From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-Teens will find much to savor and celebrate in this dazzling collection of 16 short stories by some of the best fantasy writers around. A biographical sketch and note from each one follows every selection. The collection starts off with Delia Sherman's "Cotillion," a luscious and romantic version of "Tam Lin" set in Manhattan, 1969. Diana Wynne Jones's "Little Dot" will charm anyone who has ever loved a cat. Kara Dalkey elegantly retells Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" in "The Lady of the Ice Garden," and fans of Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel (Harcourt, 1997) will find great pleasure in "Beauty," his charming tale of one of Meliara and Shevraeth's children. Nancy Springer slyly twits the movers and shakers of the world in "Mariposa," a comic tale about a woman looking for her soul. An adaptation of the folksong "The Black Fox" by Emma Bull is complemented by Charles Vess's fine graphic interpretation. "The Baby in the Night Deposit Box" by Megan Whalen Turner is a sweetly daffy look at how evil can be beaten with rules and regulations. In Lloyd Alexander's devastating "Max Mondrosch," a man tries to do everything in his power to get by and still fails utterly. The most disturbing story in the collection, however, is Garth Nix's "Hope Chest," in which innocent Alice May is saddled with the task of saving her family and her town from the creeping shadow of evil. A first-class collection.Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GACopyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. The only theme in this gorgeous tapestry of a collection is that all the authors are part of the Firebird imprint. The 16 stories are richly romantic in the broadest sense, and they effortlessly transport readers. Delia Sherman's opening "Cotillion" evokes the spell of lute music and New York City in 1969; Garth Nix's creepy "Hope Chest" is a Western stand-alone with a very unusual sheriff; Michael Cadnum and Meredith Ann Pierce turn old stories inside out. There's a cat tale (Diana Wynne Jones), and an odd changeling tale (Nancy Farmer), and a graphic novel by Emma Bull and Charles Vess. Nancy Springer takes a bemused and ironic look at what might happen when a girl wants her soul back. So many beguiling tales in one package make this a real find. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Firebird-the imprint-is dedicated to publishing the best fantasy and science fiction for teenage and adult readers. Firebirds is an equally special anthology. Its sixteen original stories showcase some of the genre's most admired authors, including multiple award-winners Diana Wynne Jones, Garth Nix, Lloyd Alexander, Nancy Farmer, Meredith Ann Pierce, and Patricia A. McKillip. Here you will find a sparkling range of writing, from dark humor to high sword and sorcery to traditional ballads-something for every sort of reader. Finally, to make this anthology even more of a standout, it appears first as a deluxe, jacketed hardcover. Welcome to Firebirds-a must-have for fans of contemporary speculative fiction.
Edited by Sharyn November.
About the Author
Sharyn November is the editor of Firebird Books.
Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Firebirds is more than simply an anthology -- it is a celebration of wonderful writing. It gathers together sixteen original stories by some of today's finest writers of fantasy and science fiction. Together, they have won virtually every major prize -- from the National Book Award to the World Fantasy Award to the Newbery Medal -- and have made best-seller lists worldwide. These authors, including Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain), Diana Wynne Jones (The Merlin Conspiracy), Garth Nix (The Abhorsen Trilogy), Patricia A. McKillip (Ombria in Shadow), Meredith Ann Pierce (The Darkangel Trilogy), and Nancy Farmer (The House of the Scorpion), each with his or her own inimitable style, tell stories that will entertain, provoke, startle, amuse, and resonate long after the last page has been turned.
The writers featured in Firebirds all share a connection to Firebird Books, an imprint that is dedicated to publishing the best fantasy and science fiction for teenage and adult readers.
This anthology marks a milestone for Firebird -- and is a must-read for all teenage and adult fans of speculative fiction.
FROM THE CRITICS
This impressive collection showcases an unusual diversity of styles, settings and tone. November, editor of Penguin's Firebird imprint, has chosen wisely: each of these 16 tales has literary merit strong enough to transcend its respective micro-genre (heroic fantasy, fairy tale, magic realism, "feline fantasy," etc.). Highlights are many: Lloyd Alexander eschews his usual epic fantasy setting in "Max Mondrosch," a darkly intriguing quasi-Edwardian nightmare about a man whose job hunt is literally the end of him; Diana Wynne Jones and Garth Nix offer robust tales likely to satisfy their respective legions of fans (Jones in familiar territory, Nix less so); Nancy Farmer, in "Remember Me," relays a bittersweet tale of a girl born into the wrong body and into the wrong family, and her journey back to where she belongs; and the highlight, Megan Whalen Turner's "The Baby in the Night Deposit Box" shares much of the sly morality-play structure of the best Twilight Zone episodes. Uniformly mature and thoughtful, these stories are likely to appeal not only to imaginative children but adults as well. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Fifteen-year-old Francesca (Franky) Pierson, middle child of a local Seattle celebrity and his abused artistic wife, recounts her observations of the final dissolution of her parents' marriage. Although Oates gives Franky a credible and engaging voice, the family's descent into turmoil and the revelation of the violence at the heart of the mother's disappearance hold almost no surprising twists. As in Julius Lester's When Dad Killed Mom (Harcourt, 2001), there is some exploration of how an adolescent works through increasingly serious familial problems, reinterprets parental behaviors, and confronts the fact that the childhood home is forever gone. Franky moves slowly from oblivious acceptance of her family as normal through rebuilding her life in the shadow of her mother's murder and her father's incarceration. The pacing allows readers to become fond of her while inviting some impatience with her stubborn adherence to blind faith in everyone but herself for so many chapters. Unfortunately, most of the supporting characters-from Franky's steroid-addled half-brother and her regressing younger sister through her manipulative father and her protective best friend-remain flat, as though assigned singular aspects of the human condition rather than peopling the teen's world with beings as capable of complexity as she discovers herself to be.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
A splendid gathering of award-winning fantasists. Feminist allegories and fairytale retellings are heavily represented, with some gems among the standard fare. Delia Sherman's "Cotillion" stands out for its fully realized heroine's twist ending, and Sherwood Smith's "Beauty" enlivens a would-be dull moral with likable characters. Tragedy and comedy are also here in force; Garth Nix's and Megan Whalen Turner's offerings both abandon not-quite-human infants in human towns, with drastically different results. Emma Bull and illustrator Charles Vess collaborate with a ballad, reworked as graphic short. Diana Wynne Jones brings fresh perspective to a deceptively simple tale of a country wizard and his cats. Elizabeth Wein's realistic "Chasing the Wind" and Nancy Farmer's changeling tale "Remember Me" provide compelling glimpses into adolescent self-realization. Not as extraordinary as the all-star contributor list could indicate, as the experimentation the form invites is largely absent here. Still, this is a magical collection. Lloyd Alexander's chilling foray into darkness by itself would justify the price of admission. (Fiction. 12+)