I’d only read two of Jo Walton’s books so far, but absolutely loved them and kept recommending them around me: « Among others » and « Tooth and claw » (the best Jane Austen’s fan-fiction ever written!). I actually don’t know why I waited so long to read another of her books, probably because some of the themes broached in them aren’t some I like to read about… a shame and a wrong decision, probably. I will make an effort soon.
Well. When I discovered this collection from Jo Walton, and had the opportunity to read it offered by Netgalley, I was enthusiast and happy to read it. I was also a little wary, as I’m not known to appreciate easily short stories: it’s often difficult for me to immerse myself in a story, and if the effort isn’t worth doing, if the story is just meh in the end, I’m rather frustrated. And conversly, if the story is fascinating, I’m also frustrated, because it’s to short!
A reader life can be difficult, sometimes…
Before beginning reading these short stories and poetry, I read the introduction by the author, and found it quite fascinating. Among things, she explains her relation with short stories, how she used to consider them much more difficult to write than novels, and also how she had incidentally discovered that some ideas were good basis for short stories, but not for novels. « Starlings » perfectly illustrates how the author manages to use this revelation.
I really loved this book, which I found astonishingly easy and entertaining to read. (I didn’t read all the poetry however: English isn’t my first langage and I still haven’t learned to appreciated poetry in this langage). Of course I preferred some stories, but all were good, or very good. And the very good ones were absolutely fantastic! I loved how the characters were immediately likeable and perfectly characterised. As a lot of the ideas were astonishing and frequently funny (even irreverently so!), I was deliciously entertained while reading them from their very beginning and spend some times after their end thinking about them – which is a sure sign of quality stories!
I thank again Netgalley for giving me this opportunity to read a book that I probably won’t have chose spontaneously, even knowing how the author had previously delighted me, because of my mistrust of collection of short stories. I very probably will buy the paper book at the first opportunity to re read it. I warmly recommend it to all passionate readers of science-fi and fantasy.