the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Charles deLint’ Category

Eyes Like Leaves, by Charles deLint

Published in 2012 (but written many years ago!)

where I got it: received review copy from Tachyon Publications

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New peoples and new religions have come to the Green Isles, and no one believes in the old magics anymore. The henges have been taken over by weeds, the barrows forgotten, and stories of shapeshifters and wizards are found only at grandmother’s knee.  The ancient tale of the eternal balanced war of the Summerlord and his brother the Icelord has been all but forgotten. Winter follows each ever colder Summer, no one cares anymore about the magics behind it.

With no memories of his parents, Tarn the orphan is offered an apprenticeship by an old man named Puretongue who claims to be a tree wizard. But Tarn learns his lessons well, and is soon shapeshifting with names on his lips.  Often taking the form of a swan, Tarn becomes known as the Swanmage.  Puretongue tells Tarn of a prophecy he must fulfill – bring the Summerborn, those with the sleeping magics of the Summer Lord, to Pelamas Henge. Once there, either the Summerlord will rise again, or the Icelord will take over the Green Isles forever.

Tarn has identified a young woman named Carrie as a Summerborn, but now he has to convince her to trust him, and to travel with him. A survivor of coastal raids by Vikings, Carrie isn’t interested in going anywhere with a strange man who claims to be a mage. A tinker family has adopted her, and she feels safe in their wagon, surrounded by their music and traditions.  By the time Tarn convinces the tinker family that he means them and Carrie no harm, it may be too late.

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Just so you know, this is a super long post with a funny at the end.  Not unlike an epic quest. . . .

I describe this website as offering Science Fiction & Fantasy reviews.  But going through my list of reviews, I’m seeing far more fantasy than science.  Maybe I should just describe it as a fantasy review site?  Or a gateway to fantasy review site?

When I was a kid, I was an adamant SF fan. Much of my youth was spent building spaceships out of legos and watching PBS shows about astronomy.  I craved scientific explanations for everything.  I wanted to know how everything worked

While my friends were reading Lloyd Alexander, I was reading Interstellar Pig.  As they moved onto Tolkien and Raymond Feist and Katherine Kurtz, I moved onto David Brin and Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert.

To me, Fantasy was wizards with long beards, royals who went on quests where their soldiers and magical armor protected them, and elves and dwarves who spent the first half of the conversation telling you their lineages, and embarassingly rediculous cover art. really nothing else. I had no understanding that “high fantasy” was only the tip of the iceberg of the genre.  My limited experiences with high fantasy let me know quickly that I didn’t care for it.

And then I started reading manga, a form famous for mixing genres. Cyborg mechas using laser guns against a castle and fighting flesh and blood dragons that guarded hoards of treasure? no problem. Kids who get wisked away from their regular life to fight demons and spirits and collect magical shards? piece of cake.  Vampires, martians, aliens, dragons, time travel, often in the same series. And it worked, like magic.

Wait, wasn’t this, um, fantasy?  It sure was fantastical, and it sure wasn’t hard scifi. Read the rest of this entry »

This review was originall posted here.

They say that Raven created our world to have someplace to be flying. Myths were once stories, which were once histories which were once actions. Otherwise, where would the stories have come from in the first place?

Known for often intertwining Celtic mythology with an urban punk or fantasy plotline, Someplace to be Flying instead uses Native American mythology has it’s foundation. DeLint seamlessly blends Native American mythology with his urban style for a story of bohemian characters who are going to save the world, even if it kills them.

Introduced early on to two young sisters (friends? cousins?) who claim to be “bird people” of some kind, it’s easy to believe they are just punky teenagers who live down the street, of course they don’t live in a tree, or kill bad guys in an alley, because that would be silly. And then, there are the (mostly) normal people: Kerry, a young art student recently released from a mental institution, Lily a photojournalist who seems to be finding trouble around every corner, Hank, a gypsy cab driver who also finds trouble everywhere he looks, Katy, a homeless redhead who is convinced her sister is going to kill her, Rory, a journalist who wants to be an artist (or is it the other way around?) a collection of other odd ducks, and of course, there is Jack.

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