The skillful first collection by prolific New Zealand fantasist Marillier (the Bridei Chronicles and others for adults and teens) includes 14 short stories, as well as an introduction by Sophie Masson and detailed author’s notes. The book starts well with “Prickle Moon,” a tale of the wise forced to choose between moral compromises, and mostly maintains a consistent level of quality throughout. Of particular interest are “The Angel of Death,” about a veterinarian whose compassion for hopeless animals is often at odds with her duty to them, and “By Bone-light” and its embrace of secret magic. Only the tepid comedy “Tough Love 3001” strikes an off note. Marillier’s fans will be delighted to see that her skills are as applicable to the short form as they are to the novel, and will particularly appreciate “’Twixt Twilight and Water (A Tale of Sevenwaters),” which ties in to her well-regarded Sevenwaters series. (Apr.)
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