The last thing I read I can’t review because it’s a title connected to the embargoed winners list for 2013 Indiana Authors Award and I like being employed and keeping surprises. But I realized I’d read some small books that were all great and deserved mention.
Brust, the author of the Vlad Taltos series, wrote a worthwhile piece of Firefly fanfic, set between the end of the TV show and before the movie. Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew find themselves pulling a job on Hera, the site of the battle of Serenity Valley. As with most of their capers, it doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to. Brust captured the characters brilliantly; he must have been channeling Joss Whedon when he wrote. He filled in bits of their pasts to make them more human and wrote with River’s madness with a frightening level of spookiness. It’s an eBook only; sorry for those of you Browncoat fans who only read paper.
Instructions, Neil Gaiman
In 40 pages (with beautiful illustrations by Charles Vess), Gaiman gives a set of life instructions, a la “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” without the sing-song rhymes and with a whole lot more punch. The instructions are given to a human/fox character about journeying through life, being careful of who to trust, and how favors may be repaid. Laced with references to the old fairy tales, it is a visual and wordy treat. Don’t be fooled by the picture book format; it’s not really applicable to kids.
Niffeneger, of Time-Traveller’s Wife fame, was asked to write a new fairy tale that will be adapted into a ballet and the result of that was Raven Girl. So, this 80-page gem tells the story of a Postman who falls in love with a raven and their Raven Girl daughter and how to be the person you really feel you are. She wrote such a convincing fairy tale, that my first reaction was to wonder how I’d missed this piece of folklore as a kid. The ring of the tale was exactly how fairy tales should be constructed. Niffeneger also drew the pictures which gets extra props in my estimation because I can’t draw stick figures that look like anything.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Read any or all of them.