Thursday, November 02, 2006

Book Review: _Moonlight and Vines_ by Charles de Lint

Fantasy author Charles de Lint has written many engrossing books over the years. He is the master of Urban Fantasy with great stories set in the modern day world. Moonlight and Vines is a collection of short stories set in the magical fictional city of Newford. There are many engaging stories with sympathetic characters and captivating plots.

“The Big Sky” is the story of a man who has died. John arrives at his home one evening to find a girl sitting in his living room. She is his guide to the afterlife. He refuses to go with Dakota, not believing he is dead that leaves him to wander earthbound looking for help. This is a nice story about hope and helping others find their way, whether in life or death.

Arthurian fantasy is represented by the story “Passing.” Lucy Grey is a reporter. While researching a story she meets a troubled young woman needing help. Nina asks Lucy to get her away from her husband. She wants the sword hanging on the wall in their apartment as the only thing from her marriage. Lucy is driven by confusion and love in deciding what to do. Mr. de Lint writes a magical tale about love and sacrifice for others.

Newford is a city full of many different magical beings. Jenny has an encounter with the Greek fates in “Shining Nowhere but in the Dark.” She is nice to one of them and is visited by two of them at night, one fate claiming an interest in Jenny because she does not dream. Seeking help form various people, she must try to reconcile with her past. The author provides a poignant tale with a satisfying ending.

“Seven for a Secret” explores how magic can appear in anyone’s life, even among the homeless. William has many friends. One is the mysterious woman called Malicorne. People tell their stories to her and feel better. Jake,one of William’s friends, believes she is some kind of vampire and refuses to tell his story to her. They are all helped by Staley, a musician who plays a blue spirit fiddle. The story delivers a memorable climax for readers.

Magic can touch people, changing their lives in many ways. Mona publishes a comic. She is depressed from personal problems. On the way home one night, she gives some money to a man. He ends up staying with her until he can repay the favor. “My Life as a Bird” is a story with humor and magic touching realistic characters.

Charles de Lint writes wonderful stories of Urban Fantasy with a strong sense of wonder and sympathetic characters. His collection of Newford stories in Moonlight and Vines has many entertaining stories for readers to enjoy. Mr. de Lint continues to be a powerful contributor to the Fantasy genre.

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