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The Fair Folk: Six Tales of the Fey    edited by Marvin Kaye order for
Fair Folk
by Marvin Kaye
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2007 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

The Fair Folk is a wonderful compilation of six short stories and novellas about fairies, elves, etc., edited by Marvin Kaye, who has done a number of such fantasy and horror collections. These tales are all contributed by top fantasy writers both American and English: Tanith Lee, Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb), Kim Newman, Patricia A. McKillip, Craig Shaw Gardner, and Jane Yolen writing with Midori Snyder.

While all these stories tell of the fantastical world of the fey, each author has his or her own unique take on fantasy writing, making for a varied collection that will appeal to all tastes. Tanith Lee's UOUS is a modern-day cautionary fairy tale set in the mysterious woods that are found in abundance around English towns. Megan Lindholm's Grace Notes is a humorous contemporary tale about an out-of-luck bachelor and the brownie that decides to live with him.

The longest story in the collection is Kim Newman's The Gypsies in the Wood, a Victorian mystery/fantasy with numerous creepy fantastical elements. Also written in a Victorian style is Patricia A. McKillip's The Kelpie, a picturesque, gothic tale of art and terror. Craig Shaw Gardner's An Embarrasment of Elves is the most comical of the entries - a large contintigent of elves with names taken from 60s songs invite a bumbling group of typical epic-fantasy characters to a party.

Finally there's Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder, a dark and dreary tale of exiled fey sisters who unknowingly hold the key to saving their world. Written as letters back and forth between the two sisters (not a common style), this was the story I enjoyed least in the collection.

The Fair Folk offers a great opportunity to sample the work of some of today's foremost fantasy writers. Fans of fantasy will find something to love in the anthology, and may even find new favorite authors. I highly recommend this collection to anyone with a fondness for the fey.

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