Tag Archives: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers

Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for sirens and other daemon lovers book cover

Title: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers: Magical Tales of Love and Seduction
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Storm Constantine, Delia Sherman, Joyce Carol Oates, Tanith Lee, Edward Bryant, Garry Kilworth, Michael Swanwick, Elizabeth E. Wein, Pat Murphy, Ellen Steiber, Jane Yolen, Dave Smeds, Neil Gaiman, Doris Egan, Melissa Lee Shaw, Kelley Eskridge, Brian Stableford, Conrad Williams, Mark W. Tiedemann, Ellen Kushner, Wendy Froud & Bruce Glassco
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Lust, Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romance, Short story collections
Dates read: 6th January – 19th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: She abruptly saw herself as if from another’s eyes, toiling in dirty work clothes with the sharp blades, the mirror, the powdered remains.

Synopsis

Prepare to be seduced by powerful magic — the sorcery of lust, need, and sensuality. Multiple award-winners Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have gathered together twenty-two tales of unearthly temptations wickedly concocted by some of today’s most potent literary conjurers — including Neil Gaiman, Jan Yolen, Michael Swanwick, and Joyce Carol Oates. Here are stories of incubi and succubi, of forbidden fruits harvested in erotic gardens, of pleasures that persist beyond death. So heed the sirens’ song. Lie back, relax, and submit to the darkest delights you have ever experienced.

Thoughts

This collection isn’t quite toe curling, it isn’t quite horrific, but a nice mix between the two. It makes you think about the weirdness of sexuality. And the uniqueness of those things that go bump in the night. And thrive upon our sexual, deepest, darkest desires. I was honestly expecting this to be a little more of an uncomfortable read. However, mostly, I just found it intriguing.

This is a great collection of some very familiar authors, and some very new authors. It was a good way to depart from the realities of the world and be entertained by the imaginations of some very creative people. It wasn’t necessarily my favourite collection ever, the thread tying each of these tales together wasn’t as distinct as other collections. But it was a seriously enjoyable journey regardless.

This is definitely a collection that I’ll pick up again at some point in the future. It’s fun, light and easy. Also, there are a number of authors that I still need to hunt out books for… I enjoyed each and everyone of these stories.

<- ToadMy Lady of the Hearth ->

Image source: Goodreads

Taking Loup by Bruce Glassco

Overview
Image result for sirens and other daemon lovers book cover

Title: Taking Loup
Author: Bruce Glassco
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Gender, Paranormal fantasy, Werewolves
Dates read: 19th May 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes there are bandages on his face, and he claims that he cut himself shaving or fell through a window.

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Synopsis

A total gender reversal is occurring in this great short story where women are suddenly the dangers, and men feel scared when they’re alone in the dark…

Thoughts

To be honest, it can be kind of terrifying sometimes to be a woman in the world today. I can only imagine what it would be like for women in the past, for those in a developing country… what I loved about this short story was that it totally flipped all of the expectations of what a women experiences on its head. A total and utter gender reversal.

Gender reversal stories are always something that enjoy and feel pulled in by. After all, they make you re-examine some of the things that you just take for granted. This didn’t do that so much for me, because I’m already aware of how scary that it can be for women… but there have been others which do make me seriously re-examine even the way I think about gender.

I thought that it was somewhat brilliant to use werewolves and the Loup virus to explain the feelings and experiences of women on a daily basis. The use of violence, fear and confusion when the man is talking about his past and future… the iconic moment at the end when he just can’t fall asleep… yeah, it works incredibly well…

<- Persephone, or Why the Winters Seem to be Getting LongerSnow White, Blood Red ->

Image source: Goodreads

Persephone, or Why The Winters Seem to be Getting Longer by Wendy Froud

Overview
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Title: Persephone, or Why the Winters Seems to be Getting Longer
Author: Wendy Froud
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Lust, Mythology, Romance
Dates read: 16th May 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: I need to see him.

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Synopsis

Persephone is enjoying her husband a little too much… so the winters just keep getting longer and longer as she enjoys herself more and more.

Thoughts

For two pages of writing, this was actually quite intense. Very lustful, very emotional and seriously filled with some great imagery. Honestly, not what I was expecting at all from the title. And definitely not the intensity I was expecting from just two pages.

Although this is a lustful short story, it also made me hungry. The symbolism of pomegranates was rampant throughout this. And I really, really like pomegranates… Froud’s ability to describe pomegranates in such a beautiful, ruby red way was great… and seriously made me hungry.

There are so many different takes on the Hades and Persephone myth in the books that I read. Some are dark, some are about star-crossed lovers. I like that this was all about sexuality and lust. After all, the original Greek myths were more about that than anything else…

<- The House of Nine DoorsTaking Loup ->

Image source: Goodreads

The House of Nine Doors by Ellen Kushner

Overview
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Title: The House of Nine Dorrs
Author: Ellen Kushner
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Lust
Dates read: 13th May 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: You know how to help him get over that, surely.

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Synopsis

There are nine doors. Each and every one a doorway to your temptation. Your dreams. The things that make you want.

Thoughts

I really enjoy the little twists and turns that you find throughout Kushner’s short stories. Nothing is ever as it seems, and that intriguing, twiney journey always has a surprising ending at the completion. One that I always rush towards, because I like to be surprised.

Lust seems to be a pretty common occurrence in a lot of the books that I’m reading at the moment. So a story that is entirely based around a pleasure house. And entirely based around lust fits right into that theme. And no, I don’t know why it seems to be such a theme in my reading lately. It just kind of is. The secrets of lust and enjoyment in this story though feel almost pure… and made me love this short story even more.

Even the subheading for this short story is a great little hint in the subheading. The double entendre in this continues throughout the rest of the story, the dialogue, everything has a double meaning. Definitely the kind of short story that I think I’ll discover more and more each time I reread it.

<- Private WordsPersephone, Or Why The Winters Seem to Be Longer ->

Image source: Goodreads

Private Words by Mark W. Tiedemann

Overview
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Title: Private Words
Author: Mark W. Tiedemann
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Lust, Twisted romance
Dates read: 12th May 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: He seemed to think about it.

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Synopsis

Conny and William have been happily married for years. But there’s a catch… Geoffrey. And the power of the pen.

Thoughts

I knew that this story was going to be a little different – it’s in a collection of daemon, lustful stories after all. What I didn’t expect was that it would be far more contemporary than all of the other stories in this collection. That although there was a bit of a fantastical element to the story, it wasn’t a strong one like the other stories. Rather, it was a great little commentary about the ways in which we love and experience love.

This is not a situation in which I ever hope to find myself. In love with one man, but involved with another. Because of the man that I’m in love with. It’s not exactly healthy. And this story definitely made me constantly wonder who it was that Conny loved more. But it was also a tale of love. Not the love that I imagine for myself, but one that I’m sure does actually work for others.

I think that my favourite aspect of this short story is the fact that all of the weirdness occurs through the act of writing. The confusion, the intricacy and the constant questioning of what each character actually feels is all completely driven by the fact that William (Conny’s husband) is writing… and it makes things feel even more confusing and trippy. Which is brilliant. The pen is definitely mightier than the sword.

<- The Light That Passes Through YouThe House of Nine Doors ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Light That Passes Through You by Conrad Williams

Overview
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Title: The Light That Passes Through You
Author: Conrad Williams
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy
Dates read: 8th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: We tooled up and down the main drag, trying on sunglasses and hats.

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Synopsis

It’s not always wise to visit the past. Especially when she comes with strings attached.

Thoughts

I think that everyone has that person in their past that somehow haunts them. Whether it is the what if person, the one you let get away, or just generally someone that you reminisce about the good times, even though they ended. I am also a strong believer in the idea that once that person has left your left, it’s probably for a good reason and you really don’t need to revisit that relationship. This story just drove home that belief for me.

From the very beginning, Louise had this incredibly intense and haunting quality to her. She was waif like at the beginning, and then, as her inner “light” returns, she becomes a haunting figure of a completely different quality. Although there was definitely a supernatural feel to the story, it was that haunting of the past that really stuck with me. That sense that you can never return and should never try to kept on jumping at me from the pages…

Although I wasn’t completely enthralled at the time, the more that I think about this short story, the more I appreciate it. There is lust and a sense of sexuality to the story that is so very subverted. It kind of lingers long after you turn the final page. One that I’m still experiencing as I write this review.

<- O for a Fiery Gloom and TheePrivate Words ->

Image source: Goodreads

O For a Fiery Gloom and Thee by Brian Stableford

Overview
Image result for sirens and other daemon lovers book cover

Title: O for a Fiery Gloom and Thee
Author: Brian Stableford
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fae
Dates read: 30th April 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: Like the rough-hewn roads of myth and history, the many roads of England were not at this time wont to run straight.

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Synopsis

A classic styled tale of the fae and the passions that are ignited.

Thoughts

There was something completely beautiful and stunning about the language used in this story. It had that great lyrical value that doesn’t often show it’s face in contemporary writing. The story felt somewhat familiar, as it would to anyone who has an obsession with tales of the fae. I loved that this felt both familiar and new as the gorgeous lyricism of the story evolved.

One of the things that come up again and again for me in tales of the fae is that theirs is a passion that I don’t quite understand. Which is beautifully illustrated in this short story. Not only does it highlight that they are untenable. But also subject to their own whims and desires…

I look forward to rereading this story in the future – there is something beautifully lyrical about it that just screams to be read again. The style of the prose is of the sort that I know I will read this again and again in a journey of constant self-discovery.

<- The Eye of the StormThe Light That Passes Through You ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Eye of the Storm by Kelley Eskridge

Overview
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Title: The Eye of the Storm
Author: Kelley Eskridge
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Romance
Dates read: 23rd April 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: They were silent, watching me.

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Synopsis

Born different and unable to fit in. But that taught them to fight. To find a way to fit in and create a whole new life for themselves.

Thoughts

This was an incredibly interesting take on sexuality and what exactly a sexual experience is. Sexuality is completely fascinating, and something that I am constantly intrigued by. The fact that there is a story that explores different forms of sexuality, attraction and also mixes in fighting and a monarchy… well, I was completely, totally and utterly drawn in. Happily wrapped up in this amazing story.

The fighting style throughout this story seriously made me think about Bruce Lee. That whole, twirl like a storm idea was so damn reminiscent of the flow like water analogy that I’m sure is associated with him. I loved this discussion about different ways to fight people – and how to use what you have to your advantage. It was so completely, wonderfully intriguing and, if I was ever to find a way to fight… it would be the way that I would have to do so. After all, I’m not exactly big and strong…

This is a lustful, powerful and enjoyably intense story. It’s not one that I’m likely to forget anytime soon. There is just something so expansive and imaginative about the story. One that I really enjoyed and would love to read again and again and again.

<- HeatO for a Fiery Gloom and Thee ->

Image source: Goodreads

Heat by Melissa Lee Shaw

Overview
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Title: Heat
Author: Melissa Lee Shaw
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Lust, Poetry, Twisted romance
Dates read: 15th April 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: The letter bore no signature.

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Synopsis

A disturbing. And kind of beautiful poem.

Thoughts

This is a seriously intense and disturbing poem. And I am completely in love with it. Like obsessed, happy, insanely in love with it. Which is probably weird… because this poem is seriously wrong. Just in that happy, easy to read enjoyable way.

I think one of the things that I liked the most about this poem was that it was focused on the submission of a man to a woman. It was completely centred upon the needs and drives of the woman in this. And the fact that the poor man is left frozen and in a truly horrible position… well, it wasn’t nice. But at least it was something a little different.

Although this was an incredibly quick and easy read. It is one that has stuck with me long after I turned that final page. It is strong, intense and kind of unforgettable. The imagery that just a few words bought to life are seriously potent and I just don’t have enough words for how amazing this writing was.

<- The Sweet of Bitter Bark and Burning CloveThe Eye of the Storm ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Sweet of Bitter Bark and Burning Clove by Doris Egan

Overview
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Title: The Sweet of Bitter Bark and Burning Clove
Author: Doris Egan
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance, Vampires
Dates read: 2nd April 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: She pulled her mouth away, pushing him back.

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Synopsis

He gets six weeks with Lilith at a time. They’re the best six weeks of his life. And this time it’s ont exception.

Thoughts

Any story that features Lilith in one of her many incarnations tends to fascinate me. There is just something about her persona and character that I am kind of completely in love with. Something about her that makes me smile. She’s never “good”, but she’s never truly evil either… for me, the perfect mix of characterisation.

One of the parts of this story that I enjoyed the most was the feeling of mystery and history that is prevalent throughout this story. There is so much past that is constantly bought up throughout the tale that completely draws you in. Yet, there is a great looking forwards to the future in every moment. Add that to the fact that the man in this story is hunting for a missing person and an evil one at that… well, it makes an amazingly powerful and enthralling story.

This story was quite lustful. But what I liked the most about it? It was kind of bloody and violent too. Yes, the lust and the romance are great, but I’ve been reading a lot of that lately. It turns out that I’m now in the mood for a bit of blood and guts now…

<- TastingsHeat ->

Image source: Goodreads