Title: Wizard’s Apprentice
Author: Delia Sherman
In: Troll’s-Eye View (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Villains, Wizards
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
5th sentence, 74th page: And leave your boots by the door.
The evil wizard in the bookshop is about to take on a new apprentice, but their relationship is not all as it seems.
This short story made me smile. It’s a great start to a collection of villain-based rewritings of fairy tales. For starters, the evil wizard that is a pretty common standpoint of many fairy tales and modern retellings is not at all what you would expect. The apprentice (who I thought was going to be eaten or turned into a toad) is from the background that I was anticipating, but the actual apprentice himself wasn’t even remotely who I thought he would be.
This is the second short story that I have read by Delia Sherman, and something about her writing manages to infuse a subtle, cheeky sense of humour into her tale telling. Wizard’s Apprentice is a little less subtle than the other stories I’ve read by her, but it still has that great twisting joy that I’m beginning to associate with her name. It’s especially joyful and obvious at the conclusion of the short stories, there is a fun and entertaining twist that leaves a happy little smile lingering across my lips.