Liavek: A light read that will transport you to another world

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Emma Bull Will Shetterly LiavekLiavek by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull

One of the things I love about used bookstores is stumbling across out of print books from favorite authors. I picked up Liavek because I’ve enjoyed Emma Bull since The War for the Oaks, and discovered a fun collection of short stories. Unlike most anthologies, Liavek is a shared world universe, where all the authors write short stories that are set in the same location, with the same characters. Not only do characters reoccur, but events from early stories are referenced in later tales in the volume. This makes the anthology read more like a novel than a collection of loosely linked stories.

Liavek is a city of magic. Most people can do a little magic, though it takes training to become a great wizard. A person only has access to their magic for their birth period, the hours that their mother was in labor with them, each year. With training, it is possible to invest your magic during this time period in an object so that you can access your magic year round. A failed investment is fatal, however, and if someone steals your invested object and destroys it on your half birthday, your magic is lost forever. This unique system of magic is central to most of the stories in the book, though there are a range of other stories to round out the world. Jane Yolen’s story of a demonic camel reads like a Just So Story, adding some humor to a volume that deals with some serious topics, such as suicide, abandoned children, and life in the slums. The city is richly realized, with little details filled in throughout all the stories, so that by the end of the book you feel like you’ve actually walked the streets of Liavek. I can recommend Liavek for a light read that will transport you to another world.

Liavek — (1985-1990) An anthology series edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, similar to Thieves’ World.

Will Shetterly and Emma Bull anthology 1. Liavek 2. The Players of Luck 3. Wizard's Row 4. Spells of Binding 5. Festival WeekWill Shetterly and Emma Bull anthology 1. Liavek 2. The Players of Luck 3. Wizard's Row 4. Spells of Binding 5. Festival WeekWill Shetterly and Emma Bull anthology 1. Liavek 2. The Players of Luck 3. Wizard's Row 4. Spells of Binding 5. Festival WeekWill Shetterly and Emma Bull anthology 1. Liavek 2. The Players of Luck 3. Wizard's Row 4. Spells of Binding 5. Festival WeekWill Shetterly and Emma Bull anthology 1. Liavek 2. The Players of Luck 3. Wizard's Row 4. Spells of Binding 5. Festival Week


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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