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Book of Enchantments

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From a master storyteller comes this collection of ten new and exciting stories, including a tale about a wizard's daughter who can change chestnuts into gold.


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From a master storyteller comes this collection of ten new and exciting stories, including a tale about a wizard's daughter who can change chestnuts into gold.

30 review for Book of Enchantments

  1. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    Wrede [pronounced as "Reedy"] is one of my favorite authors, and IMO one of the best writers of English-language fantasy fiction in her generation. Equally at home with long and short fiction, she showcases her talent for the latter in this collection of 10 stories, four of them published here for the first time. Some printings of this book were marketed by their publishers to younger readers, some to adults; that's indicative of the fact that she simply spins wholesome, engaging stories well to Wrede [pronounced as "Reedy"] is one of my favorite authors, and IMO one of the best writers of English-language fantasy fiction in her generation. Equally at home with long and short fiction, she showcases her talent for the latter in this collection of 10 stories, four of them published here for the first time. Some printings of this book were marketed by their publishers to younger readers, some to adults; that's indicative of the fact that she simply spins wholesome, engaging stories well told, which can appeal to readers of any age. (One story, "The Lorelei," has child protagonists; the rest are about adults.) Her writing is free from bad language, lewd sexual content, or gratuitous violence; and she writes both serious and humorous fantasy, different stories here illustrating both types of her work. "Roses by Moonlight" is perhaps the most thought-provoking selection here; it's a modern-day distaff version of Jesus' parable of the prodigal son (inspired by listening to "one too many sermons" on the passage --she's a practicing Roman Catholic, although the content of her writing isn't explicitly Christian) and focusing on the equally lost older sibling. "The Lorelei" features the titular siren-like demon of German folklore. Several of the stories, such as "Stronger Than Time," re-imagine or reinvent traditional fairy tales. A couple of stories come from "shared world" anthologies: "The Sword-Seller" is set in Andre Norton's Witch World, while "Rikiki and the Wizard" takes place in the fictional city of Liavek (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liavek ). It's not necessary to have read anything else set in these locales to appreciate either story (I hadn't at the time I read this collection, and still haven't read any other Witch World fiction); but in the case of the humorous "Utensile Strength," spun off from Wrede's own Enchanted Forest Chronicles (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8... ), readers probably will appreciate and connect with the characters more for having read that four-book series. Besides the stories mentioned, "Cruel Sisters" was another one I considered a standout; but all of the tales here are quality work. This was a book I read out loud to my wife, and she enjoyed it as much as I did! It's enhanced by a short author's note explaining the inspiration for each of the stories; and readers who like recipes with their books will also like the appended one for "Quick After Battle Triple Chocolate Cake," inspired by the culinary-related "Utensile Strength," and requested by Jane Yolen, who published the first printing of the collection.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephi

    Rikki and the Wizard - 3.25 stars The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn - 3.5 stars Roses By Moonlight - 3.75 stars The Sixty-two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd - 3.75 stars Earthwitch - 4.25 stars The Sword Seller - 3 stars The Lorelei - 3 stars Stronger Than Time - 3.75 stars Cruel Sisters - 4.25 stars Utensile Strength - 3.75 stars Mathematical Average - 3.625 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    As a general rule of thumb, I don't like wizards and I dislike books that are simply a collection of short stories. I do love Patricia C. Wrede though and especially The Enchanted Forest Chronicles so when I found this book at our library, I couldn't resist. And I'm glad I didn't! Wrede is a delightful writer with funny characters and delightful plots you can't help liking. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the collection of short stories and the variations I found in them. Ten stories, eac As a general rule of thumb, I don't like wizards and I dislike books that are simply a collection of short stories. I do love Patricia C. Wrede though and especially The Enchanted Forest Chronicles so when I found this book at our library, I couldn't resist. And I'm glad I didn't! Wrede is a delightful writer with funny characters and delightful plots you can't help liking. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the collection of short stories and the variations I found in them. Ten stories, each one with a slightly different theme/take, but all involving magic. Some of the endings are happy, others are depressing. I enjoyed that they all don't always end on a "happily-ever-after" note. Some are takes on familiar fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty, others are completely new, even with a modern setting. The very last story even has characters from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles! (<3 Cimorene and Mendanbar and Daystar!!!!) Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was a charming breeze through some good, humorous but reflective writing with great plots and several morals the chew over. A perfect four stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed these stories. Wrede has a wonderful sense of humor and subversion in her fantasy. Only a handful of these will make a lasting impression, but they were enjoyable in the moment. My favorite story was the first, about a greedy wizard who unfortunately gets everything he wished for from a blue chipmunk god.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Snow

    Re-read

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Short fairy-tale type stories, some of which take place in the Enchanted Forest. In some ways, a meatier version of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Very clever. 1. Rikiki and the Wizard: **** A vain but lucky wizard tries to auction his daughter off for fame and fortune, but things don't go as planned. Fun and clever. My favorite story of the bunch. 2. The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn: **** A middle child princess from an off-beat kingdom decides to take a journey accompanied by the castle cat. Short fairy-tale type stories, some of which take place in the Enchanted Forest. In some ways, a meatier version of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Very clever. 1. Rikiki and the Wizard: **** A vain but lucky wizard tries to auction his daughter off for fame and fortune, but things don't go as planned. Fun and clever. My favorite story of the bunch. 2. The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn: **** A middle child princess from an off-beat kingdom decides to take a journey accompanied by the castle cat. Great deviation from regular fairy tales. 3. Roses by Moonlight: *** A jealous sister is given the opportunity to change her life. Told in a modern setting. Makes you think, in the same way as Jodi Picoult 4. The Sixty-Two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd: *** A powerful and arrogant caliph places curses on any who annoy him. Unusual take on the werewolf story. 5. Earthwitch: **** An earthwitch is approached by an old flame turned acquaintance for help to end a brutal war. But help from the earth comes with a price. Interesting and unpredictable. 6. The Sword-Seller: *** An unemployed mercenary is given a crusty sword by a sword-seller and is then hired to escort a lady to a new home. Unfortunately for him, more than one person has ulterior motives. Okay story, but feels somewhat rushed, even for a short story. 7. The Lorelei: *** Bus of students gets stranded near a cliff where a siren-like creature is said to call sailors to their death. Interesting characters, but too brief for any real substance. 8. Stronger Than Time: **** A keep in the woods is surrounded by thorns and death. A nearby elderly woodcutter comes home to find a stranger at his doorstep, asking for assistance getting in. My favorite after Rikiki and the Wizard. Interesting twist to a traditional tale. 9. Cruel Sisters: *** Two sisters are amazingly fierce rivals, and nothing their sister does seems to help. A rather dark story, but intriguing. 10. Utensile Strength, also referred to the Frying Pan of Doom: **** Brings back our favorite Enchanted Forrest characters, Cimmorene, Mendanbar, and Daystar. A frying pan was enchanted as a weapon by mistake, and the family agrees to help by finding the hero that can wield it. Refreshing and entertaining. Quick After-Battle Chocolate Cake (recipe): **** sounds yummy! Notes about where her story ideas originated from: *****

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stef

    I think, perhaps, that I am too old to read these stories. I can feel that they have a certain kind of magic about them that, due to cynicism or age, I cannot connect with. I do not say that these are bad stories, quite the opposite. These are the stories that you should read your daughters and be proud of the women they will grow up to be. These are fractured fairy tales at the very best. Stories with strong, cunning, self reliant women who triumph not because they are beautiful, but because th I think, perhaps, that I am too old to read these stories. I can feel that they have a certain kind of magic about them that, due to cynicism or age, I cannot connect with. I do not say that these are bad stories, quite the opposite. These are the stories that you should read your daughters and be proud of the women they will grow up to be. These are fractured fairy tales at the very best. Stories with strong, cunning, self reliant women who triumph not because they are beautiful, but because they are wise. There are, of course, three stories that touched me very deeply. "Roses by Moonlight," "Stronger than Time" and "Cruel Sisters" are stories that harken back to the old tales, where you were meant to learn something from the sorrow and suffering of others. There is no "Happily Ever After" for these characters, the best we can hope for them is a bittersweet resolution, but know in our heart of hearts that it is probably impossible. Instead of the usual fairy tale that follows the hero or the princess, these stories follow those were are left behind. They teach us that our actions, and sometimes our inaction, can irrevocably change our lives. Do we speak out against our siblings, when we know they wrong us? Do we rush headlong into our delights and find out at the last minute that we've missed our window of opportunity? These three stories are the gems of this book and I encourage anyone, young or old, to read them because they speak to our darkest fears, our fondest hopes, and to the child in us all. If I had been 13 when I read this for the first time instead of 27, I think I would have been madly in love with the stories and the storyteller. Patricia Wrede has a remarkable way with words for children that really speaks to the angst that teens and tweens feel as they inhabit this world between child and adult. Shes takes the vanity, the insecurities, and eagerness of youth and tells you "its ok, this is normal, and it will make you strong." I would without hesitation recommend this collection of short stories to anyone who feels that perhaps they don't quite fit in because it will help you find your place in a world of stories. For someone who loves Gail Carson Levine, but is willing to dip into the darker side of the stories. I think this would be the perfect bridge between the Disney-fied fairy tale and the dark disturbing world of Grimms and Perrault and English bards.

  8. 4 out of 5

    PurplyCookie

    This enjoyable fantasy collection is comprised of 10 stories that vary widely in tone and setting. Some are laced with humor, while others have melancholy overtones. The ten stories included are the following: "Rikiki and the Wizard" "The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn" "Roses by Moonlight" "The Sixty-Two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd" "Earthwitch" "The Sword-Seller" "The Lorelei" "Stronger Than Time" "Cruel Sisters" "Utensile Strength" Two tongue-in-cheek tales are set in the "Enchanted Forest" of the a This enjoyable fantasy collection is comprised of 10 stories that vary widely in tone and setting. Some are laced with humor, while others have melancholy overtones. The ten stories included are the following: "Rikiki and the Wizard" "The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn" "Roses by Moonlight" "The Sixty-Two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd" "Earthwitch" "The Sword-Seller" "The Lorelei" "Stronger Than Time" "Cruel Sisters" "Utensile Strength" Two tongue-in-cheek tales are set in the "Enchanted Forest" of the author's existing dragon book series. One of these selections involves a thoroughly conceited unicorn; one was inspired by the biblical parable of the prodigal son. Even readers who aren't drawn to the literature of sword and sorcery may enjoy "Utensile Strength," a humorous tale in which a wizard tries to create the ultimate weapon and ends up with the Frying Pan of Doom. Those familiar with the genre will find it even funnier. "The Lorelei" offers a modern version of the German legend. Another takeoff on an old story gives readers a look at what would have happened to Sleeping Beauty's castle if the prince had failed to arrive on time. Each selection stands alone, but also seems as if it might belong to some longer tale as yet untold. A chapter of notes from the author (of where her ideas stem from) concludes the book. While a few of the stories may have messages that are a bit too subtle for the intended audience, the volume as a whole should have high appeal for fantasy lovers and might lure some newcomers to the genre. Book Details: Title Book of Enchantments Author Patricia C. Wrede Reviewed By Purplycookie

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Singer

    I loved these stories. They were thought provoking and so magical. I would recommend to anyone :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

    I do not usually read short stories. They turn me off, for some reason. I have no idea why, because when I do pick up an anthology or collection, I am usually happy with the results. Such was the case with Patricia C. Wrede's Book of Enchantments. This book was on my Library's withdrawn and for sale pile and its title and author led me to bring it home for myself. I read and enjoyed Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, co-written by Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. In this collection fo I do not usually read short stories. They turn me off, for some reason. I have no idea why, because when I do pick up an anthology or collection, I am usually happy with the results. Such was the case with Patricia C. Wrede's Book of Enchantments. This book was on my Library's withdrawn and for sale pile and its title and author led me to bring it home for myself. I read and enjoyed Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, co-written by Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. In this collection for Jan Yolen books, there are ten stories (and a cake recipe!) blending folklore, fairytale, and fantasy to create a most appealing melange to charm and delight. Wrede turns the fantasy and fairytale tropes on their heads for many of the stories, including "The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn" and "Utensile Strength." She re-imagines fairy and folk tales in "The Lorelei" and "Stronger Than Time." One of my favorite folk songs is fleshed out and given life in "Cruel Sisters." And her "Roses by Moonlight," her take on the Prodigal Son story, is haunting and fascinating. Her stories can be light and amusing, such as "Rikiki and the Wizard" and "The Sixty-two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd," or somber and serious, like "Earthwitch" and "The Sword-Seller." The poignancy of missing a deadline, considering the various paths of one's life, and the rivalry between sisters really grabbed me hard and made me not just like, but love several of the stories. After reading this book, I wondered why my Library withdrew it. I feel that, like me, others just don't give short stories a chance often. And for that, they truly miss out. I especially enjoyed the "Notes from the Author" at the very end, in which Wrede does not sidestep the question of "Where do you get your ideas?" as many authors do. Instead, she talks about each story's origins, showing that a writer's work, though often fantastical, springs from the muse of real life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    I can't believe it has taken so long to get around to reading this. I love all things Wrede and this didn't disappoint. Since this is a collection of stories, I'll describe, rate, and review each story individually. I'm trying to decide if it is more YA or more MG. I think the majority of the stories or YA so that's where I'll probably shelve this. "Rikki and the Wizard" **** A wizard with a rather inflated ego decides to make an enchantment that will force the gods to notice him, make him eternall I can't believe it has taken so long to get around to reading this. I love all things Wrede and this didn't disappoint. Since this is a collection of stories, I'll describe, rate, and review each story individually. I'm trying to decide if it is more YA or more MG. I think the majority of the stories or YA so that's where I'll probably shelve this. "Rikki and the Wizard" **** A wizard with a rather inflated ego decides to make an enchantment that will force the gods to notice him, make him eternally famous, and marry his daughter. The gods are onto his game and don't like how he's treating his daughter so they all ignore him. All except Rikki, a god who looks like a blue chipmunk and has very simple desires but is not as simple minded as the wizard thinks. Review: I like Rikki. I could definitely have read a whole book around him or the wizard's daughter (she's pretty great too). No content issues. "The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn" **** A princess off to seek her fortune stumbles into the castle cat in the dark, and it offers to guide her on her way. They end up in the Enchanted Forest where they meet a unicorn who has decided ideas about how they should spend the rest of their time. Review: It's nice to return to the Enchanted Forest and with a talking cat (which I suspect is related to a certain witch's cats). The unicorn definitely feels like the kind of tricky thing you'd find in the Enchanted Forest. The story is pretty simple but fun. No content issues. "Roses by Moonlight" *** Adrian has had enough of her sister's party and is sulking out front of the house. At midnight, she meets a strange woman who leads her to a garden of roses that can show her possible futures. The woman gives Adrian the opportunity to choose one. As Adrian explores the garden she learns some important things about her present and has a big decision to make. Review: This is a more YA tale than the previous two. It's also more serious in tone. Wrede says in the afterword that this was inspired by the story of the Prodigal Son in the Bible. I never would have thought of the correlation myself, but after knowing that I definitely see the parallels. It's a very thought-provoking tale. Notes on content: One character smokes. Some of the futures mention deaths, but nothing gruesome. "The Sixty-Two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd" **** Caliph Arenschadd decided that when he started his rule to save time in coming up with punishments for those who cross him he'd pre-develop some curses. Those who cross him move up through the curses with each subsequent infraction. The caliph's grand vizier unfortunately tends to upset him more than anyone else, so the vizier and his family are more advanced on the curses scale than anyone else. With each curse they must figure out what the curse is and then determine a way to break the curse. They've been doing pretty well but number forty-eight is proving a bit trickier than most. Review: I like the Arabian Nightsish setting for this one. The plot is actually quite clever and humorous. Notes on content: One rabbit gets killed and it is described a little. "Earthwitch" *** The battle is going very poorly for a certain king. He has reached the end of his resources and his last hope is to ask the Earthwitch for help. The Earthwitch has been getting glimpses of her next visitor's plight but doesn't quite know the whole story until he gets there. And when he does get there both of them have little surprises in store. Review: This is another more serious and mature story. It feels a bit like something from a King Arthur story but the magic is definitely different from Merlin's. It almost doesn't feel like enough story. There are so many questions left unanswered at the end. Notes on content: Many deaths, some gory and some just horrifying. "The Sword-Seller" *** A knight for hire finds a strange sword at the fair and the merchant is quite mysterious about it. Later a maiden approaches the knight and asks him to accompany her on a journey. But the maiden and the sword both have secrets. Reveiw: I wasn't sure where this story was headed for a little while. It has several twists and turns. An ok tale, but not my favorite. Notes on content: A couple minor injuries in a sword fight. "The Lorelei" ** A group of students on a field trip to Germany are stuck at a spooky castle when their bus breaks down. They are told that the cliff behind the castle is the setting for a folktale about the Lorelei who lured men to their deaths on the rocks below. Janet has a bad feeling about this place, and it gets worse when she realizes that one of her classmates is missing and the adults haven't noticed. Review: This one is a bit dark and creepy. Almost too creepy for my taste. Thankfully it was short. Notes on content: Perilous situations and definite creep factor. "Stronger Than Time" *** A retelling of Sleeping Beauty that focuses on a old woodcutter and a prince who comes to visit him one night. Review: I figured out the twist in this one pretty early. This is a darker Sleeping Beauty tale than most. But Wrede gets points for putting in twists I've never heard anyone throw in before. Notes on content: Numerous deaths mentioned, and some decaying bodies a little described. "Cruel Sisters" *** A story based on an old English song about two sisters driven to hate over "Sweet William." This version is told from the point of view of a third sister who tried to be a peacemaker. Review: Not a fun story at all, but it is skillfully written. Those who like tragedies should eat this up. Notes on content: Two deaths, neither bloody. "Utensile Strength" ***** When an goes to create the ultimate weapon and misfires so that the enchantment becomes bonded to a frying pan instead of sword, his son is sent to seek the help of King Mendanbar in figuring out what the Frying Pan of Doom does. Mendanbar, Cimorene, and Daystar (with the input of Willin) decide that a tournament which includes a cooking segment would be the best way to figure this out. Review: I've missed Mendanbar and Cimorene and all the Enchanted Forest gang. This was like slipping back into my favorite stories, but with new great adventures. Gotta love the Frying Pan of Doom and the humorous events. No content issues.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Love this one. This is a collection of fantasy short stories by Patricia Wrede, author of the Enchanted Forest series (Calling on Dragons, etc.). While there is an Enchanted Forest series story in this one (Frying Pan of Doom), the real gems are the stand-alones. A story about a group of high schoolers encountering the Lorelei (my favorite!!), a story about a magical rose garden you can only experience once, a story about a selfish Caliph. These really are enchanting stories--but also vividly rea Love this one. This is a collection of fantasy short stories by Patricia Wrede, author of the Enchanted Forest series (Calling on Dragons, etc.). While there is an Enchanted Forest series story in this one (Frying Pan of Doom), the real gems are the stand-alones. A story about a group of high schoolers encountering the Lorelei (my favorite!!), a story about a magical rose garden you can only experience once, a story about a selfish Caliph. These really are enchanting stories--but also vividly real takes of the decisions we make and the consequences we live must live with.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Catelli

    A collection of short stories. All fantasy. Other than that -- some contemporary, some in other worlds -- some in shared worlds, or the Enchanted Forest. Some lightsome and merry, others rather dark. Retold tales, with a twist, and originals. Most of them strong stories. Involving chestnuts, a scullery maid, a statue of the Lorelei, a spiteful little sister who tells lies, a wood cutter, a reunion, a girl talking back to the caliph, in various ones. There's also a recipe at the back of the book

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aidan Blake

    I read this book when I was younger, it's a Young Adult book by an author whose other books I had also read. This book has some short stories set in her normal universe and some that are quite separate. I remember really enjoying this collection and it's variety when I was a young reader, and would recommend it to other young fans of SciFi/Fantasy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suzie

    This collection of short quirky stories was a fun, quick read. This would be a good book to read at Halloween with some of the haunting fable-type stories in the collection.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Disappointing short fantasy stories. I love PCW, but this is far from her usual standard.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    A famous, all-powerful wizard desires to be remembered long after his death, and tries to make a deal with the Gods that ends up being a test of tenacity between Rikiki and the Wizard. Rikiki, a blue chipmunk God, wasn’t interested in the wizard’s deal and just wanted to see what the hullabaloo was about, and the wizard spends the rest of the story trying to get rid of him. In the end, predictably, the wizard’s initial wish turns into a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’, and his much clever A famous, all-powerful wizard desires to be remembered long after his death, and tries to make a deal with the Gods that ends up being a test of tenacity between Rikiki and the Wizard. Rikiki, a blue chipmunk God, wasn’t interested in the wizard’s deal and just wanted to see what the hullabaloo was about, and the wizard spends the rest of the story trying to get rid of him. In the end, predictably, the wizard’s initial wish turns into a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’, and his much cleverer daughter shows that a good nature and some common sense can trump all-powerful magic. One of the best stories of the batch and good for a laugh, you’ll adore the characters and the solution in this folk-style tale. Wrede tells a story with The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn that echoes some of my favorite things about her Enchanted Forest books. The eponymous princess is the plain middle daughter of a royal family living relatively normal lives in an otherwise fairy-tale universe. Their stepmother is a loving, motherly woman, the three princesses all get along, no fairy tale plants are able to take root in the royal gardens, and the castle is far enough away from fairy territory that there are no curses placed at any of the girls’ christenings. After years of being hassled by her father’s councillors try and poison one of her sisters (just to keep up appearances), the middle daughter sets out on a quest just to shut them up for a while. Another great story, and the protagonist has enough genre savvy to work with the fairy tale forces around her instead of letting herself get caught up in their usual traps. The characters were all adorable, and while the romance at the end wasn’t one I felt had any chemistry involved, the plot was a solid traditional fairy tale and a fine read. We get thrown into urban fantasy with Roses by Moonlight a story of an eldest daughter granted a chance by her fairy godmother to choose her future. I’m not really a fan of urban fantasy, but I liked how the ending is a little ominous. There’s a chance that the daughter goes on to make the changes she needs to live a happy life, but she puts off making those changes ‘until tomorrow’, leaving the impression that she’ll end up with one of the negative futures after all. The Sixty-two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd is the story of a royal vizier whose ruler also happens to be a famously short-tempered wizard. He keeps a list of sixty-two curses he can throw at people when they annoy him, and the curses afflict the person and their immediate family until they come up with the counter-curse on their own. As the vizier, Imani’s father is in his presence the most and has picked up the most curses, but they’re annoying and otherwise harmless. This changes dramatically with the poorly considered curse forty-eight, a curse both horrifically dangerous and impossible to break. It’s a good idea of what would happen if your ruler was short-tempered, magical, and impulsive. Curse forty-eight has the potential to be a gory mess, and it’s the children who figure out the workaround. A good story with a light, humorous touch. The Earthwitch serves as the conduit for the earth's magic for seven years, after which they must step aside for their successor. But near the end of the current Earthwitch's term, a face from her past comes seeking her help at the price of his own life. The second of the serious fairy tales, the story wasn’t bad but I had a hard time believing there was any emotional connection between the Earthwitch and the man visiting her. She and the petitioner are supposed to be a former couple that broke up, and while the man does a great job at showing this history and what he’s learned from their breakup, it’s a little harder for the Earthwitch to drop her otherworldly act and relate to him. The Sword-Seller is a cheat, but not in the way his latest customer is expecting. The sword cleans up well and he quickly gets a chance to put it to use when a maiden comes to him for protection on passage to an abbey. Her guardian had been acting very strangely during his wife's pregnancy, and the maiden and the sell sword suspect there might be a dangerous motive for his odd behavior. The story was written to mimic the sound of Andre Norton's Witch World series for his compilation, Tales of the Witch World 3 . I had no clue what was going on by the end of it. The plan was convoluted and this was the only story I didn’t particularly care for no matter how well-written it was. It’s back to urban fantasy with The Lorelei. A busload of kids breaks down at the Lorelei cliff in Germany and the group settles in to continue their tour in the morning. But one student realizes a classmate has gone missing, and in looking for him stumbles into the trap of the cliff’s namesake. It’s a nice story that doesn’t let us get away with the ‘sirens only work on men’ loophole, as the protagonist is a young girl. She and the victim have to work together to escape, and it left her with a couple of new friends. Love is Stronger Than Time in this story about the impetuousness of youth causing death and disaster for decades. Sleeping beauty's prince jumped the gun and was killed by the thorns, leaving her trapped much longer than the counter curse was expected to last. The castle is crumbling to ruin, the servants and courtiers have died in their sleep, and the bones of princes past decorate the thorns at the base of the enchantment. But one young man thinks he may have puzzled out the trick to defeating a curse outside its prescribed window, and attempts to do so with the help of an old woodcutter. Heartbreakingly well-written, you have an idea of what the twist is going to be long before it arrives, but it still strikes you as sweet and pitiful. One of the best in the collection. Cruel Sisters happen in any family, but this pair take their maliciousness to a devastating level with the help of a morally questionable harper. The tale of the harper who makes his instrument from the bones of a drowned maiden and who then uses the magic harp to sing out the name of the murderer is a fairy tale plot that comes around often enough to be familiar to me. I never especially liked it; the idea of a harp made of bones was shudder-worthy to think about and the magic singing was a deus ex machina, but Cruel Sisters takes both these things and addresses them by drawing more attention to them. What made me shudder now becomes disgusting as the protagonist thinks of her poor sister's corpse being picked apart by this musical carrion bird, boiling and sanding down her bones and plucking her beautiful hair to string the harp that sings with her stolen voice. And the song that declares the name of her murderer is preceded by years of sisterly vindictiveness and selfishness, and you're left with the unsetting thought that the dead sister may have died by accident and decided to get one last jab at her sibling. The harper is an indifferent villain; he sees nothing wrong with taking a harp made with the desecrated parts of a drowned woman to play at the court of a king whose youngest daughter had recently drowned and whose body was never recovered, and is confident that he's done the right thing in 'turning [this family's] clean grief to bitter poison'. And can I just point out how lovely the writing is in this one? It's a beautifully unsettling story with a bitter ending. Utensile Strength is the second short story to take place in the Enchanted Forest (The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn is the other) but unfortunately has the less interesting plot. Queen Cimorene comes into possession of a Frying Pan of Doom (a frying pan got in the way of a legendary weapon spell, happens all the time), and since it's exactly the kind of thing that would be just asking for trouble to keep around she decides to hold a tournament and cooking contest to see who's destined to wield it. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles characters aren't the protagonists of this story despite starting out that way. Cimorene and her family are shoved aside when the story of a runaway princess who's snuck onto the kitchen staff hijacks the spotlight. The king and prince (Daystar... I just realized the 'day star' is the sun. Cimorene named her son, 'Sun'. Oh my God, every scene he's in is suddenly so much funnier) barely get more than a passing mention and Cimoren is only present to throw out one-liners. Quick After-Battle Triple Chocolate Cake is the chocolate cake recipe that won the cooking contest in the previous story. I haven't tried it, but it's a cute, quick read since it's written as though by a barbarian (First, round up the prisoners and have them make a good fire. [p.224]) translated for the modern kitchen. EDITING: [image error] The first two stories were comedic, then the rest of the book settled us in for more serious adventures (I wouldn’t even call The Sixty-two Curses funny since the danger of the situation was what made the biggest impression on me). Toward the end, Stronger Than Time was melancholic and Cruel Sisters was downright unsettling, but then we get sucker punched by mood whiplash with the goofy Utensile Strength. Bookending the book with genres so different from the bulk may not have been the best decision and is going to cost it a star. ENJOYABILITY I enjoyed most of the book, but I find myself wishing it was either all serious adventures or all lighthearted Enchanted Forest -style short stories. There weren’t enough funny ones to balance the collection, so they stuck out instead. Even that wouldn’t have affected the score more than a half star if it hadn’t been for that painful case of mood whiplash. THEME: That recipe at the end was a little bizarre, but the afterword explains it as specifically requested by her editor and the overall theme was anything written by this author, so I suppose I'll let it pass. OTHER ASPECTS: Peter de Sève did the cover art for Wrede again, and it's another great creation. Rikiki is such a cutie-pie. THE VERDICT? A lovely little book of short stories that I’m happy to recommend. I only wish something had been done to better balance the mood.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    After being so in love with The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, I knew I could not miss out on this book of short stories. What a find. So many of these amazing tales could probably be if not novel length at least novella. My personal favorites in reverse order. 4. Utensile Strength - such a cute little story about a frying pan of doom. If you can read this without smiling then I feel bad for you. 3. The Sixty Two Curses Of Caliph Arenschadd- this story where they main characters get turned into werew After being so in love with The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, I knew I could not miss out on this book of short stories. What a find. So many of these amazing tales could probably be if not novel length at least novella. My personal favorites in reverse order. 4. Utensile Strength - such a cute little story about a frying pan of doom. If you can read this without smiling then I feel bad for you. 3. The Sixty Two Curses Of Caliph Arenschadd- this story where they main characters get turned into werewolves has such a " I should have see that coming" moment that it became and instant favorite. This story could easily be fleshed out to novel length. I love it this way too though. The author has such a way with words, I felt like I was a werewolf running in the night with her. 2. The Princess, The Cat and The Unicorn- I must tell you, when they met the unicorn, I had a brief moment of "where is this going?" But man did it hit pay dirt! I loved it! Again, she floored me. I thought the story was going one way and it zipped the other. 1. Stranger Than Time- get out your hankies. Oh my gosh. The surprise had me crying. And I just kept crying. So melancholy. So bittersweet. Ugh! How could a short story make me feel so much?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Evalyn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Rikiki and The Wizard - Cute tale of a wizard's woe and a god's revenge. The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn - I loved this one, with things not going as they ought but in a positive way. Roses by Moonlight - Modern setting and super interesting commentary about choice of set future verses a choice of free will. Only, the last couple of lines concern me, with the "Tomorrow" - there are a plenty of things that was suppose to happen tomorrow that don't happen. The Sixty-two Curses of Caliph Arensc Rikiki and The Wizard - Cute tale of a wizard's woe and a god's revenge. The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn - I loved this one, with things not going as they ought but in a positive way. Roses by Moonlight - Modern setting and super interesting commentary about choice of set future verses a choice of free will. Only, the last couple of lines concern me, with the "Tomorrow" - there are a plenty of things that was suppose to happen tomorrow that don't happen. The Sixty-two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd - This one is a silly tale of a man in power who curses those that make him made by order of his 62 curses and why you should never be lazy when thinking things through. Earthwitch - Loved it. All of it. The Sword-Seller - Interesting. Honestly not sure if I liked or disliked it. The Lorelei - Loved it. All of it. Ancient monsters in modern settings? Yes please! Stronger Than Time - Loved it. I love a good story that takes a classic fairy tale and twists it with different details. It's great. Cruel Sisters - Loved it. A bitter tale with a sad ending but a good read none-of-the-less. Utensile Strength - Perfect side story of Mendanbar and Cimorene.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jaki

    I don't know when I first read this book -- a long time ago -- but it's one that I re-read every couple of years and this year 2018 was one of them. (Probably re-read it or at least parts of it 4 or 5 times now?) I feel like I get something different out of it each time. Some stories resonate more, some less, some details I notice and wonder about. I really enjoyed reading the author's note at the end this time around, for whatever reason -- the stories behind the stories. This re-read made me wan I don't know when I first read this book -- a long time ago -- but it's one that I re-read every couple of years and this year 2018 was one of them. (Probably re-read it or at least parts of it 4 or 5 times now?) I feel like I get something different out of it each time. Some stories resonate more, some less, some details I notice and wonder about. I really enjoyed reading the author's note at the end this time around, for whatever reason -- the stories behind the stories. This re-read made me want to revisit the author's dragon series, which I haven't read since I first read them many, many years ago and enjoyed...and other works by the author, that I haven't read...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Yue

    I wanted this book for so long to complete my Enchanted Forest collection. After reading it, though, I don't consider it really part of the EF series, although there is one story with Mendanbar and Cimorene and Daystar and Willin. The stories are all good and very dark, some of them even have deaths and murders, far from the tongue-in-cheek style I like so much from this author. I think that, out of the 10 stories, about 3 are on the light side. And there are even a couple that are set in present I wanted this book for so long to complete my Enchanted Forest collection. After reading it, though, I don't consider it really part of the EF series, although there is one story with Mendanbar and Cimorene and Daystar and Willin. The stories are all good and very dark, some of them even have deaths and murders, far from the tongue-in-cheek style I like so much from this author. I think that, out of the 10 stories, about 3 are on the light side. And there are even a couple that are set in present day.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Necromancer

    This collection is what I wish fairy tales were more often. Overall, it's got a lot of good ideas, ones that do not really merit longer stories, but for something like this, are perfect. There are obviously ones I liked more than others, but all of them are worth reading just for the idea! This is the kind of writing that inspires me to create-- and that in of itself is pretty special. The author has a wonderful sense of humour and there's not a single sour note to be found. It's good wholesome f This collection is what I wish fairy tales were more often. Overall, it's got a lot of good ideas, ones that do not really merit longer stories, but for something like this, are perfect. There are obviously ones I liked more than others, but all of them are worth reading just for the idea! This is the kind of writing that inspires me to create-- and that in of itself is pretty special. The author has a wonderful sense of humour and there's not a single sour note to be found. It's good wholesome fun.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina Hall

    An enchanting collection of myths and fairy tales, ranging from silly to dark, with lots of Wrede's trademark humor and feisty heroines turning custom and tradition on its head. Characters from her beloved Enchanted Forest series make an appearance in the final story, followed by a recipe for "Quick After-Battle Triple Chocolate Cake", to be enjoyed warm while counting loot.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The Book of Enchantments is a collection of short stories, most of which are not set in the universe of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. However, the stories are excellent, and I would highly reccomend the collection. I particularly liked Roses By Moonlight, The Lorelei, Stronger Than Time, and Cruel Sisters.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Abi

    A truly wonderful collection of funny, clever, and thought-provoking stories. Each world Wrede paints is both imaginative and vividly real, and I never knew what to expect next! There were only a couple stories that didn't quite grab me, but the others were so captivating I can't even notch this down a star for that. I want to read these again sometime.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carole B

    Delightful. A set of fairy tales, some new, some imagined, in which cleverness is not limited by age or gender or magical ability or even the border of death, and in which courage and nobility are similarly free. Probably recommended for middle grade readers but a charming interlude for anyone, I should think.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Magistrum

    I can never get enough of Patricia C Wrede’s unique style. And the stories in this book allow that style to explore different tones, sometimes darker, heavier, meatier without becoming less irreverent and engaging. These stories sit with you, call back to you, and it is always a pleasure to come back to them after years away, like greeting an old friend who has grown up right along with you.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    3.5/5 Patricia C. Wrede has a gift for creating stories that just make me happy. I was particularly thrilled to see that this collection includes an Enchanted Forest story as those books hold an important place in my childhood. If you love Patricia C. Wrede's novels or you just need some fantastical short stories in your life, I highly recommend this collection.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice

    Re-reading a childhood favorite! Wrede does a nice job with her shot stories, mixing in silly stories with more though provoking and ambiguous ones. I loved this book as a middle schooler, and feel like it still holds up! A fantastic collection for young readers who like not your average fantasy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    A very very fun little book with short stories. One is from the Dealing With Dragon series and has its own little recipe. Quick read but worth it- don't forget the read the notes from the author for where she got her story ideas, super neat!

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