Never After

I was really intrigued by this anthology as two of the authors were pretty new to me. I had heard of Yasmine Galenorn and Sharon Shinn but I don’t think I have read anything by them before. I also liked the skewed fairy tale theme. I will be reviewing in the order I read them.
First up was Laurell K. Hamilton’s entry, “Can He Bake A Cherry Pie”. A princess decides that the marriage being arranged for her is not what she had in mind. She chooses to take on the impossible task of saving an arrogant Prince from the Evil Sorceress thinking that she will die in the attempt. This was a tale told in the style of Fairy Tale Theater by Shelley Duvall. It was quite a departure from her Anita Blake and Merry Gentry style. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Then I went with Marjorie M. Liu’s “The Tangleroot Palace”. A young princess sets out to find a way out of her arranged marriage with an infamous Warlord and save her father’s kingdom. She journeys to a sinister, magical forest that has some connection to her dead mother. What she finds on her journey is much more than she expected. This was a magical, mystical gem that I must admit is my favorite of them all. I simply must get more of Ms. Liu’s marvelous work.
I was quite intrigued with “The Wrong Bridegroom” by Sharon Shinn. I enjoyed the fact that initially you don’t much care for the princess. She is rather spoiled and shallow. Her father, the king, is quite unpleasant who had arranged her marriage with a rather boring gentleman. She refuses to marry him so her father concocts a plan to hold a tournament where men from all over will compete for her hand. When two men win, one of them happens to be her original betrothed. Then she ends up traveling with both men in order to get to know them. Along the way, she also comes to see what she has been blind to all along. I loved the ending, totally unexpected. This was an enjoyable tale.
I saved “The Shadow of Mist” by Yasmine Galenorn for last, but it certainly wasn’t least. Taking place in her Otherworld series, a selkie has finally found happiness and love in her long life. Then she receives a phone call from a man in her past. This man tried to destroy her and she ran as far and as fast as she could. Now he has found her and is out to destroy everything she holds dear. This was quite the empowering story with the characters staying true to their natures. The world Ms. Galenorn has created is rich and varied. It was very easy to get into this story even though I haven't read the Otherworld books. I enjoyed this entry very much.
This was a great anthology, unique and fun. I am so glad I read it.

Book Blurb for Never After

The bonds of love...

The bonds of matrimony...

The bonds between husband and wife...

Let's face it—some bonds are made to be broken.

Here, for the first time ever, are four stories from today's most provocative authors that take the classic idea of the "faerie tale wedding" and give it a swift kick in the bustle.

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2009 4.25