Science fiction and fantasy
by Lynn Flewelling
It's all based on characters from the Nightrunner series, particularly Alec and Seregil. Misfit deals with Seregil's early days of exile, including his first meeting with the wizard Nysander and Seregil's life at court. This story very quickly turns to erotica, which sets the tone for the whole collection. It's explicit, but unfortunately there isn't much in the way of suspense to ramp up the tension in this tale.
The Wild relates the story of Alec's family, from how his father Amasa met his mother to how Amasa protects his very young son from those who would hunt him down. Again there's a lot of sex, but there's also more action in this story than in the first one.
By The River documents Seregil's first meeting with Micum Cavish. It features a nervous and under-confident Seregil, a young man who is preoccupied with his failings. This is quite a sweet vignette. On the other hand The Bond is the lusty and explicit conclusion to Stalking Darkness that we didn't get to read the first time around.
These stories are like the deleted scenes from a movie. They're pieces that were either too incidental or too rude to put in the original books. The collection wouldn't work as stand-alone stories. You need to be immersed in the lore of the Nightrunner world to make sense of what goes on, especially when it comes to the relationship between Aurenfaie and humans.
However I don't think Glimpses works particularly well even for existing fans, because the stories are so short. There's no scope to develop the long, immersive narrative arcs that were one of the main attractions of the series. And the fact that some of these stories take place between or before events in the Nightrunner books tends to drain away a lot of the tension. Either we know how things turn out in the end for certain characters, or we don't have much chance to get to know new characters and to care about them. This explicit collection features some touching scenes and beautiful images, but it's flawed because it's far too brief.
28th September 2010
Review © Ros Jackson
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