Jo Walton’s Starling is a whimsical collection of short stories. You can find fairy tales, sci-fi, magical realism, satire, mythology, exercises and poems. All these stories are imbued with fantasy and a wonderful writing style that carries you effortlessly from one page to the next. Each story is a world of their own. Their style, tone, narrative and POV also changes from story to story but they are all similar in that they posses an enchanting “out of this world” feeling to them.
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Expected publication: January 23rd 2018 by Tachyon Publications
The unpredictability when going from one story to the next made my reading experience even more enjoyable; I didn’t know what to expect and needed to clear my mind so I could welcome the next story. It was exciting to speculate what kind of world would come next, would it be on earth? space? or inside a fairy tale?. I let myself be carried away by Walton’s prose and poems and fully enjoyed it. Some stories felt perfect as they are, while others left me wishing there was more. At the end of each one, an afterword is included telling us about the author’s inspiration or purpose on writing each piece and information about previous publications.
My favorite stories were:
Three Twilight Tales: 3 tales that take place in the same village, in a cozy inn warmed by a fireplace. The first one concerning a man made of moonshine, the second one a peddler selling wondrous items and the third, a king in search for adventure. I loved the atmosphere, the detailed descriptions of the place and the unexpected endings for each tale.
On the Wall: related to a well known fairy tale, we get to know a new side of the story from the point of view of an unexpected secondary character.
The Panda Coin: an science fiction exercise where a series of stories unfold in chains as a coin passes from hand to hand, thus allowing us to know the story of its handler and, as the story progresses, gives us a clearer picture of this bizarre world. I really liked the idea of a coin being the key that connects one character to the other and pushes the story forward. As with the other stories, you never guess how it will develop and end until it happens.
Since the beginning, Walton warns us that short stories is not her forte and that most of the stories are not even real short stories but, for example, exercises, first chapters or prose poems. I really didn’t mind that, I found those apparently imperfect pieces to be full of wonderful ideas, worlds and emotions that left me smiling, dreaming and craving for more.
eArc provided by Tachyon Publications