Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tending The Fire - Erin L. Snyder



Title: Tending The Fire
Author: Erin L. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2011
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
Smashwords
Amazon UK

“Tending The Fire” by Erin L. Snyder is a short story collection that explores some of the more classical elements of the fantasy genre. Snyder, keeps well away from the current trend of urban fantasy and has created stories in the style of epic fantasy that involve creatures such as elves, dragons and goblins. As someone who still has a place in their heart for this style of fantasy story I was actually looking forward to exploring the ten stories contained within the collection.

I found that the stories were all quite varied with them ranging from humorous adventures to dark and foreboding tales. The variety really helped keep the collection feeling fresh and enjoyable as I was never sure what style of story I would be faced with next. As the collection is so varied I decided that I will discuss a few of the stories to highlight the differences and then leave the rest for the reader to discover by reading the book.

The initial story I want to highlight is actually the first story in the collection which is entitled “The Envoy from Durelle”. The story follows a diplomatic envoy that is not what he appears to be who must undertake a secret mission that would result in his death should he be caught. I found this story to be an entertaining tale of deception and espionage that really made my brain work as I tried to deduce through the various twists and turns what the Envoy’s true mission was. It really was a brilliant and clever story to kick of the collection which ensured that Snyder had my full attention right from the start.

Next I want to mention “The Carpenter” which is about a carpenter living in a mountain village. His peaceful life is altered however when a knight appears and starts to train all the men to fight a dragon due to recent attacks. When the dragon does attack the village, things don’t go as you would normally expect with this type of tale. What I loved about the story was that the story didn’t result in a heroic battle and conclusion that I was predicting. I can’t say much without spoiling it, but what we do get is a look at what really matters to the carpenter, fame and heroics or family and love.

“The Worst Assassin in Kalbrin” was a story that really highlighted the variety in the collection to me due to its rather comic tone. It details the story of Leit Pesril, an assassin so bad that he is hired by people wishing to make a point to a target as they know there is no chance he will succeed. However, when Leit succeeds in an assassination through accidental luck, the entire city is thrown into chaos as people refuse to believe he was the killer and recriminations fly back and forth. I was quite impressed that Snyder managed to create a tale here that mixed humour with some rather poignant moments. This is especially so at a point in the story when Leit is talking with another assassin shows that he is not as stupid as people would have actually believed.

The final book I wanted to highlight is “The Lord of the Eastern Mountain” which is a story that explores faith and the cultural clashes that can occur between different groups of people. It follows the events at a village where people worship a massive being in the mountain as their god. However, the rather simple life in the village is changed forever when a large kingdom decides to bring the village under its protection and introduces the people there to new ideas and beliefs. This was probably the slowest paced story in the collection but this worked well as the story was more about society and debate than action and adventure.

Overall, this was a well written and enjoyable collection of stories that would serve as a good introduction for someone wanting to explore the fantasy genre. As a fan of fantasy already I loved it, the stories were varied, entertaining and paced perfectly. On a personal level this collection has introduced me to the works of Erin L. Snyder and I suspect that very soon I will have one of her novels in my collection.

Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
Speculative Fiction Challenge