Monday, August 15, 2011
REVIEW: Kitemaster and Other Stories
Title: Kitemaster and Other Stories
Author: Jim C. Hines
Price: $3.99 (Kindle)
Point of Sale: Barnes & Noble Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
I’ve been a fan of Jim C. Hines for several years, so when he announced that he needed reviewers for his ebook short story collection Kitemaster and Other Stories I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad I did.
Kitemaster is a collection of six previously-published short stories and a preview chapter of Jim’s upcoming novel Libriomancer. The common theme of this collection is that these are the stories that don’t involve goblins, which Jim is famous for writing about.
The lead story, “Kitemaster,” is unusual in that instead of the bog-standard European fantasy realm, it’s set in a feudal Chinese environment. It’s also unusual in that the lead character, Nial, has as a companion a magical, talking (at least to her) kite! In the author’s notes, Jim says he got the idea from a throwaway line about fighting kites in a Robert Zelazny book. I found the story quite enjoyable and refreshing.
The next story in the collection, "Untrained Melody," was written for an anthology edited by the author Julie Czerneda, and features the coolest weapon I’ve ever heard of, the “dwarven battle flute.” Also in the anthology are two stories starring the man-and-woman pair of thieves, Alycia and James. The first story, “Blade of the Bunny” is an interesting tale of a magical knife, while, later in the anthology, “Spell of the Sparrow,” features our criminal duo, their daughter and a somewhat bird-brained sorcerer. Sandwiched between these two delightful tales is “Over the Hill,” a story about a trio of not-quite-too-old women who do daring deeds daringly.
The final story in the collection, “The Creature in Your Neighborhood,” is written as a screenplay. Jim has small children, and one day, a little too much children’s television caused him to snap in an unusual (and very funny) way. Let’s just say werewolves and stuffed animals don’t mix! Jim wraps up the collection with the first chapter of his upcoming book Libriomancer. In this universe, people can (deliberately or by accident) pull magic through the pages of a book.
This is a short collection, only available in ebook, but highly recommended.