Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bedlam's Edge, Edited by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill

Bedlam's Edge (Bedlam's Bard) Bedlam's Edge by Mercedes Lackey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I will go through and discuss a little about each of the stories, since I was organized this time, and jotted down notes regularly as I read this collection. One comment I have is that this anthology assumes that the reader has read a Bedlam novel before. You can read and enjoy this separately, but you might have to make some assumptions. One very important assumption is what a bard is. I came to the conclusion that a bard is a person who has magical ability tied into their musical (vocal or instrumental) talent. This is a recurring theme in this collection.

Devil Went Down to Georgia by Mercedes Lackey- 5 Stars
--What if the devil was actually an evil faery? That's the essence of this story. Very well done. It had a bit of a Manly Wade Wellman Southern folklore feel (which I love).

Unleaving by India Edgehill - 5 stars
--Two Seelie Elven siblings become captivated by the magic of movies (been there). The brother joins the WWII fight against the Nazis. This story involved me emotionally and made me sad, although it had a slow start.

Old Order by Michael Longcor - 4 stars
--What if a biker gang ran by an Unseelie moved into a small farming community and tried to recruit an Amish boy ready to embark on his rumschpringen (when an eighteen year old Amish teenager goes out to experience the non-Amish world)? Good thing his father has a friend who has been around for a long time and knows all about the Sidhe, personally.

Well-Met by Moonlight by Diana L. Paxon - 5 stars
--Lovely story of an artist on the run from her abusive husband, who hides out in a Renaissance Faire, and gets help from the real deal, a handsome, kind Elf with a personal interest in her.

The World's Full of More Weeping by Rosemary Edgehill - 4.5 stars
--If only the Sidhe were around to protect the children from the predators in real life. The shopping mall is a portal to the Otherworld, and the Sidhe are watching over us. This is seen through the eyes of a so-called lowly security guard.

The Waters and the Wild by Mercedes Lackey - 3.5 stars
--Hmm. This one was okay. Kind of bleak. Interesting, though. About a mine defusing technician who was mentored by a Sidhe folk woman.

The Remover of Difficulties by Ashley McConnell - 5 stars
--Very enjoyable. If only my grandmother could call in a favor with a magical friend to deal with a bad boss for me. Just the right touch of humor and magic, and some Persian culture.

Bright as Diamonds by Barb Caffrey with Michael B. Caffrey - 4 stars
--Unrequited love never fails to stir me. In this case, a bard in training and a Seelie Elf, is in love with his uncle's human consort, who has a very powerful latent talent as a musical Bard. Did you know Las Vegas is Tir Na Og?

Bottle of Djinn by Robert Gellis -- 4.5 stars
--I admit my attention wandered away a few times, but I liked this one. It was like an Ocean's Elven caper-type story, but with a fantastical twist. The desired object is a bottle with a djinn. If the djinn gets out, it spells trouble for the human and Faery worlds.

Red Fiddler by Dave Freer and Eric Flint-- 4 stars
--Pretty good story with a powerful magical person from the land of Faery, Ruairi Mac Faelan (minus the Gaelic punctuation.) I'm not sure if he's exists in folklore or not. I need to look him up. He's a fiddler who serves as a guardian of the door to Faery, and lives in a tree.

Unnatural History by Sarah A. Hoyt-- 5 stars
--Not one, but two, very hunky elven brothers, and a heroine who has a mundane job cataloging junk (for lack of a better word) at the museum of natural history. One of the brothers was encased in stone 2000 years ago by evil Romans and their rogue Elven magicians. Really liked this one.

All That Jazz by Jenn Saint-John-- 4 stars
--Very nice love story with an Elf who is a troubleshooter for his brother and his male human lover, who is a Bard. It was very poignant in the expression of love between the couple who only got two days out of the year to spend together. Had some voodoo stuff also.

Six-Shooter by Ellen Guon-- 4 stars
--I didn't really get an Elven/Faery feel in this one, but it was an interesting concept. When a person commits suicide, the act tears a whole in the fabric of the barrier between our world and a darker one, allowing nasty monsters to get through that devour the souls of suicides. We never get the name of the protagonist, but she is recruited by another suicide monster hunter to join in destroying these creatures.

Mall Elves and How They Grew--
This was more of an explanation of how Mercedes Lackey got into writing urban fantasy. I love to find out what the genesis of a genre is, so that was fun reading. I would love to read more of her urban fantasy collections and novels.

This is was a good collection. It took me a while to get through, because I had trouble keeping my concentration on some of the stories. But it was worth the effort and I did find them very enjoyable. I liked that no two stories were alike. It shows how broad the urban fantasy genre is, even if a similar motif is used, in this case the world of Faery (elves). Recommended for urban fantasy readers who want to try something different from the currently popular books in the genre. Definitely read this if you are a fan of the faery genre or elves (not the Christmas kind, mind you).

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