces of fiction and poetry. Each story is preceded by art by Vess and ends with a short bio and afterword from the author. In the Introduction, Windling gives us an extensive account of trickster tales around the world. The last few pages of the book consist of a Recommended Reading list of titles that tackle that subject as well.

Perhaps the best description I have for the stories here is that they're sophisticated and well-written. They're not easy reading and some have a slow pace, but they tend to leave a resonating emotion by the time you're d... Read More

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

For me, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 has been a two-headed beast. On one hand, it's an eagerly anticipated book by people involved in the industry, usually for the summation at the front of the book and the honorable mentions list at the back. The various editors are quite thorough and detailed when it comes to this part. The other aspect is, of course, the story/poetry selection, which is what will likely attract the casual reader.

So, how does it actually fare? Well, with regards to the first aspect, there are no disappointments. When covering the highlights of the previous year (and alas, the obituaries) and the various media (comics, movies, and music) in which either fantasy or horror plays a part, the book has it covered. The writing is functional and achieves what it sets out to do.

With re... Read More

Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales

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Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Fairy tales were my first love when I was a child. My mother introduced me to the joys of stories with The Golden Book of Fairy Tales long before I learned how to read. My early reading included the first three volumes of The Junior Classics and Andrew Lang’s colorful fairy tale books. When Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling started editing anthologies of new takes on the old tales for adults with Snow White, Blood Red, I was delighted. And when Datlow and Windling started editing a series of original fiction for young adults... Read More

The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm

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The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

The Faery Reel is an indispensable tome for anyone who has a mania for faeries. Aside from the short stories in this anthology, the comprehensive introduction of Terri Windling on the fey and the illustrations by Charles Vess are worth the price of admission in themselves. Moreover, the last few pages feature a Further Reading section on the topic of faeries. The typography of the book is appropriate to the faery theme and makes the text quite readable. In other words, it's a really pretty book.

But The Faery Reel isn't just about exterior beauty, and I'd still buy the book if only for the story selections and the poetry. There are actually a lot of stories I liked in this anthology, and choosing a select few to ta... Read More

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

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Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant (eds.)

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories is a new young adult collection edited by veteran anthologists Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. Featuring twelve conventional short stories and two graphic entries, Steampunk! showcases a wide variety of ideas and styles that fall under the steampunk umbrella. The collection is entertaining and is lent extra freshness by the variety of settings explored by the authors: none of the stories are set in Victorian London.

The book begins with “Some Fortunate Future Day” by Cassandra Clare. This is a creepy little story about a rather warped young girl who ... Read More

Magic City: Recent Spells: A solid urban fantasy anthology

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Magic City: Recent Spells edited by Paula Guran

Things you should know:
1. This is a reprint anthology. If you read a lot of anthologies in the field, you will probably have read some of these before. I had read three, though two of them were among the best ones, and I enjoyed reading them again.
2. It still has some worthwhile stuff in it, especially if you're a fan of the big names in urban fantasy (Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs) and haven't read these stories before.
3. It isn't just "urban fantasy" by the usual definition (our contemporary world plus the supernatural). There's a sword-and-sorcery story from Read More

More fantasy novels by Delia Sherman

book review Delia Sherma The Porcelain DoveThe Porcelain Dove — (1993) Publisher: Narrated by the family’s chatterbox chambermaid, it is a rich, sinister, and funny novel of romance, sorcery, and aristocracy.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Freedom Maze — (2001) Ages 10 and up. Publisher: Set against the burgeoning Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and then just before the outbreak of the Civil War, The Freedom Maze explores both political and personal liberation, and how the two intertwine. In 1960, thirteen-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about spending summer at her grandmother’s old house in the Bayou. But the house has a maze Sophie can’t resist exploring once she finds it has a secretive and playful inhabitant. When Sophie, bored and lonely, makes an impulsive wish inspired by her reading, hoping for a fantasy adventure of her own, she slips one hundred years into the past, to the year 1860. On her arrival she makes her way, bedraggled and tanned, to what will one day be her grandmother’s house, where she is at once mistaken for a slave.


book review Delia Sherma Ellen Kushner The Fall of the KingsThe Fall of the Kings — (2002) Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. A sequel to Kushner’s Swordspoint. Publisher: Generations ago the last king fell, taking with him the final truths about a race of wizards who ruled at his side. But the blood of the kings runs deep in the land and its people, waiting for the coming together of two unusual men, Theron Campion, a young nobleman of royal lineage, is heir to an ancient house and a modern scandal. Tormented by his twin duties to his family and his own bright spirit, he seeks solace in the University. There he meets Basil St. Cloud, a brilliant and charismatic teacher ruled by a passion for knowledge-and a passion for the ancient kings. Of course, everyone now knows that the wizards were charlatans and the kings their dupes and puppets. Only Basil ins not convinced-nor is he convinced that the city has seen its last king…


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