New Moon by Midori Snyder
Midori Snyder set out to write a trilogy, because that is what fantasy authors were supposed to do, and she wrote one of the best trilogies I have ever read. This little known gem, in its first printing named The Queen’s Quarter and in its second printing referred to as The Oran Trilogy, is a multi-layered treasure of a story. It is a story not only about the personal struggles of four young heroines, but of the country's quest for political freedom, and the land's fight to find magical stability. Snyder balances all three of these plot threads and weaves an engrossing tale of enduring worth.
New Moon focuses on the story of the Fire Queen Zorah who has ruled the country of Oran for 200 years. Oran was traditionally ruled by four queens together, one for each of the elements, but Zorah k... Read More
Midori Snyder(1954- )
Midori Snyder‘s The Innamorati won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 2001. Read Midori Snyder’s comments about her books and other projects at her website.
The Oran Trilogy — (1989-1993) Young adult. Publisher: This fantasy novel of magic, murder and intrigue, describes the land of Oran, ruled by the autocratic Fire Queen, who 200 hundred years ago destroyed her rival queens of Earth, Air and Water. However, now there are rumours of an insurrection.
New Moon by Midori Snyder
Sadar’s Keep by Midori Snyder
Sadar’s Keep continues the story that began in New Moon. Three of the four young queens had been found by the end of the first book, and the army that is slowly pulling together around these young woman is starting to find some unusual allies. Midori Snyder focuses the story around the preparations for battle at Sadar’s Keep between the army of the uprising, known as the New Moon, and the Oran military. Sadar’s Keep is also the site of the battle between the current Fire Queen Zorah and her queens 200 years earlier, and Snyder uses that to fill in the back history, making this new fight an echo of the previous battle. And we realize that the previous queens are trying to take control of the current queens and fight through them again, making this fight more than just an echo.
Snyder writes very complex characters i... Read More
Beldan’s Fire by Midori Snyder
Beldan’s Fire is the final showdown between the new Queens’ Quarter and the Fire Queen Zorah, and the plot races along to its conclusion. Midori Snyder doesn’t pull any punches as she wraps up the story, and it does not end the way you probably think it will. She balances beautiful, lyrical writing with gritty characters from the urban underbelly. The characters continue to develop, and are still flawed human beings doing what they have to do, which I think is what makes them interesting, and possibly even truly heroic.
The showdown with Queen Zorah is an epic magical battle for the future of Oran, and is written on a grand scale. This final book is probably the most magical of the three in The Oran Trilogy as the queens start to come into their power and learn how to use it, though magic pervades the whole series.... Read More
Soulstring by Midori Snyder
In the first few pages of Soulstring, I was worried that I was reading another book about a spoiled princess who was going to do nothing but complain about how hard she suffered in her privileged life. But by page thirteen, I was deeply engrossed in the story of a young woman who is hated by her parents for the sin of being the firstborn and a girl. Soulstring is a high fantasy story about a young woman who has to discover a way to reclaim the magical power that has been taken from her by her father, wrapped inside a retelling of the Tam Lin myth.
Midori Snyder has the gift of being able to write deeply fascinating characters and show personalities through dialog that many authors lack. She builds a detailed world without a lot of excess prose. In a slender volume of 182 pages she creates two competing countries, and different c... Read More
Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder
In Except the Queen, two faerie sisters, Serana and Meteora, accidentally learn a scandalous secret about the faerie queen and let it slip. For their transgression, the two women are separated and banished to mortal Earth to live among humans. They are completely adrift in this new world, and if that weren’t bad enough, their new human bodies are old and overweight.
I think Except the Queen is meant — at least in part — as an exploration of aging. Most of us don’t get magically zapped into older bodies overnight, true. But I think most of us feel sometimes like our aging bodies, with their aches, pains, and gray hairs, aren’t really our “true” bodies. We still feel like the same person we were at 16, 18, 20, so who is this stranger in the mirror with the crow’s feet? And I think we all feel disconnected, so... Read More
Black Thorn, White Rose edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Black Thorn, White Rose is the second in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's series of adult fairy-tale anthologies. I'd have to say that this is my favorite of the bunch; most of the volumes are good, but this one has so many wonderful stories that have stayed with me for years. A few highlights:
"Stronger Than Time," by Patricia C. Wrede , is a sad but hopeful take on "Sleeping Beauty," told through the eyes of Arven, an ordinary peasant widower. He has lived his whole life in the shadow of a mysterious briar-guarded tower. When a prince enlists his help breaching the tower's defenses, the reader is just as surprised as Arven is. Why does the prince need Arven's help? I dare you not to mist up a little when all is revealed.
... Read More
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 insecure girl who faces her in a battle of wits. ... Read More
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 based on fairy tales, I couldn’t resist t... Read More
The Flight of Michael McBride — (1994) Publisher: Michael McBride is a sheltered young man from an Irish-American family in New York City—until the secrets that lie beneath his family’s genteel existence begin to crumble under his feet. His flight from the Old World’s Unseelie Court will lead Michael far into the wilds of the New. But Magic, Michael will discover, is not something a man can simply outrun.
The Innamorati — (1998) Publisher: In an alternate Renaissance Italy, five pilgrims who suffer from cursed lives journey to the Maze of the city Labirinto to seek their hearts’ desires. During their adventure, things grow more baroque, comical, and magical until they reach the heart of the Maze.
Hannah’s Garden — (2002) Publisher: Seventeen-year-old Cassie Brittman is looking forward to her violin recital and the prom-and then the hospital calls. Her grandfather, noted painter Daniel Brittman, is dying. Cassie, her mother, Anne, and Anne’s new boyfriend drive upstate to the farm where Anne was raised-and find that things are far from normal. The house is almost destroyed, except for Great-Grandmother Hannah’s herb garden, and someone (or something) seems to be stalking them. Cassie soon finds herself at the center of an age-long battle between two supernatural clans-the sinister Red Clan and her own family, the Green Clan. For it turns out that Cassie’s grandfather is half nature spirit, half human…