Review: “He Said, Sidhe Said,” Tanya Huff

Pros: Great Tanya Huff fantasies in short form
Cons: Any anthology is likely to have stories that don’t appeal to you as much as others
Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Tanya Huff’s He Said, Sidhe Said is a delightful anthology of her short stories (a small collection, perfect at its low Kindle price). The problem with anthologies is that it’s almost impossible for every story to suit a given reader’s tastes, but overall this one is of very good quality.

A Choice of Endings: in which an incarnation of the Crone decides to do something small-i important with her last hours–something she’s not supposed to involve herself in. It’s a poignant tale, yet with some nice humor. It’s one of my favorites in this book.

Finding Marcus: A dog has lost his master, and is left making his way from world to world via Gates in order to try to find him. He meets up with a crow who takes an interest in his tale. This is a fascinating little interlude, exciting and sweet.

He Said, Sidhe Said is an amusingly modern tale in which the queen of the fairies takes a most unsuitable lover–and a tale of the lengths she’ll go to in order to get rid of him while saving face. Not my favorite style of fairy story, and I’m not fond of the characters, but there’s some marvelous tongue-in-cheek humor here.

I’ll be Home for Christmas: A woman and her daughter inherit a decrepit house in the country and try to make a new life for themselves there. Unfortunately it seems like disaster after disaster drains the last of their savings, and strange happenings plague their waking hours. The ending is a little abrupt, but very clever and sly, and I definitely enjoyed this one.

Tuesday Evenings, Six Thirty to Seven: In which a woman takes on a very unusual troupe of Brownies, preparing them to become Girl Guides. She has to adapt her usual methods in odd ways, but she’s determined to do right by her little group. This is one of my favorite stories in this anthology–it’s delightful and touching.

Never let them know they’d flustered you. Little girls reacted to weakness like wolves — which was not particularly fair to wolves, who were, on the whole, noble creatures. But saying that little girls reacted to weakness like chickens, who were known to peck their companions to death, didn’t have the same kind of mythic power behind it, even though it was more biologically accurate.

Under Summons: This one takes place in the same world as Tanya Huff’s Keeper novels. I don’t think you need to have read those books to enjoy this story, although it would probably help. This is a nice, quirky little adventure for Diana and her talking cat, Sam, but it doesn’t have quite the emotional resonance of some of the other stories.

Word of Honour: A young woman in need of a job takes on an unusual burden: to take a relic to Scotland and leave it in a certain grave. She faces temptations along the way, even as the relic shows her visions of the past. The ending of the story gave me chills.

 

While it’s true that I find anthologies average out to be less than perfect, I definitely enjoyed a preponderance of the stories in He Said, Sidhe Said–and thus I recommend it to any fan of Tanya Huff, or of quirky urban fantasy.

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