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Friday, March 30, 2007


Spellbound by Vivian Vande Velde. Fantasy.

This is an omnibus of two novels and one short story that I'd bought several years ago with the notion of reading it with the kids. Interestingly, in the foreword, the author explains that they were written in reverse order--that is, the one that takes place most recently in the story world was the first one written. Perhaps as a result of that, the first novel in the volume (that is, the last one written) is my favorite.
  • ***** The Changeling Prince. A sorceress, Daria, has a household full of servants and warriors that are animals she's changed to human form. Weiland is an experiment. She changed him when he was very young, and keeps him in human form most of the time, trying to see if that will make him more "human."

    Everything changes when Daria moves her entourage to town, and they're in frequent, and confusing, contact with people. Most importantly, Weiland meets and befriends a thief named Shile.

    Weiland's attempts to make sense of everything, and his conflict between morality and his own mortality are what made this story worth reading for me.

  • **** The Conjurer Princess. I wasn't sure at first how this connected to the previous story. Lylene's older sister's wedding is interrupted when the groom is killed and Beryl is abducted. When neither the law nor the church will help, she takes it upon herself to rescue her sister. The first step in her plan: become a sorceress.

    As with the previous story, Lylene has some morality/mortality choices to make, and they're honestly and realistically handled.

    It's not until over halfway through the story that she meets up with Shile and Weiland, and that likely contributed to my not liking this story quite as much, because I was expecting and waiting for that connection.

  • **** "Just Another Dragon-Slaying".This is the short story, and where Vivian Vande Velde started the concept.

    Weiland, Lylene, and Shile are hired to kill a dragon--a fairly simple task that they've done before. But this time, it's not quite the same.

    It's got a fairly clever plot, and a rather shocking development.

I'm don't think I'll be reading these with the kids, but I'll probably keep an eye out for more books by Vivian Vande Velde.


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Weiland, Lylene, AND Shile? I thought that Shile wasn't in this one, because of what happened in The Conjurer Princess. I haven't read this story yet. Is he in it?
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