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Finding Magic by Tanya Huff
Cover Artist: Jody A. Lee
Review by Beth Slater
ISFiC Press Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780975915653
Date: November 2007

Links: Publisher's Page / Show Official Info /

Huff has compiled stories into an anthology of seventeen fantastic tales. Some have never been printed, like "I Knew a Guy Once" or "Slow Poison", and many have been collected from her writings from other anthologies over the many years she's been authoring her fantasy books. Her adaptability in creating the different worlds where her many characters reside is absolutely amazing, not to mention the tales she's done that fit seamlessly into the worlds of other fantasy authors like Mercedes Lackey.

Huff has included three journeys with the Herald Jors and his Companion Gervis in Lackey's world of Valdemar: "All the Ages of Men", "Brock", and "The Demon's Den". All three carry Huff's inevitable signature of themes throughout – taking responsibility and melding it in with a world of magic but creating humorous and compelling characters that could be living down the block from your house.

One of my favorites brought back her Keeper series, which theoretically took place in Canada, but humor was the main character in this trilogy. The short story, "Under Summons", involves Diana Hansen (the Keeper) with her familiar (of sorts) cat Sam. They work magic together to keep the world in accord – restoring wrongs to right to keep a careful balance. But when you mix a cat with water, anything can happen!

Also included is a fairy tale of a different sort called "He Said, Sidhe Said", and a great tale entitled "Slow Poison", where the moral of the story could be as simple as patience is a virtue. I'm a huge Tanya Huff fan, but I have to admit to not being completely caught up with all of her work, although I know I already own it. I also have to admit to not remembering details about her work that I read 20 years ago – for instance, the Diana Tregarde series that is now a television show. Details of her earlier works are more difficult to bring to mind but it all sticks with me. Her "Smoke" trilogy is one that I haven't yet read, but "After School Specials", set in the same world, was exactly the right kind of taste to remind me to pick it up next.

This is a great anthology. It has new stuff to draw you in and previous worlds and characters to bring back memories of her other work. It can be read a little at a time or all in one sitting. If you are ready for a break from reality – with humor – grab this one off the shelf.

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