Emily Moore's Reviews > Tangle Girls

Tangle Girls by Nicole Kimberling
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Aug 19, 11

bookshelves: lesbian, print, fantasy, science-fiction, tdb-reviews, rainbow-reviews
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3.5 stars

This anthology is made up of six stories: three are fantasy and three are science fiction. In each there is a female character on an adventure of some kind, and there is another woman who has caught her eye. Each story is unique and explores a genre that doesn't often offer strong lesbian heroines.

In "Raccoon Skin" by J.D. Everyhope, Sophia must help her girlfriend, who has the ability to transform into a golden eagle, by entering the fantasy world Beyond wearing only a raccoon's skin in order to rescue Caterina's family. This story was a bit too short and needed more development of the fantasy world and the characters. I had trouble connecting with the characters, especially Sophia who seemed to simply accept all of the fantastical things that happen around her with a bit too much ease. This is an interesting concept that could be quite enjoyable with a bit more of the story spent creating a cohesive fantasy setting.

"Amazons" by Jesse Sandoval is the story of a woman who is wiling to go to any length to protect her love for Maria, and she is determined to have Maria for her very own. This is a very short tale that is filled with vivid imagery and is a story that should be read more than once. In just a few pages, the narrator is able to convey a wealth of emotions toward Maria making for quite an interesting read.

In "The Conclave" by Trent Roman, Tanya is dating Erin, a several millennia old fairy, and one night when their relationship isn't doing so well, Erin decides to take Tanya to the greatest party of her world: the Conclave. This is a quirky story filled with humor from beginning to end; Oberon and Titania even make an appearance, which will be a treat for anyone who knows their Shakespeare. Both women are well drawn; Tanya is a mere mortal who is tired of trying to keep up with her supernatural girlfriend and Erin sees herself as a rebel by dating a mere mortal. The fairy world and its inhabitants were detailed and well developed and there was a thread of superiority through everyone. All reactions from Tanya were quite realistic, even given the fact that she is in a fantasy world, and it is easy to identify with her character making for a fun read.

"Under Suspicion" by Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon takes us to the 25th century where Ensign Lily Branoch is in charge of a cargo-hold on the medium-attack cruiser Mastodon and encounters Marine lieutenant Daniella Cruz-Ortega. Lily can't take her eyes off Danielle from the moment she first sees the woman, but when there is a possible smuggling scheme afoot and Lily begins to investigate, she is shocked to discover that Daniella may be a part of it. This is the first sci-fi story in the anthology and it is wonderfully written with a fast pace and great characters. There is quite a bit of witty banter between the women and the story drives quickly to the end. There is a lot of detail provided to flesh out the futuristic world but it is never overwhelming or a burden. Overall this is a story of intense attraction with a bit of mystery mixed in making for a great read!

In "Cupcake" by Erin MacKay, Stasya is hired to assassinate Mitsuko Jennings-Villega, whose husband finds himself in serious financial trouble. Stasya infiltrates High Street, the upper crust of society, to get close to Mitsuko and ends up having to change her plans quite a bit. By far the best story of this anthology, this is also the longest. It is a sci-fi story but never does the setting become problematic, and readers are dropped into the middle of the world that is well developed and clearly drawn. Both main characters, especially Stasya, are engagingly complex. It was easy to quickly become immersed in the world and characters in this exceptional story. Although it was clear from the beginning what direction the story would take, it didn't lessen my enjoyment one bit. MacKay has penned an exceptional story that is not to be missed.

"Dead and the President" by Tenea D. Johnson is the story of Dead, a black woman in a futuristic United states who is an "Antibody" and has the ability to "phase" in and out of other people. She uses this ability to control things happening around her, starting with helping local kids get food and ending in the mind of the President. This story is a bit difficult to follow as there is a wealth of detail about both the world Dead lives in and the people like her but it is disjointed and presented in scattered bits and pieces that made it hard to form a clear picture. The idea behind the story is intriguing ~ people have been genetically altered to make reparations for slavery but are now being held prisoner in a fenced in area known as the Basin. The story tried to focus on a bit too much and it was difficult to connect with the character of Dead and as a result this story fell a bit flat.

Tangle Girls is a good anthology with a selection of fantasy and science fiction stories. My enjoyment of the stories ranged a bit, making it quite hard to give a rating. If rating the stories individually, "Cupcake" would have received 5 stars, with "Under Suspicion" following closely with 4.5 stars. These two stories alone make this anthology worth a read, and the others are interesting as well. If you are a fan of science fiction and fantasy, definitely check out this collection!
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