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#65 The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

The trickster has always been one of my favorite characters types in literature. Apparently, I'm not the only one as Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have crafted an entire short story anthology around the idea of the trickster. This is the second anthology I have read edited by Datlow and Windling, after The Faerie Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm. Once again I found myself impressed by the wide variety of content. We have stories that take place in all over our world, or in completely new worlds. Stories that take place now, or deep in the past. Here the trickster can be a protagonist, a villain, a notable side character, or even a force of nature. I found plenty of stories to love here, even if a handful weren't exactly to my taste and I wasn't always fond of the poetry. In the end I don't think this collection was quite as consistent as The Faerie Reel, but I still enjoyed most of the stories. Below are short reviews of my five favorites:

"Wagers of Gold Mountain" by Steve Breman- A historical fantasy selection taking place in San Francisco, this short story is about two trickster immortals. My favorite part about this story was how the protagonist (Yuan), managed to trick the tricksters and find his way out of a very difficult situation. I also thought that the San Francisco setting came across very strong.

"Realer than You" by Christopher Bazark- Until the end, there is very little about this story that feels magical. Instead it is about a young man who is forced to move to Japan, and how he struggles to adapt to the new culture. I enjoy how the kitsune trickster type was weaved into this story, and how well the author depicted the culture shock of suddenly being in a very different country.

"The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" by Delia Sherman- A story about a unique young woman who is pulled into a dangerous wager where she must out dance and out smart an evil fiddler. The best thing about this story is the strength of it's voice. I can really hear the storyteller in my head. I also enjoyed the ending.

"Crow Roads" by Charles de Lint- "Crow Roads" tells about a strange man that visits a small town, and the impact he has on one girl in particular. I thought the way that Charles de Lint depicted a small, poor town was very accurate, and I found Annie to be my favorite protagonist in the entire book. I was really happy with the decision she made by the end of the story, and wish that other young adult characters could be so levelheaded.

"A Reversal of Fortune" by Holly Black- In "A Reversal of Fortune", Holly Black puts her own spin on the betting with the devil trope, when Nikki enters an eating contest with the prince of darkness. The idea is just the right level of ridiculous, and I really enjoyed how the story ended.

Other stories I really like include "One Odd Shoe" by Pat Murphy, "The Listeners" by Nikki Kiriki Hoffman, "A Tale for Short Days" by Richard Bowes, and "Honored Guest" by Ellen Kushner. The book also has a great introduction on the history of trickster myths and a list of recommended reading in the back.

Rating: four stars
Length: 523 pages
Source: Bookcloseouts
Other books I've read by this author: The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm

Next I will be reviewing And Then there were None by Agatha Christie

xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish, and goodreads
Tags: author: b, author: d, author: s, author: w, category: anthology, genre: fantasy, review
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