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The Storyteller and Other Tales (2008)

by K. V. Johansen

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Reviewed by Rebecca Wells for TeensReadToo.com

`Other' is the theme of the day - other worlds, other species, other religions. In THE STORYTELLER AND OTHER TALES, K. V. Johansen presents four stories that range from uplifting to eerie with one guarantee: they will all haunt you long after the last page has been turned.

In "The Storyteller," Ulfleif, a warrior-princess who would rather not carry the sword she has inherited, is drawn to the mysterious storyteller Moth, who has an agenda of her own for seeking out Ulfleif's home. He-Redeems, a slave in Bronze-Age Korthan, finds that his lovers have been tortured and executed for the crime of worshipping outlawed gods in "He-Redeems," and in response to this horror, finds his own faith shaken. Merlin's daughter rewrites a familiar tale in "The Inexorable Tide," painting a picture of Arthur's Britain steeped in adultery and unexpected treachery. "a. d. cmxci" gives voice to a group of common men of England who faced a barrage of sea-raiders in the historical tale of the Battle of Maldon.

THE STORYTELLER AND OTHER TALES is a collection based around the idea of `other,' and, as such, it succeeds admirably. While all of the stories contained in this book have a magical element to them, which makes this an excellent read, the reader is drawn towards thoughts of what exactly makes the `other' different, and what place otherness has in society today. The best of books are ones that entertain and yet still manage to compel deep thought on the part of the reader, and this is certainly one of them. K. V. Johansen nudges the reader to consider different ways of looking at the world, at heroism and betrayal, and of tragedy.

I enjoyed this collection very much, and I was disappointed to find that it was comprised of only four stories when I reached the end. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
"Johansen demonstrates her mastery of different styles of writing with each of these stories...The stories drip with atmosphere and feeling. Johansen’s background in history, medieval studies, and Old English comes shining through, and she knows how to do characters... This wonderful offering from Johansen deserves an unabashed five stars."
added by PaulMarlowe | editFantasyLiterature.net
 
"I felt like I was within the wooden hall listening to the storyteller and was eager to learn more about the people and their ways of life...The Storyteller and other Tales is perfect fireside reading, full of bravery, tragedy, belief and treachery."
added by PaulMarlowe | editFantasyBookReview.co.uk
 
"...this book contains four short stories that cover the range from fantasy, to Arthurian, to historical fiction. Well-written, they ring true of the ages or backgrounds they represent... Readers of fantasy or historical fiction will find something to enjoy within these tales of heroes and tragedies. Highly Recommended."
added by PaulMarlowe | editCM Magazine
 
"...while reading them, I felt transported. I might have been experiencing them as told by a true teller of tales, round a fire, or sitting on a hearth. In a way I suppose I was. K.V. Johansen is, most definitely, a teller of tales.... I've been a fan of her writing for younger readers. Now, I am very much looking forward to future publishing for a slightly older audience as well. Highly recommended"
added by PaulMarlowe | editMad Tales
 
"Johansen presents four stories that range from uplifting to eerie with one guarantee: they will all haunt you long after the last page has been turned...The best of books are ones that entertain and yet still manage to compel deep thought on the part of the reader, and this is certainly one of them."
added by PaulMarlowe | editTeens Read Too
 
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Book description
A collection for adults and older teens, The Storyteller and Other Tales will take you on a journey through exotic worlds and times. Demon bears take human shape and devils walk in the north of a world where every hill hosts a god and every river and spring a goddess. Ulfleif, a warrior-princess who would rather carry a lyre than a sword, is drawn into an unfinished tale by the storyteller Moth, and old lays of vengeance and betrayal wake into bloody new life around her. A slave in Bronze-Age Korthan sees his lovers suffer and die for the crime of worshipping outlawed gods and in the midst of horror at their sin, finds his own faith shaken and takes his own first steps on the road to rebellion. In a tale built on the familiar legends of our world, Merlin's daughter relates the story of the fall of Arthur's Britain as you have never heard it, a tale of adultery and treachery old and well-known, yet fresh and startling in Nimiane's telling. The unnamed common men of England who faced a later generation of sea-raiders are given voice once more in the historical tale of the Battle of Maldon, when English fought Vikings at the Blackwater and lost. In all these tales, the common thread is otherness; other worlds, other times, other ways of looking at heroism and tragedy, faith and betrayal and victory. Build the fire up, shut out the dark, and let The Storyteller carry you away.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0973950587, Paperback)

A collection for adults and older teens, The Storyteller and Other Tales will take you on a journey through exotic worlds and times. Demon bears take human shape and devils walk in the north of a world where every hill hosts a god and every river and spring a goddess. Ulfleif, a warrior-princess who would rather carry a lyre than a sword, is drawn into an unfinished tale by the storyteller Moth, and old lays of vengeance and betrayal wake into bloody new life around her. A slave in Bronze-Age Korthan sees his lovers suffer and die for the crime of worshipping outlawed gods and in the midst of horror at their sin, finds his own faith shaken and takes his own first steps on the road to rebellion. In a tale built on the familiar legends of our world, Merlin's daughter relates the story of the fall of Arthur's Britain as you have never heard it, a tale of adultery and treachery old and well-known, yet fresh and startling in Nimiane's telling. The unnamed common men of England who faced a later generation of sea-raiders are given voice once more in the historical tale of the Battle of Maldon, when English fought Vikings at the Blackwater and lost. In all these tales, the common thread is otherness; other worlds, other times, other ways of looking at heroism and tragedy, faith and betrayal and victory. Build the fire up, shut out the dark, and let The Storyteller carry you away.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:40 -0400)

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