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By Singing Light

Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.

Currently reading

The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Seventh Bride
T. Kingfisher
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
Midnight Thief
Livia Blackburne
The White Hart
Nancy Springer
The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Jim C. Hines
Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
Sarah Gristwood
Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits - Robin McKinley, Peter Dickinson by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

Previously reviewed: Water

This is going to get really confusing, because I also have Kristin Cashore's Fire out at the moment (just haven't gotten around to reading it). SIGH.

Overall, I thought this was a strong collection, maybe more so than Water. I always knew whose story I was reading, which isn't a bad thing--obviously both McKinley and Dickinson have distinct voices--especially since the overall focus of the collection is tight enough to give some sense of cohesion.

Thoughts on individual stories:
Phoenix by Peter Dickinson: the premise of this one was fascinating and the characterizations worked very well, I thought. I was a little confused by the setting at first; I couldn't tell if they were meant to be in England or America, or if Ellie was American visiting England (actually, I'm still not sure about that).

Hellhound by Robin McKinley: Okay, I'm going to admit to being a bit fangirl and reading McKinley's blog. So, given my background knowledge that McKinley has two dogs she refers to as hellhounds, I enjoyed this story a lot. Not that I'm trying to suggest that Miri is simply an extension of McKinley, although clearly they share some of the same interests. I also enjoyed the way family was shown in this one, and I felt that, although I tend to associate her work with ahistorical settings, this modern day story worked very well.

Fireworm by Dickinson: I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, but I think it was mostly personal prejudice* against prehistoric settings, rather than anything Dickinson did.

Salamander Man by Dickinson: probably my favorite of Dickinson's stories. The world was one of those where it's clearly not ours, but its just enough like ours to make it seem familiar. I liked the way Dickinson drew on the historical significance of salamanders while also expanding it.

First Flight by McKinley: absolutely my favorite story of the whole book. Ern was such a likeable character and I loved the way his relationship with his older brother was shown. Their world was also fascinating, and the conflict seemed both significant and not over-drawn.

*completely irrational

Book source: Inter-library loan