Quatrain (Sharon Shinn)

QuatrainQuatrain by Sharon Shinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Recommended for: EVERYONE! Seriously.

In general, I'm skeptical of novellas and short stories. This is probably because I read a few too many of those "literary" short stories in college, which all ended up sounding the same in my mind after a while. But I just had to pick up this book, just because it was Sharon Shinn - and we all know I am just totally in love with Sharon Shinn. (What? You don't know that? Okay, more on that later.)

Quatrain is, like it sounds, a collection of four novellas, one set in each of four worlds that Shinn has created. The first, "Flight," takes place on Samaria, the setting of Shinn's science fiction Samaria series, where angels, created to commune with the god Jovah, live among men.

The second novella, "Blood," takes place on one of her worlds that I had (shockingly) not heard of before. In this world there are two races, the guldens and the indigos, whose animosity is only (partially) overcome in one city. I was initially skeptical of this story, never having heard of this world before, but I was immediately sucked into it, and was devastated by the ending (there needed to be so much more to the story!) before I learned that Shinn wrote a novel in this world, which I now MUST read.

The third, "Gold," is based in the same world as Summers at Castle Auburn, and I have to say that this one was the least captivating to me, probably because it is based in a world I haven't had much luck in connecting with - Castle Auburn may be my least favorite of Shinn's books.

The fourth, "Flame," occurs just before the events of the first book in the Twelve Houses series. Can I just stop and say how much I want to live in Gillengaria? But only if I could be a mystic...

I wish I could describe these stories without giving too much away... I suppose I can start out by saying that I loved this collection. This probably has to do with the fact that Shinn set her stories in worlds I'd already come to know and love. I adore, absolutely and completely, the way that Sharon Shinn world-builds. Too many science fiction and fantasy novels take place in a vaguely medieval-esque world - not this time. All of Shinn's universes are incredibly developed, fascinating, and unique.

These novellas were excellent. They did just what novellas should do - for those who are already familiar with the books (like me), they provide a return trip to beloved worlds. And for those who are unfamiliar with Sharon Shinn, they are tantalizing samples of the absolutely delicious stories she's spun. I highly recommend this collection, especially to those interested in original, intriguing, excellent science fiction and fantasy. You won't be disappointed.

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