Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: The Inheritance: And Other Stories by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm

I’m not usually much of a short story reader. I like my novels. But I snagged an Early Reviewer copy of Robin Hobb’s The Inheritance: And Other Stories, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her Mad Ship Trilogy and the Dragon Wilds Chronicles, so I was actually kind of excited to win this one. I’d never read anything by her alter ego, Megan Lindholm. I was dubious at first about that portion of the book, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Great stuff. Solid Science fiction and fantasy, excellent characters and storylines. It was a real pleasure to read. Each short story is prefaced by a personal note from the author describing why/how she wrote each piece. It was a nice little peek into her brain.

A Touch of Lavender – I thought this was a literary piece at first and was unhappy, but it turned out to be an intriguing sci-fi story about an alien named Lavender who falls in love with a human woman. The story is told from her son’s point of view, who watches in horror as his mother becomes addicted to the slimy excretion of the alien’s skin and falls into the all-too-familiar downward spiral of a junkie’s life.

Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man – Not my favorite, but short and sweet. A writer who has given up on her dreams finds mystery and romance with a customer who claims to be a magician, but keeps vanishing at inopportune moments – often leaving her to pay the check.

Cut – This one gave me the heebie-jeebies. A somewhat morbid and perhaps a tad too realistic tale set in the not-too-distant future. It’s about a teenage girl who wants to free herself from the ‘bondage’ of sexual desire, and her mother and grandmother’s desperate attempts to keep her from mutilating herself.

The Fifth Squashed Cat – A hitchhiker shows two women how a special bone from the fifth dead cat you pass in the road contains a special kind of magic…for some.

Strays – A strange young woman escapes into a hoard of stray cats to escape her abusive family life.

Finis – A vampire story, with a bit of a twist. Better than some I’ve read, and short enough to keep me from becoming impatient from yet another vampiric tale.

Drum Machine – One of the more forgettable stories in the book, in my opinion. I’m honestly having trouble remembering what it was about. Something to do with standardizing standardization. Everyone’s the same, all the time, even the music.

Homecoming – Yay, Rain Wilds! This was my favorite story in the book. A peek into the history of Bingtown. This is the tale of the very first settlers in the Rain Wilds and their struggle to fend off the madness enough to survive in that harsh and magical land.

The Inheritance – Title story. A grandmother dies, leaving her granddaughter with nothing – except a wizardwood pendant, which comes to life and helps the cast-out grandchild of a Bingtown Trader reclaim what is hers.

Cats Meat – Yet another cat story, although it was a good one. The father of Rosemary’s son returns after abandoning them three years ago. He demands access to the home and the life she has built up from nothing but a run-down cottage. He threatens Rosemary and her son, and their only hope for salvation comes in the form of the disgruntled cat who shares their home.

Altogether, it was a delightful anthology. Very original, and I loved getting to revisit the worlds she’s created. I may have to re-read the Liveship trilogy again, even though I have a stack of new books a mile high awaiting my attention.

My only complaint is that there were too many cat stories, and that most of them involved dead or dying cats. I’m not a cat person anyway. I don’t think they’re smarter than people or dogs, they can’t solve mysteries, and they’re neither sensitive nor special. Take them away, thank you. That being said, I also don’t enjoy reading about them being tortured, boiled, poisoned, or eaten.

I hope she writes some more Rain Wilds books soon.

Amazon page for The Inheritance: And Other Stories

The Inheritance: And Other Stories by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager; Original edition (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061561649
ISBN-13: 978-0061561641

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