AS Review by Steve Fahnestalk in Amazing Stories Online

Here is a lovely review of The Alphabet Stones in Amazing Stories Online. It’s by Canadian author/editor Steve Fahnestalk.

An excerpt:

Soon another person enters the scene, and his name is Snake. He’s possibly a really tall “little person” (fairy or magical being); he claims to be Jody’s brother. He brings news about her family and herself; Sam isn’t really her father, though Fern is her mother. I’m quite reluctant to go a lot farther in description of what happens and what relationship everyone is to everyone else. The reason is that it is all so beautifully described that I’m loath to deprive any reader the joy of reading all of this, so maybe I’ll just go into generalities from here on in, as you know I don’t do spoilers. The book manages to make magic both real and unreal both to the reader and to the participants. Do we actually see any magic? Yes and no; there are certain things that don’t belong to the “natural” world that one can describe as “magical,” but certainly not magical in the ordinary sense. As one character says, “over there” (in Faery, one presumes) they can’t just wave a wand and give us what we want. In fact, it’s unclear whether they even care what we want.

It has been a long while since a writer has kept me on this kind of knife edge: are there really two worlds? Even though we can see all kinds of things clearly through Jody’s eyes—and the book is a voyage of self-discovery as well as a sort of travelogue of mostly one place—we’re as uncertain as Jody is whether any of this is “real” in the usual sense. A lot of it deals with alienation—Jody’s as well as Ethan’s—which, in a very real sense, is a big problem for youth; often we don’t feel like we belong anywhere when we’re growing up. Like Jody, we sometimes don’t feel as if we’re part of our own family; they can appear to be strangers and we the halfling; as if we have been stolen away by fairies and replaced by some sort of golem. Are we the golem or the halfling? These questions are a part of the confusion Jody often feels, exacerbated by her feelings for Ethan, and the realization that Ethan feels for her sister what Jody feels for him. (It sounds more soap-opera-ish than it is.)

Anyway, I don’t want to quote large chunks of the book; I liked the writing so much I’d rather let the reader discover it for him/herself.

Read the rest here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *