Monday, January 07, 2008

Book Review: The Faery Reel edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

This is easily 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 is worth the price of admission alone. Moreover, the last few pages also has 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 really a 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's actually a lot of stories I liked in this anthology and choosing a select few to talk about is quite difficult: "Catnyp" by Delia Sherman manages to reconcile something as anachronistic as libraries and faeries. "Tengu Mountain" by Gregory Frost is this adventurous Japanese tale that ends perfectly. "The Night Market" by Holly Black is partially this guilty pleasure because it uses Philippine myth yet successfully makes it a horrifying story in a way I didn't expect. "Never Never" by Bruce Glassco is a new take on a very familiar icon while Jeffrey Ford's "The Annals of Eelin-Ok" is probably one of my top ten Jeffrey Ford stories. It's only now, grabbing the book after reading it one month ago, that I realized that I really love this particular anthology as flipping through the contents, I'm thinking hey, I recall and love that story and those weren't even my favorite ones. The only thing that doesn't appeal to me is the poetry--not because the poetry is bad but because I'm just the type that doesn't really appreciate the medium. But despite that, this is nonetheless easily one of the anthologies I'll cherish. Get it, grab a copy, and it should belong in everyone's book shelf! At the very least it's a great resource on the fey.

Rating: 5/5.

No comments: