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Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits: Tales of Elemental Spirits (Tales of Elemental Spirits #2)

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,458 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
5 tales set from prehistoric to present, market to dragon academy.
1 First Flight - a boy and pet unexpectedly ride a dragon
2 Hellhound - stars a mysterious dog in a graveyard showdown
3 Fireworm - a young man must defend his clan from a creature
4 Salamander Man - a slave saves his village with a fiery spell
5 Phoenix - a girl's new friend is older than he appears
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 13th 2011 by Penguin (first published July 21st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 14, 2010 M— rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The short version is: I liked the McKinley stories best, and I'm afraid it shows-off my favoritism. I borrowed this book from the library and was so impatient to begin reading it that I only made it as far as the relative privacy of my parked car before opening it up and plunging in.

I started with the first McKinley story, of course.

Hellhound — a horsey tale; and fabulous. If McKinley has a single curse it is in writing works that make me long to know what happens after the pages stop. To which
This collection would get 5 stars and a permanent place on the favorites shelf just for the first story alone. PHOENIX, by Peter Dickinson, was one of the best short stories I've ever read. Roughly fifty pages long, and I laughed and smiled and finished up in happy tears and with goosebumps over my arms. The next story HELLHOUND, by Robin McKinley, also gave me goosebumps and was what I would call "classic McKinley." Just an all-around great collection, and the perfect companion to their other E ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another of the elemental series by two vastly different, yet conveniently married authors. It's hard to look at the together, so we'll look at them separately.

Dickinson is, as always, an exquisite writer whose language has a real poetry and whose stories always feel like spiderwebs - intricately spun and slighty insubstantial. The experience of reading them is a fascinating one and the distance that Dickinson somehow creates between reader and story always makes me feel like I'm peering through
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2010 Mei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
A collection of short stories based around the magical element of Fire. A companion novel to Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits.

I should start with the fact that I fell in love with Robin McKinley's writing when I was first given her Blue Sword novels in 7th grade. This compilation is no exception, though my problem with her short stories is that I never want them to end... I also enjoyed Peter Dickinson's stories, though I've never read a full novel written by him.
Here are my thoug
Jan 28, 2011 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yafantasy
I don't remember Water having such a marked contrast between the Peter Dickinson and Robin McKinley stories. In fact, I don't even remember noticing which stories belonged to which author. But in this book, I sure noticed. The first Dickinson story, "Phoenix," was wonderful. Very well told and absorbing. However, the next Dickinson story "Fireworm," bored me so much I skimmed. And, to be honest, I was so dispirited that after the first few snoozy paragraphs of "Salamander Man," I skipped straigh ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Eskana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
On the whole, this is a pretty okay collection of short stories. As they are from these two authors, they are all good quality stories and entertaining enough, but personally I don't usually enjoy short stories and while I found these good, I didn't especially enjoy them. They tend to wrap up very quickly and neatly, using elements that are not fully explained or introduced at the last minute (yes, I know that they're too short to develop fully, but still....) Anyway, it's really personal prefer ...more
Nov 13, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collects two stories by Robin McKinley and three by Peter Dickinson (Robin's are longer, so there is balance!). Dickinson's stories felt more polished to me; although McKinley is one of my very favorite authors, I feel her recent efforts exhibit overuse of parentheses/asides/etc. to the point of distracting me from the story.

A very enjoyable collection, nonetheless!

Be sure to read their previous Water collaboration.
Jan 02, 2011 RogueHireling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like all collections of short stories I liked some better than others.
But all the stories in this book were well written and enjoyable, heartwarming and fun.
There wasn't one that I disliked which is saying a lot.

The last story was by far my favorite. =)
This collection is really solid. All the stories were good to great and felt like whole stories. It’s hard to find short stories that are this good, especially fantasy.

Phoenix (Dickinson) – A story of immortality. It made me want to keep a baby phoenix in my fireplace a la the fire-demon in Howl’s Moving Castle. I did think the love story is a bit creepy – like in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the lovers age in opposite directions. Isn’t it a bit gross that your husband becomes a child an
May 30, 2010 Lady rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Admittedly, I only planned on reading the Robin McKinley stories. I did read Phoenix and realized I don't love Peter Dickinson as much, so *then* only read her stories.

I don't know what to say except that it's, rather surprisingly, classic Robin McKinley and that's why I liked it. It's a little bit deprecating and a little bit complicated. I enjoyed the horses and the dogs even before the plot really got rolling. And I don't enjoy dogs, but I liked Flame. I was quickly immersed in the s
Aug 14, 2010 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually comment on books until I'm done reading them, but I want to capture my thoughts right now. At first I was disappointed that Robin McKinley had only two stories in this collection, while her husband, Peter Dickinson, had three. Then I realized that "First Flight," the concluding piece, is over 100 pages long--a novella, really! Dickinson's stories are good; he is a skillful, well-respected writer. McKinley's voice, however, is something special. La mia cantante, to paraphrase Aro. ...more
An interesting twist to a very famous fire elemental. I wasn't expecting most of the story to be told from Dave's point of view, but that made sense since he's the one getting younger. I'm still confused about how the ritual works. Does Welly get younger now? In any case, cool twist, a tad sad. Tastes and smells of pine and fireworks smoke, and shiny light. 4.5/5

It was cute, but I'm not quite sure how the hellhound was a hellhound, other than the creepy red eyes and ability to se
Nov 19, 2011 Bethany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
It is unfortunate that Peter Dickinson (the one who isn't Robin McKinley) contributed three of the book's five stories, because the disparity between his stories and McKinley's is very obvious. The contributions from the one who isn't Robin McKinley were disjointed, lacking in action or characterisation, and generally a waste of approximately half the book. Reading his pieces, particularly "Fireworm" felt like a real chore. Before I reached the halfway point of this anthology I was unsurprised t ...more
I really enjoy the occasional book of short stories. I've read several others Robin McKinley has written and I have to say I liked most of those better then this one. To be fair I will go through and give a quick rating of each story.

Phoenix - 3.5 I liked Dave a lot. The Phoenix was cool and the concept got my imagination going. I kind of felt like the ending was rushed though.

Hellhound - 4 robin McKinley writes horses and animals in general very well. She is good at giving them personality. Thi
Maureen E
by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

Previously reviewed: Water

This is going to get really confusing, because I also have Kristin Cashore's Fire out at the moment (just haven't gotten around to reading it). SIGH.

Overall, I thought this was a strong collection, maybe more so than Water. I always knew whose story I was reading, which isn't a bad thing--obviously both McKinley and Dickinson have distinct voices--especially since the overall focus of the collection is tight enough to give some sen
This is a companion booked to Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits- a book I loved to bits because it contains one of my favourite fantasy elements: mermaids. Fire isn't really my go-to fantasy element, but hey, I'm not one to turn down a new prospect.

My favourite story in this collection would be Hellhound, a story of a horse farm and the spooky graveyard just beyond. I felt far more connected to the characters in this story, and it had a clear cut beginning, middle and end- something I felt got a
Jen A.
Sep 11, 2011 Jen A. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
A book containing five short stories by two authors, McKinley & Dickinson. It is McKinley's stories that shine brighter here - "Phoenix" and "First Flight" being the two super star tales with good characters, a good plot and solid storytelling. "Hellhound" was... cute. Definitely nothing more than a short story there, whereas "Phoenix" was a perfect short story and "First Flight" could branch off into its own series.

Dickinson's two stories reminded me more of the kind of story-telling done b
Nov 19, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fantasy
My love affair with Robin McKinley's novels began a number of years ago, and continues through her latest publication, a collection of short stories by McKinley and her husband Peter Dickinson.

Have I mentioned that I'm definitely not in love with Peter Dickinson?

Fire contains five short stories - two of which are McKinley's. We shall ignore the three written by Dickenson in this review. Suffice it to say they are vastly inferior.

"Hellhound" is the story of a young woman who adopts a red-eyed
This is a fairly strong young adult fantasy collection. Even though none of the stories is perfect, each one is engagingly written and features a different creature of fire.

The first, by Peter Dickinson and about the phoenix, is marred by sudden shifts in perspective that feel too rough for the gentleness of the story; however, it features some of the most beautiful imagery of the collection and is one of the more unique premises.

The second, by Robin McKinley and about a hellhound, is very much
May 11, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five short stories dealing with creatures of fire written by Robin McKinley or Peter Dickinson.

Phoenix - Interesting story, but the telling seemed rough. I had a hard time flowing through it smoothly.

Hellhound - All of the "background" you have to pick up as the story goes along, but it would have been too long if it hadn't been that way. There is still some things I'd like to understand, but I doubt there will be any sequels.

Fireworm - Very strange story. I enjoyed it for it's unusual elemental
Apr 11, 2010 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't normally love short stories, but I make an exception for this book as well as the one that came first, Water. I love Robin McKinley, and have ever since my friend bribed me to read The Hero and the Crown in 8th grade. I've not read a complete novel by Peter Dickinson yet, but he is high on my very large to-read list. Reading this collection of short stories makes me want to move him higher up the list. The stories contained in this book are not really fairy tales, but several of them hav ...more
Jul 24, 2013 Hawkk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because, of course, it has Robin McKinley stories in it. And, true to form, I was not disappointed! I loved the slightly haunting tale of the Hellhound and was delighted by the story of the boy and his foogit. McKinley is fantastic at creating worlds and dropping you into them for a spell. This is amazing, but also frustrating because I find she rarely fully explores any of them. I am always left wanting to know more. Which, I suppose, is better than overwriting and ruining ...more
Loved "Phoenix" and "First Flight;" found the remaining stories subpar.

I loved the first and last tales in this collection of five stories by husband-wife authors. I didn't care at all for the middle three tales, and of those, my most disliked was " Hellhound ". Interestingly, of most of the reviews I scanned, "Hellhound" was a favorite for perhaps the majority of readers.

The first story of this collection was " Phoenix ", by Peter Dickinson. I liked the tone of the story, calm and steady and
Apr 11, 2014 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Robin McKinley...


She doesn't always make it easy to like her. I like her distinctive writing style--compound sentences and sentence fragments and long, parenthetical digressions and weird metaphors that don't really make a whole lot of sense included--BUT... sometimes she really overdoes it. There are stretches where every sentence is interrupted with a quantification or a side thought or SOMETHING and it gets exhausting trying to remember what the original thread was.

After whining ab
This was a collection of five stories--three by Peter Dickinson, two by Robin McKinley. I mainly like the McKinley stories, but she and Dickinson are working through the elements together (they've already done water) and I try to read the Dickinson stories, too, to be polite and all. Robin McKinley's two stories were "Hellhound" and "First Flight."

I liked this one because it was very homey, but just a little creepy so that reading it in a dark house at night was kind of fun and kind o
Jun 30, 2011 Trickey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely think this duo did a lot better on Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, but I also hope this means we'll see more elements in this series. I almost always prefer McKinley's contribution over Dickinson, but that is why I picked up these books in the first place. There are some good ones in here, but also, I'm not sure if the young adult audience is what they're going for. I marked it as such, but I definitely think there are older themes and pieces of the stories although they all feat ...more
Loved this collection. Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors, very dependable. Here we have stories that each feature a different embodiment of fire; the titles tell you what they are, except First Flight which features dragons. I especially liked Phoenix, Hellhound and First Flight.
Stories are: Phoenix by Peter Dickinson; Hellhound by Robin McKinley; Fireworm by Peter Dickinson; Salamander Man by Peter Dickinson; First Flight by Robin McKinley.
May 15, 2012 Sara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When will Robin McKinley stop whiling away her time on these side projects and go back to writing Damar stories? Or a sequel to "Sunshine"? Or finish the sequel to "Pegasus"?

This is the question I keep asking myself whenever I see that there’s a new YA novel or a short story compilation being released. I first read “The Hero and the Crown” many many years ago, followed by “The Blue Sword,” “Beauty,” “Deerskin” (imo, her very best work), “Sunshine” and all the others, even the one-shot YA novels.
Jesus Mendez
Oct 09, 2014 Jesus Mendez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fire by ROBIN McKINLEY PETER DICKINSON.Fire is a book of elemental spirits,the book was so interesting at first. When I was reading along I came along some words I didn't ,I search up the word and found the definition for them.The book had a lot of thrilling parts and nice characters in the story. Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson make great books I look forward to reading more of these type of books.
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Did anyone else think this book was a bit odd? 2 6 Apr 25, 2012 03:07AM  
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Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books
More about Robin McKinley...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of Elemental Spirits (3 books)
  • Water (Tales of Elemental Spirits, #1)
  • Earth and Air (Tales of Elemental Spirits #3)

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