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Maps to Nowhere by Marie Brennan

Maps to Nowhere

by Marie Brennan

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2919551,256 (4.06)10



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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Several interesting tidbits, uneasy appetizers. Lady Trent's letters are a hoot! ( )
  quondame | Apr 27, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Another excellent collection of stories - I do like Marie Brennan. A wide variety of settings, from D&D to Lady Trent to ancient Egypt; an equally wide variety of moods and themes. I liked quite a few of them - the one about the city in the reflections, and the last one about a young D&D adventurer writing home, were two favorites. The Beggars' Blessing and the Sketches in Charcoal and Blood were...I didn't like them, exactly, but they were very very rich stories. I suspect that most of these will stay with me for quite a while. The one about the man undoing his choices to save his beloved, too...all too likely (given the ability) and really scary. Same format as Ars Historica, with notes about each story at the end of the book, and linked at the end of each story. Very interesting, too - less about the sources, and more about how she wrote them, since these are (more or less) entirely made-up stories. Yeah. More Marie Brennan, please! ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Feb 11, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
2/3/18: I am late reading this book that I won from LTER back in September 2017. I thought I had not received it, but apparently I had gotten and downloaded it to my computer and then forgot to send it to my Kindle to read. Only this morning I discovered it hiding in my Calibre folder and downloaded it to my Kindle. This will be a partial review, because I just started this book of short stories & only read the first one, "Once a Goddess," so far. Set in a world like ancient Egypt. it is the story of Nefret, who had been chosen to be the human avatar of the Sun Goddess Hathirekhmet when just a little girl. After 11 years, she is replaced and sent "home" to a life of drudgery in the hovel of the woman the priests tell her is her "mother." Reading it, I felt Nefret's despair and anger, felt the hot desert winds, the scorching sun, the sand that was hot on my feet during the day and cold at night as Nefret struggles to make a life for herself without her goddess. Can't wait to get to the rest of the stories! Based on this first story, the book would garner a 5-star rating, but I still have 9 stories to go, so I'm withholding my rating until I finish.

2/4/18 UPDATE: Finished! I really enjoyed all the stories, some more than others. I think I enjoyed the first two (one set in an ancient Egyptian world and the other set in an Aztec-like world) most, but all of them were either exciting or intriguing or just plain fun. I love the Lady Trent series, so the short epistolary story set in that world was great. The last story, "Love, Cayce," was hard for me to get into - I have never been much into RPG so was a bit confused in the beginning as to what was going on - but about halfway through it clicked and I enjoyed the rest. I hope she writes a sequel. :)

Lately, I've been having trouble staying focused on novels, so this short story collection was perfect for me just now. Recommended! ( )
  Storeetllr | Feb 3, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
You can tell the author knows her mythologies, folk tales, and legends as she uses her anthropology background in this short story collection to wonderful effect.
This collection is actually a first for me, it's both the first time I've read anything by this author and it's quite possibly the first short story collection where I enjoyed and loved every single story. I can't even think of a weak one in the bunch.

Many of the stories have a dark edge to them, a hint of the monsters hiding underneath so to speak, especially the ones that seemed mythology or fairytale based and that tone worked perfectly. It really made then feel like ancient stories instead of the cleaned up and safe versions we tell today.

My favorite story was the last one though, “Love, Cayce”, this is possibly the best epistolary based story I have ever read and it had me laughing out loud on the train. I really hope the author follows up and does more with the characters.
Beyond that I'm not going to review each story, I'm just going to say that I enjoyed them all, they all felt just the right length with no sense of the story being rushed or truncated to fit the short story format. They all just worked for me and resonated with me.

I read this in an e-book format and my app did not allow me to follow the links at the end of each story for notes, but they were all included at the very end of the book and they gave nice insights into the inspirations for or what happened while she was writing each story and they we well worth reading as well so don't skip those.

As I said above, this was my first experience with this author but it won't be my last, I am really looking forward to reading more by her as soon as I can. ( )
  Kellswitch | Jan 5, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
LibraryThing has done wonders for expanding my reading comfort zone. One genre that I've started to read much more widely is science fiction/fantasy (apologies to those who think of those as two separate genres, but I tend to lump them together when I think of them). So it's no surprise that I first heard of Marie Brennan right here on LT when I saw reviews of A Natural History of Dragons, the first in her Lady Trent's Memoirs series. I've still not managed to read that one, although it's on my wishlist; I guess my local library is not as enamored of dragons and dragon stories as I am. When this book of short stories came up as an October selection of the Early Reviewers program, I requested it to get a feel for Brennan's writing and worldbuilding. As with any collection of short works some are stronger than others, but overall it's quite good.

Although there is a Lady Trent story included here, Brennan is clearly not a one-note author. She has created a wide variety of worlds and creatures in these stories. Among my favorites in this volume: "Once a Goddess," which had an intriguing premise and unexpected depth; "The Mirror-City," set in an alternate-universe Venice; "Nine Sketches in Charcoal and Blood," nicely foreboding; and "From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review," which finds Lady Trent engaged in a bit of humorously savage old-style feuding with an academic rival, all carried out in an exchange of letters published in the newspaper.

In addition to how varied the settings and situations are, I like how Brennan doesn't drag a story to a screeching halt to explain details of how things work; she trusts readers to be able to fill in the gaps with their own imaginations and other SF/F experiences.

Among the lesser lights (though none are terrible) was "Love, Cayce," meant to be a breezy and humorous letter home from a group of young friends of indeterminate magical abilities who have set off on a series of adventures much as all of their parents did together at the same age. I think people who are big into Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games would really like this one, though. Also, "A Thousand Souls" fell rather flat for me.

Each story has a short accompanying essay in which Brennan recounts her inspiration or interesting tidbits about the writing process. Sometimes these sorts of things can be ho-hum, but I enjoyed them here. And the ebook was nicely formatted so that at the end of each short story, there was a link to the appropriate author's note, and then links back to that story or the next story in the volume, so that you could choose to read the notes with each story or skip them altogether without having to flip a bunch of pages back and forth. ( )
  rosalita | Dec 20, 2017 |
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