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The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm Paperback – 2 Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (2 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142404063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142404065
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.6 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,306,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tuulia on 26 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Overall this was quite a delightful read. There were, of course, some stories I didn't enjoy quite as much as others, but I guess that's inevitable. The stories were quite varied, my favorites being "The Faery Handbag" by Kelly Link, a very original story about a handbag that contains a whole fairy world, "Tengu Mountain" by Gregory Frost which (along with Hiromi Goto's "Foxwife") brought Japanese mythology to the anthology, Neil Gaiman's poem "The Faery Reel" about a man who split his soul in two when he was young, and above all, "The Annals of Eelin-Ok" by Jeffrey Ford which told the story of a Twilmish, a certain kind of a fairy that lives in a sand castle. Also the introduction about fairies offered a good read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
No quaint Victorian fairies here 15 Oct. 2004
By abt1950 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Over the years, Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling have established a reputation as editors of quality fantasy anthologies. Their series of volumes of modern adult retellings of classic fairy tales are essential reading for the fairy tale-addicted. "The Faery Reel," a Young Adult anthology of original stories about the fey likewise maintains a high standard. These are not stories about quaint Victorian fairies with filmy wings. Rather, these stories hark back to earlier folklore about red-blooded creatures who can be good or evil, dangerous or benign.

Many of the best known names of modern fantasy are represented in this volume: Charles de Lint, Delia Sherman, Tanith Lee, Katherine Vaz, Gregory Frost, Kelly Link, Steve Berman, Holly Black, Bruce Glassco, Ellen Steiber, Nini Kiriki Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, Patricia McKillip, Gregory Maguire, Hiromi Goto, A.M. Dellamonica, Bill Congreve, Jeffrey Ford, Emma Bull, and Nan Fry. The rule of thumb for most anthologies is that they are uneven--some stories are stronger than others, and there are usually a few duds. But there aren't any real clinkers here. In addition, "The Faery Reel" has an added bonus, namely a wonderful introduction to fairy lore and its history in popular culture by the editors. Datlow and Windling really know their stuff and it shows

Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman contribute poems. The former, which de Lint wrote to fit the tune of an Irish reel, sets the leit motif for the collection. Gaiman's poem, on the other hand, is much darker, and reflects the dangerous human longing for things fey. Nan Fry's poem ends the anthology with advice on how to find traces of fairy in the ordinary.

The stories themselves reflect the various forms in which fairies are traditionally found and include urban and rural, familiar and exotic locales. Many of them have a touch of horror. Gregory Frost's "Tengu Mountain," for example, is an encounter between an unsuspecting Japanese boy and goblins. A.M. Dellamonica's "The Dream Eaters" is likewise chilling, although its setting is an alternate urban reality. On the other hand, Patricia McKillip's "Undine," is a lighter story in which the femme fatale of legend encounters the modern world. Delia Sherman's "Catnyp" turns the catalog of the New York Public Library into a magical lion in a story about a young girl's personal growth. "Peter Pan" gets an adult updating in Glassco's "Never Never." My personal favorite, Jeffrey Ford's affecting "The Annals of Eelin-Ok" is a quiet story of a fairy life lived in the time between high and low tide.

Like much fantasy, "The Faery Reel" is being marketed as a Young Adult book. But it's just as satisfying for adult readers. It would be a shame if potential readers miss it because of the YA label. I highly recommend this book to any lover of fairy tales.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Summary of Stories: Minor Spoilers 31 Aug. 2006
By C. Carnevale - Published on
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the Faery Reel quite a bit. Something that Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling do well is give you a flavor of many different authors' styles. This anthology is no exception to that. So without further ado, the stories:

THE BOYS OF GOOSE HILL by Charles deLint

An interesting poem about mischevous faires. it is supposed to go to the tune of "The Meet Was at Matthews" by Jimmy Crowley.

CATNYP by Delia Sherman

A short story about a girl living in a fairy New York who tries to win a bet that humans know more than fairies about love. Throw in a personable library database, a boy searching to get to the human world, and boons--you've got the story. I enjoyed it so much that I am going to read The Changeling the newly released book about the main character in this story.

ELVENBROOD by Tanith Lee

A haunting modern-day story about fairies taking young children back to their land. They can't take the child unless one of the parents "sells" them for something better, whether or not the parents are aware of it.

TENGU MOUNTAIN by Gregory Frost

An interesting story with an intriguing basis in legend and history. The story is about a Japanese boy visiting his aunt only to find himself in a sticky situation: he is to be the main course at a feast!


A creative story about a handbag that contains a whole fairy world. The main character is forever searching for this handbag because she was supposed to look after it after her grandmother died. She also has personal connection to it by someone who jumped into the handbag.


I have to admit I did not care for this story particularly but that is a matter of taste. It's rather dark. Poor Tup is in charge of collecting stolen goods for his demanding boss. In order to disguise oneself as a human, the fey must either have glamour (a sort of powder) or the Sight because all the iron in the city destroys their natural ability to disguise themselves. Caught one day trying to steal glamour, Tup ends up being endentured for 12 years. When Tup has his secret cache stolen, his ticket to freedom, he is determined to catch the thief.


A fast paced tale about a girl trying to save her sister from an elf's curse. Tomasa, the main character, goes to the night market, the fairies' market, in order to break it. Soon the elf does not seem so bad afterall.

NEVER NEVER by Bruce Glassco

"What could I have possibly done to deserve eternity as the plaything for some...juvenile godling? (pg. 235)" Captain Hook asks Tiger Lily. Tinkerbell, because of Peter's requests, brings in new amusefments for him that never leave the enchanted land--such as Tiger Lily's village or Captain Hook's ship. Cursed to live there forever, or at least until madness takes over, Hook is miserable. Tinkerbell takes pity on him and grants him one wish.


A very facinating tale that is definately grown up in its tone. Two fairies appear to Cherry. She feeds and talks to them. Enter boyfriend who Cherry longs to make love to but is afraid because she is a virgin. The story is definately a glorification of "primal instincts" insisting we all have a connection with the earth and a beautiful chord of intense passion hidden within. It's an interesting sotry in the fact that it makes you feel airy but rather too dangerous in its message to continually read.

IMMERSED IN MATTER by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

A faery mother + a human father = basically faery with specializations

A human mother + a faery father = half faery/half human

An interesting short story introducing the concept that the half faeries are also, deep down, related to animals. Owl, through his desire to meet horses, learns to notice others and learns about the world. See "Flotsam" in Firebirds for a story of a similar nature.

UNDINE by Patricia A. McKillip

All undines capture mortal men and bring them back to their underwater homes. Eventually, if the men don't escape, they die and the undines find others to take their places. This sthort story tells of an undine trying to catch her first man but things don't go exactly as planned.

THE OAKTHING by Gregory Maguire

When the Grandomtoher is left behind after her family abandons their farm she finds herself alone in a village with impending advance of enemy soldiers. She befreinds an oakthing-a twiggy creature that inhabits the oak tree on the farm. The woman learns to fend for herself. This is primarily a tale of death and life, showing the fine lines between the two.

FOXWIFE by Hiromi Goto

Quite an interesting story about an unlucky girl named Yumeko. She seems to find bad luck wherever she goes and the day the story takes place is no exception. When her boat capsizes she soon finds herself in the midst of a wedding procession for kitsune and becomes their prisoner.

THE DREAM EATERS by A.M. Dellamonica

This story starts out bizarre and confusing. From what I can gather, Mo and Liz are both girls from a group home. Mo, through stealing some money, starts her own business,-Lopside Fashions-which takes off. Now one of Mo's friends, a little girl named Peg, has disappeared, spirited off by fairies. Mo and Liz are determined to get her back. Together they go to Kasqueam, a fairy city that co-exists with their own. There fairies store dreams for it is through dreams that fairies are able to gain items. But Mo and Liz aren't about to let the fairies steal Peg's dreams.

The description of fairies is to be particularly noted. Fairies live one day (even though it is a very long day) and can grow 30-50 feet tall. They are born in the morning and reproduce at twilight. Their eggs are "incubated" in human lungs, inhaled when humans breathe.

THE FAERY REEL by Neil Gaiman

A poem about a man, when young, split his soul in two. While one part stayed in the human world the other lived in faerie.


A young man is hired to stay at an oasis-like area in the Australian wilderness in order to shoot animals not native to Australia. His employers hope that the young man will stop invading animals before they reach the agricultural areas. And so the young man lives out a fairly boring existence until he accidentally shotots and kills a strange woman. And thus begins the young man's rigorous examination of death and life. Interesting themes dealing with life, death and the supernatural. Great symbolism with water. I understand why this story won an award.


Facinating and creative story about fairies that inhabit sandcastles (Twilmish they are called). A Twilmish lives only as long as the castle exists so they must choose their castle wisely. They usually look for castles which are made by children by hand, don not have sand crabs, have a protective wall in order to hold back the sea, and ones that are already named (pg. 473). This story is mostly comprised of a "diary" of a certain Twilmish--his adventures, activities and contemplation.

DE LA TIERRA by Emma Bull

The authoer obviously put some thought into the story. De la Tierra is a tale of old and new. Somewhat nebulous, the story hints at right and wrong but never states it clearly. The tale involves a modified human doing the "dirty work" for shapechanging fairies. These fairies, in order to protect their way of life, hire hitmen to take out fairies who do not blend in with the urban world.


A poem not only describing how to find a fairy but also how to appreciate the magic found in nature and ourselves.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
AMAZING!!!!!!!! 2 Sept. 2004
By Periwinkle - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book in amazing. It is not about little fluttering butterfly faeries, but is about the good and evil faeries of folklore. Ellen Datlow has organized faery stories from a variety of authors and has created this book of good and evil, love and hate, and everything inbetween. It binds you in and you are just iching to read the next story! It was hard for me to put this book down!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An amazing book full of unique fairy stories 12 Jun. 2006
By bOoK fAnAtIc - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This compiliation of fairy stories is amazing! I enjoyed all of them greatly. I liked Tengu Mountain, The Price of Glamour, Never Never, Imersed in Matter, The Shooter at the Heartcock Waterhole, and The Annals of Eelin-Ok the best. At first I wasn't going to read it because it was so long, but I liked it so much it took me 3 days to read 350 pages. I couldn't stop! I liked this book so much because the stories are all so different and unique. The faries are all so different, and so I never got bored. Never Never was the same plot as Peter Pan, just told in the point of view of Captain Hook. If you want to read a book that is fun, interesting, and a great journey, read the Faery Reel.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A fey and fetching read 24 Aug. 2005
By Stephanie L. Wilde - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Though marked for young adults, the Faery Reel will appeal to many adult readers as well. A number of the stories have youthful protagonists, but mostly this volume is simply free of descriptive violence or sexual themes.

There are twenty stories and poems here, my favourite of which were Delia Sherman's "CATNYP", Gregory Frost's "Tengu Mountain" & Holly Black's "The Night Market".

"CATNYP" is a journey into the magical side of New York-New York Between. Neef, a changeling, seeks out the public library (reigned over by CATNYP, here a magical lion) trying to win a bet that humans know more of love than the Folk. Naturally, an adventure of sorts (and some growing up) ensues. 'New York Between' is a droll creation, and she weaves a lovely tale.

I really enjoyed "Tengu Mountain". The priest is nicely ambiguous and pleasantly skeptical, and the protagonist has less-than-perfect judgement. Plus the whole story is just a bit creepy! Mr. Frost says that he wanted to 'bind a Western story arc to such a [Japanese] tale without losing the flavor of it." Well, he succeeded!

Elves in the Philippines apparently aren't all that nice. In "The Night Market" Tomasa seeks one out, for her sister has apparently fallen ill because an enkanto is in love with her, and only he can make her well. But things are a little less straight-forward than that, and the enkanto is not cooperative. The setting is handled with great skill, and the story is just the right weight. A real pleasure to read (I leave it to you to discover the ending.)

There are a number of other excellant stories in this volume - I quite liked the Hugo-award winning "The Faery Handbag", by Kelly Link, as well as Bruce Glassco's "Never Never", in which Captain Hook and Tinkerbell get to tell a little of their own tale. All told, there were very few stories that did not appeal-most have a nice snappy pace and all delve into Faërie in a unique manner. You won't regret reading this collection.
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