Original Fiction: Baba Yaga

There’s a special place in my heart for old school fairy tales, though this is the first time I’ve pulled an established character into one of my own. Baba Yaga, a staple of Slavic folklore, has been portrayed as both helpful and villainous, and is often ambiguous. I’ve included bits of the original tradition (her chicken legged hut, iron teeth, and bone gate) and a few references to various stories. On Wikipedia, I found mention of a blue rose tea that enables her to grow a year younger (she ages when helping people), but could not find the actual story in which this exists. (If anyone knows it…) In the meantime, it’s my deepest fear that I’ve somehow replicated something old and I’m not original after all. read more

Review: When the Nines Roll Over by David Benioff

When I like an author, I feel obligated to appreciate all their work as a show of loyalty. David Benioff’s City of Thieves is one of my Top Five so it hurts to say things like: “When the Nines Roll Over is inconsistent” and “Benioff doesn’t get credit for a diverse cast of characters if they all have the same voice”. I could say worse, but this man played a key role in fixing A Game of Thrones for its small screen adaptation. He is on my good side. [NOTE: I WROTE THE PREVIOUS TWO SENTENCES LONG BEFORE THE FINAL SEASONS OF GAME OF THRONES.]

On a first read, this collection is fantastic. I was swept up in each story and excited by their quirkiness. Each has a simple premise, but all have some new angle. I’d have written this book a love letter, but it didn’t hold the same appeal when I re-read it ahead of this post. I noticed flaws I hadn’t noticed the first time when I’d been distracted by its novelty. read more