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The Inheritance: And Other Stories by Robin Hobb
Review by Charity J. Sands
Eos Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061561641
Date: 01 May 2011 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The Inheritance presents 10 short stories spanning the author's career under two pseudonyms, Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb. They range from science fiction to fantasy; they're set on other worlds, the contemporary world, and in the future. But all of them demonstrate Hobb's characteristic touch of magic.

Whether you are new to Robin Hobb or an old fan, The Inheritance and Other Stories will pull you in with ten absorbing tales, most of which feel rich enough for their own novel treatment and all of which show off Hobb's incredible range. The Inheritance proves what her long-time fans already know, which is that she can breathe life into fantasy, science fiction, or magical realism with equal skill.

While most people know her from the 14 epic fantasy novels written under the Robin Hobb pseudonym, the same author wrote 11 previous novels and many short stories under the name Megan Lindholm. The Inheritance brings the two voices of this author together in one volume of short stories.

As Megan Lindholm, the author explores the magical mundane in four stories ("Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man", "The Fifth Squashed Cat", "Strays", and "Finis"). She weaves subtle magic into modern day worlds with such skill that the reader might believe that people often become cats and that wizards are known to frequent shopping malls. The stories echo the magical realism found in classic Megan Lindholm novels such as Wizard of the Pigeons and Cloven Hooves.

Three of the Lindholm stories ("A Touch of Lavender", "Cut", and "Drum Machine") remind us that she is equally adept with science fiction, something she proved with Alien Earth, (the last novel published as Megan Lindholm, and one of her best, in this critic's estimation).

The short stories published under the name Robin Hobb return readers to the world of the Six Duchies and the near extinction of dragons in that world, the central conflict of three of Hobb's four fantasy trilogies.

Although the author tells different types of tales for each setting (going so far as to maintain two separate websites for each pseudonym), certain elements persist across her fiction. Whether writing fantasy or science fiction, Hobb's stories are almost always about human beings living ordinary lives touched with magic. She never bogs down her tales with ornate fantasy language or SF technobabble. Her characters are always people that you might know, with normal worries, who sense an echo of magic in the universe.

These short stories present a much broader range of the author's voice than you could get from any one book. It's worth reading for that alone. Even better, because of her accessible writing style, anyone can jump into these stories with no background knowledge, making this an excellent introduction for a new reader.

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