While I love to curl up with a nice big novel, sometimes I want a quicker read. I recently enjoyed three fantasy stories of different lengths, Naomi Novik’s novel Uprooted, Larissa Brown’s novella Tress, and Anthony St. Clair’s novelette The Martini of Destiny.
Beware the wood. Beware the wizard. Every ten years the Dragon will leave his tower, visit the village in the valley and take a girl away as payment for his protection from the wood. Agnieszka, clumsy, messy Agnieszka always thought it would be her beautiful best friend Kasia who would be chosen. When Agneiszka finds her place in the tower she slowly learns how the line between good and evil isn’t always what it seems, nor is the wizard or the world beyond her valley.
In this stand-alone fantasy novel, Novik has built an engaging and magical world with relatable characters including a fear-inducing forest. I have a soft spot for retold fairy tales. I have a soft spot for girls who challenge the status quo. I have a soft spot for engaging novels with superb character and world building that keep me reading late into the night. Novik’s newest novel, meets all my criteria for a wonderful read. It has earned a special spot on my shelf for rereading.
Over the past nine months Tress has struggled to recover from the accident which took one of her hands. Her sister invited her for a weekend away at a medieval reenactment. It is here, past the tents, where the line between reality and fantasy blurs and flashback-like episodes of other places and times interrupt her. Echoing sketches from her extensive journals, is Tress drawn into a dark fairy tale world where she must free the woodsman or has her fragile hold on the world slipped completely out of her grasp?
This is a quick read, it’s a novella so you won’t stay up too far past your bedtime to finish it. Brown has again written an engaging story with thoughtful world and character building.
Can one drink change everything? Yes. Jake has served drinks for The Management longer than most bartenders and is beginning to question his role in the world and its destiny. After serving one special drink, Jake receives a note from The Management and events take an unexpected turn. Jake finds himself running into a dream and watching destiny unfold.
St Clair’s first story in the Rucksack Universe is a closely edited, highly engaging, fun and fast novelette even better when enjoyed with a cup of ultimate perception coffee. The world and character building left me wishing for a longer novel, thankfully two other stories are already available, Home Sweet Road and Forever the Road with additional stories forthcoming.