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Woods and Waters Wild: Collected Early Stories, Volume 3: High Fantasy Stories Hardcover – 31 Dec 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press (31 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596062290
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596062290
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,159,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
this is the third collection of Charles de Lint's short stories of 'high' fantasy... and like the other two volumes, this new collection does not disappoint. it's interesting to see how he developed his style as you trace his 'history' through these stories, each one of which stands on its own merits. My particular favourites are 'the graceless child' and 'the cruel sister'... but I have to read the entire book again to be sure! A book to be dipped into on a winters evening with the wind howling outside and a roaring log fire to curl up by... with a goblet of wine close at hand...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good retrospective, but not up to his current quality 30 Dec. 2008
By Josh More - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Woods and Waters Wild is the third and final book in Charles de Lint's collection of very early work. I started de Lint's work with Dreams Underfoot, and have followed him ever since. Throughout most of that time, his style has been fairly constant. Though he's grown in certain directions, when you pick up a de Lint book, you can pretty sure that it's a de Lint book. Not so with this one. Woods and Waters Wild shows an author learning to write. There are commonalities with the more contemporary works, but there are certain stories that diverge pretty strongly.

The book is broken up into sections, and de Lint himself states that "the stories collected under 'Pastiches', [were] a little painful for [to] reread", and yeah, they were. They really were. Luckily, the book improved after that. Once you get through the pain that is "Pastiches", you move on to the "Angharad" section. These stories were interesting to revisit, as they were the seeds that his later book Into the Green grew from. Unlike the earlier section, you could tell that there was really something here... something good. Ultimately, it proved to be enough to make a good novel, but not to become a series. It was interesting to revisit.

The section Dennet and Willie contains two fairly predictable, but not very satisfying, stories about two characters. The characters are pretty basic, but not bad. The stories twist around a bit, but to a reader who is familiar with de Lint's more mature work, they won't stand up. They were diverting, but not very masterful... which is unsurprising because he was not yet a master when they were written.

Then, we get to meet Thomas the Rhymer and, in many ways, get to read the stories that might have been. These stories are inspired by classic folk ballads and read the way that Charles Vess draws. If you know the songs, the twists, alignments and departures are fascinating. If you don't know the songs, the stories serve as excellent introductions. These stories are wonderful. They may not be as well crafted as the current work, but are as good as some of the stories that appear in Dreams Underfoot. Part of me wishes that there had been more of these stories to read, but the other part recognizes that by giving them up, we got Newford... and that's a good trade.

The remaining five stories are more like the de Lint I was expecting. Each story is well written and stands on its own. Though some of them are strangely incomplete and plot-driven (like the random bear in "The Fane of the Grey Rose"), they are enjoyable and make a good read on a cold winter night. Some are unique, like "A Kingly Thing", which pulls the reader along a destined path following a similarly-pulled young protagonist. Some, like "Wood and Waters Wild" are a simple update of a fairly classic and common myth, good but not great. Then, lastly, there are the two that should really have been expanded into novels of their own. "The White Road" would have made an excellent full-length travelogue/coming of age story. It's a good short story, but could have been an incredible novel. Similarly, "The Graceless Child" is about honesty, truth and decisions. The characters are interesting and come alive in the way that characters in later stories do. I wish that they had been given more of a chance to bloom.

So, in a nutshell, you may find an acorn. However, were this book to be in a nutshell, I'd have to say that you'd enjoy it more as a retrospective and a view into a writer learning to write. If you're expecting the depth and skill that de Lint is currently capable of, you'd be disappointed. However, if you already know and like his current work and want to see the path he took getting here, it's well worth picking up.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Urban Fantasy 11 Mar. 2011
By Karris - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More of Charles De Lint's early stories compiled for the reader. This author was/is incredibly prolific and one of the originators of Urban Fantasy. Not the flood of female vampire hunter quasi-porn novels that have assailed the market lately, although I suppose it's appropriate they have nicked the term because most of us never really liked it that much to begin with, preferring to leave genre ghettos behind and return all fiction to the mainstream shelves where it belongs. Anyway, if you are a fan of some of the best work in fantasy, mainstream fantasy, interstitial or mythic fiction, or whatever you wish to call it, you can't do better than De Lint, with his terrific characters trying to cope with events that are often outside their control. Long may he reign.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 14 Feb. 2015
By bobbalee - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love discovering these early de Lint masterpieces! This one had been a library purchase AND it was autographed, too!
5.0 out of 5 stars Anything by Charles de Lint 10 May 2014
By Barbara Campbell - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm trying to collect all of Charles de Lint's books and am happy for anything I can find. Thank you.
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