Tag Archives: Tricksters

Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman

Overview
Trick of the Light (Trickster, #1) by Rob Thurman

Title: Trick of the Light
Author: Rob Thurman
Series: Trickster #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Tricksters, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 16th – 18th May 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc Fantasy
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: It was new.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

An underground chamber is exposed in a seedy, dilapidated house. In the dark cellar, a ritualistic display is revealed: a human skull rests on a cauldron, surrounded by slain chickens and bizarre figurines.

Called to the scene is forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan. She determines that the skull is that of a young, black female. But how and when did she die? Just as Tempe is closing in on answers, another body is discovered: a headless corpse carved with Satanic symbols.

As local vigilantes begin a witch-hunt, Tempe struggles to contain her emotions. But the eventual truth proves more shocking than even she could have imagined.

Thoughts

This has been sitting on my shelf for ages, waiting to be read. Now I’m seriously not sure as to why it took me this damn long to read I love trickster stories. I love tales where all is not as it seems… and this novel managed to combine both of those loves in one gorgeous, neat, little package. One that left me feeling very happy and seriously irritated that I have no other Rob Thurman books on my shelves…

I had already read Snakeskin, a short story about Trixa before I picked up this novel. Which, in hindsight, was a little bit annoying. Because although I think I may have guessed at the twist reveal at the end… I didn’t actually get to guess. The reality of Trixa’s world was already stated very clearly in Snakeskin and made those final moments a little less exciting. Although, there was still a great reveal that I hadn’t quite expected…. Which made me quite happy.

I knew that I was going to love Trixa in this story because of the short story I’d read in the past. What I wasn’t sure of was the supporting cast and storyline that drove along the battles that were faced. Zeke and Griffin are just amazing – I did like Zeke a whole lot more, but I seriously love the tragically flawed characters anyway. Leo is also amazing, but since Zeke and Griffin are in this a whole lot more, it’s their journey and confusion that I appreciate so much. Especially as their past comes out more and more as the tale unfolds.

Trick of the Light is amazing, it is one of the few trickster stories that I’ve read which truly encompasses the idea of a trickster. A being that isn’t good or bad. Isn’t malicious or benevolent. But, rather something in between. A character that is entirely about balance. That has no sides but their own. And that you really just can’t help but love, although, maybe, hope that you don’t quite meet one…

<- SnakeskinTalking Trash ->

Image source: Goodreads

Wick’s End by Joanna Parypinski

Overview
Image result for book cover haunted nights ellen datlow

Title: Wick’s End
Author: Joanna Parypinski
In: Haunted Nights (Lisa Morton & Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Demons, Horror, Tricksters
Dates read: 17th November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Blumhouse
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: His soul was turned away from the light, and turned away, of course, from that seething pit of terror known as hell, as the devil kept his promise.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

A trade-off of horror stories late on All Hallows Eve. Each one scarier than the last. Each with their own, hidden message.

Thoughts

There is something that is just so… recognisable about telling ghost stories. It doesn’t matter what age or setting, telling tales that are sure to freak out your friends, peers and family is just… well, fun. Which of course meant that there had to be an exchange of ghost stories in a collection of Halloween tales. The fact that it’s an exchange of steadily creepier stories in a bar in the middle of nowhere… well, that had me grinning and clapping my hands like a little ninny.

This is a bit of a trickster tale. After all, the trickster is constantly outwitting and outmanoeuvring his enemies. And often times they are far more powerful than him. Which is what the man in this tale does… but with the devil. And yet, you know, since it’s the devil… that there will be some form of comeuppance at the end. The devil really doesn’t like to be bested, so he’s going to find a way to get his revenge… which creates an amazing cat and mouse story that I’m really disappointed ended so quickly. I mean, I would have loved to continue the cat and mouse game a little longer!

I’ve never understood what is so “cool” about Jack O’Lanterns. Or however you spell it… they’ve always seemed creepy. And I’ve watched rom coms which feature their carving as some romantic moment… ummmm. No thank you! This is a bit of a Jack O’Lantern origins story. One which far better suits my freaked out opinion on them than anything else I’ve read or seen in a long time… they are not cute and cuddly!

 <- A Small Taste of the Old Country ReviewThe Seventeen-Year Itch Review ->

Image source: Amazon

The Coyote Road edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Coyote Road
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Pat Murphy, Carolyn Dunn, Steve Berman, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Christopher Barzak, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Klages, Patricia A. McKillip, Theodora Goss, Charles de Lint, Katherine Vaz, Caroline Stevermer, Midori Snyder, Michael Cadnum, Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth E. Wein, Kim Antieau, Will Shetterly, Kelly Link, Holly Black, Carol Emshwiller, Jedediah Berry, Jeffrey Ford, Jane Yolen & Kij Johnson
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Short story collections, Tricksters
Dates read: 11th March – 24th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: She handed me a message, one that read I was to be married to a stranger.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Coyote. Anansi. Brer Rabbit. Trickster characters have long been a staple of folk literature – and are a natural choice for the subject of the acclaimed Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s third “mythic” anthology. Twenty-six authors, including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (Little (Grrl) Lost), Ellen Klages (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters), Patricia A. McKillip (Ombria in Shadow) and Jane Yolen, have crafted stories and poems drawing from cultures and traditions all over the world – each surprising, engrossing, and thought provoking. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess.

The Coyote Road, like its companions The Green Man (winner of the World Fantasy Award) and The Faery Reel (a World Fantasy Award Finalist), is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fantastic fiction.

Thoughts

This collection took a long time to read. Yet, I absolutely adored it. Mostly it took a while to read because there were so many short stories filling the pages, and whenever I finished one, I often went searching for more stories by the authors I was discovering. My wishlist has grown by leaps and bounds since starting this collection.

Like many of the Ellen Datlow collections lining my shelves, the theme and collected authors in this are brilliant. Each and every story is perfectly curated to match into the theme of Tricksters. Often in surprising and confusing ways. After all, the prefect trickster never does what is expected, and many of the stories in this managed to take me by surprise.

I would suggest this collection to anybody who loves short stories, fantasy, mythology, tricksters… really I would just suggest it to almost anyone. There are sad stories and happy ones. Insanely complex tales and ones that are so beautifully simplistic. Definitely one of those collections that I’m going to read again and again.

 <- The Cinderella Game Anthology ReviewOne Odd Shoe Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Evolution of the Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change by Kij Johnson

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Evolution of the Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change
Author: Kij Johnson
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Tricksters
Dates read: 24th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Voices in assent: pats remembered.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

What would we do if dogs could suddenly talk? Would we still be able to love them unconditionally, or would we suddenly realise that love isn’t everything?

Thoughts

I read this story while I had my dogs curled up on either side of me. Which seemed kind of… suited. After all, this is a tale about dogs learning to use words and gaining yet another level of individuality. Although, as is often pointed out, the dogs are still our loyal companions. They still love us. They can just communicate a little better.

The mini chapters within this short story were really interesting. They each started with a dog story, ones that all felt familiar, both in a positive light and negative light. Then, they flipped back to present day and the trials which the dogs in this story were facing. It was a little tragic in many cases, but it also highlighted the plight of dogs the world over. Actually, my biggest confusion about this was the fact that I didn’t really know how the theme of tricksters fit in until towards the very end of the story.

Coyote is one of the most famous tricksters of folklore. So it was fun to find that he came into this full circle with his canid cousins. After reading a tale that made me question my own relationship with my dogs, it was nice to return to the trickster theme. What a way to finish off a collection of trickster tales.

 <- Kwaku Anansi Walks the World’s Web ReviewThe Cutting Game Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Kwaku Anansi Walks the World’s Web by Jane Yolen

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: Kwaku Anansi Walks the World’s Web
Author: Jane Yolen
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Poetry, Tricksters
Dates read: 17th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Kwaku Anansi, and tell us a tale.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

A poem that explores the intircacies and trickeries of Kwaku Anansi.

Thoughts

This is a quick, sharp pithy little poem. Each line had few words and made the poem flow with a quick beat. Which was perfect for a poem which featured the trickster Anansi. After all, tricksters are always portrayed as quick, nimble and intense characters. They don’t stay still for long, and they’re constantly on the move. Kind of like this poem.

I truly love Jane Yolen’s poetry – it is always so multilayered. I know that I could read this again and again, and find something new and exciting each and every time. Even though this is a simpler and quicker poem than I am used to, there are still layers of trickery that I really enjoyed. Especially when reading late at night with the lights down low… it just added an extra bit of atmosphere.

Anansi is a spider trickster god, and this poem certainly spun a web. It was intricate and beautiful. Yet, when you looked beneath the surface – uncomplicated. Definitely one that I will enjoy reading again in the future.

 <- The Dreaming Wind ReviewThe Evolution of the Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Dreaming Wind
Author: Jeffrey Ford
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Tricksters
Dates read: 11th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: In the southern corner, rows of folding chairs had been set up facing a slightly raised, makeshift stage that was formed from the wooden pallets where the town’s brickmakers stacked their wares.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Every year the dreaming wind blows through town and wreaks havoc. Yet, when they finally stop blowing, the people realise that there’s just not much to live for without the dreaming.

Thoughts

I liked the way that this story used dreams and insanity to construct a story full of tricksters and change. Mostly, I love the imagery of change being bought by the wind. After all, trickster stories are about change and balance, the wind is often something that brings new things into our lives… all weaved together in a beautiful, stunning tapestry.

Although I loved the idea of the “dreaming wind”, I found the cause of it even sweeter. Taking the essence of an old fairy tale, and turning her magical enchantment into the reason for all the weird happenings in the town was incredibly clever. I liked that there was just a hint of another story woven into the tale, enough to make you feel intrigued, but not an outright secondary tale.

The Dreaming Wind is a fun, quaint and entertaining short story. It’s a great reminder that imagination and dreams are so incredibly important. And something that is impossible to live without.

 <- The Other Labyrinth ReviewKwaku Anansi Walks the World’s Web Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Other Labyrinth by Jedediah Berry

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Other Labyrinth
Author: Jedediah Berry
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Tricksters
Dates read: 30th September 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Is that what he was calling himself?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

He has to make his way through the labyrinth if he wants to please his boss and the woman he loves. But he might not be able to accomplish both tasks…

Thoughts

I found this short story a little confusing and convoluted. Which is probably what the point of it was… after all, it’s based around the idea of a labyrinth. And there is nothing sensical and normal about a labyrinth. Which made this a somewhat perfect trickster story. The labyrinth being the perfect trickster persona.

It’s a little difficult to write much about this short story. Each stage of the labyrinth is a small tale. One that fits into the greater tale. Although I’m still not sure how. This is one of those stories which needs to be read multiple times to understand what exactly is happening.

 <- God Clown ReviewThe Dreaming Wind Review ->
Image source: Amazon

God Clown by Carol Emshwiller

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: God Clown
Author: Carol Emshwiller
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Tricksters
Dates read: 24th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: I treat myself to more of his lemonade.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

You would think that God is a trickster and maybe a bit of a clown… and, if this short story is anything to go by… you’d be right.

Thoughts

I’ve sometimes wondered if the world is run by clowns. Or something similar. After all, nothing really makes sense, everything is random, and whoever in charge probably has a sick sense of humour. Very sick. Sadistic even. Which is why I like the idea of a story which is based on the idea of a God Clown.

The idea of a clown running the world is kind of scary. But it’s also kind of fun. I’m pretty sure that the clown I’m imagining is the same as the one in IT because that’s where my brain tends to go… but that also somehow works into the entire ideal perfectly. If not in a way that made me want to stay up all night watching Disney movies…

One image that strongly sticks with me after turning the last page of this story was the image of the God Clown on the side of a mountain. That he is eventually replaced. And every decision made is about balance and future wellbeing. It’s not vicious and its not kind. But, rather, everything has to be in perfect balance to keep the world turning…

 <- A Reversal of Fortune ReviewThe Other Labyrinth Review ->
Image source: Amazon

A Reversal of Fortune by Holly Black

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: A Reversal of Fortune
Author: Holly Black
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: FamilyFoodTricksters
Dates read: 19th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Maybe without a soul she wouldn’t even care that Boo was dead.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Nikki is just trying to have a good summer with her dog Boo. But when an accident causes her summer to take a tragic turn, she realises that she might just have to make a deal with the devil.

Thoughts

Eating competitions fascinate me. They’re weird, random and something that I couldn’t fathom doing myself… mostly because I already feel way too sick whenever I overeat even slightly. When I found out that actually being sick is a huge taboo and has its own name (a reversal of fortune), I was drawn completely into the tale. It had me laughing out loud, smiling, and chuckling at the ways in which Holly Black was able to take a fairly typical trickster tale and turn it on its head.

Being that this short story is in a collection of trickster tales, I figured that it was quite likely for Nikki to outsmart the devil. But using a food eating competition to do so. And quite a disgusting one at that… it was a little too humorous and fun for me to put the story down. A good reminder as to why I love Holly Black’s writing so much… she always has just the right amount of sass and surprise to leave me with a large smile on my face.

After finishing this story, I both wanted to go and eat my weight in sour worms… and never eat them again. There were some fairly strong emotions inspired by Nikki’s face off with the devil. But mostly what I loved was the fact that she did all of this for her dog. She faced up to the loss of her soul, because her dog is her soul. Or at least, that’s how I read it… and it’s something that I think I too would do. I can’t imagine not having my beautiful big dog by my side everyday…

 <- The Constable of Abal ReviewGod Clown Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Black Rock Blues by Will Shetterly

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: Black Rock Blues
Author: Will Shetterly
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: TrickstersUrban fantasy
Dates read: 13th July 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Street says, “You’re taking me now?”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Street doesn’t have much of a memory of who and what he is. A chance encounter with the boss and the girl of his dreams might help him to find his feet again, if not his memory.

Thoughts

This story was quite clever. At the beginning, it felt like any tale with a trickster-like character. One in which their smarts, wit and penchant for trouble had gotten them into a spot of bother, and you knew that they would get out of it in the end. Which is kind of what happened… but the character actually was the trickster, and he was in trouble with death.

The mystery in this story worked really well to keep you hooked. As their adventures unfold, it becomes more and more obvious that Street and O are more intertwined than you had originally anticipated. Finishing the story and finding out what really happened made every moment all that more potent and intriguing between them. It highlighted that this is one of those short stories that you will be able to read again and pick up some extra, fun nuances.

This story had all of the fun and gumption of a trickster tale. It was funny and cute. Fast paced and almost impossible to put down. There was also a sense of a message in the story, although maybe it was something a little bit more than “don’t mess with Death” which is what I got out of it.

 <- The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn ReviewThe Constable of Abal Review ->
Image source: Amazon