Traditional poems are remembered because they speak to every generation that hears them. Will they continue to resonate with us in the twenty-first century?
As soon as I read the blurb, I couldn’t wait to find out how Ms. Gloag’s interpretation of each line could be reimagined in a fresh way. It’s uncommon for so many different genres to be represented in the same collection, and I was curious to see how and when they’d pop up together.
In “Three for a Girl,” a teenager gets into a fight with her boyfriend and decides to take a long walk to cool off before going home. What happens next caught me by surprise due to the attention-grabbing opening scene as well as how smoothly everything was tied together in the end. This is a good example of how to straddle the thin line between genres without compromising a quickly-paced plot.
“Five for Silver” follows two sisters around as they discuss the booming jewelry business that is bringing a lot of success to one of them. Like several other stories in this collection, this one had a great premise but never quite delivered enough details about what was happening in order for me to get into it. There were a few times when these tales had too many characters or never quite fully introduced them to the reader, and this made me feel a little lost in certain sections.
By far my favorite part of this anthology was “Eleven for Health.” The narrator is a woman who was married to the love of her life for decades. Their relationship has weathered far more than its fair share of bumps in the road. As she prepares for a monumental shift in her life she brushes up against funny, painful, and poignant memories that she hasn’t confronted in years. Strong character development and a plot that assumes the reader is intelligent enough to make certain deductions on his or her own made me wish for a sequel. I don’t know if the author has any plans to write one, but I’d love to revisit these characters!
The Magpie Chronicles dabbles with so many different themes that I’d recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in any of them. Some books benefit from shaking up the reader’s expectations of what will happen next. This is one of them.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.