Heather's Reviews > Waters Luminous and Deep

Waters Luminous and Deep by Meredith Ann Pierce
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Apr 14, 09

bookshelves: fantasy, short-stories, young-adult
Read from April 06 to 14, 2009

There were two stories I loved in this anthology and six that ranged from "ugh" to "eh." The author penned some of them when she was still in her teens. Although her age as a writer shows, what she was capable of at a young age impressed me (one of the stories I really enjoyed, Rafiddilee, was written when she was fourteen and never much revised).

These are all fantasy stories in some way related to water. Here are some that stood out to me in one way or another:

The Fall of Ys didn't really do anything for me. Maybe it's because I don't know the original legend off of which it was based, but it struck me as a very anti-man story (girl wants to go live with celibate priestesses across the sea rather than marry, which her father tries to prevent her from doing. Father is portrayed as a horrid woman-hater). After reading this story, I was cringing at the prospect of the rest of the book being more of the same. Mercifully, it wasn't.

Icerose seemed to me like a cheap knockoff of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe combined with The Snow Queen. Two children seek the Ice Witch in order to defeat her and revive the frozen ice rose, bringing summer to the land again.

Rafiddilee is a fantastic story. If the whole book had been like this, I would have given it at least four stars. An entertaining, mute, illiterate dwarf man named Rafiddilee becomes a queen's fool, and in the end the queen learns a lesson of the heart from him. Contains well-rounded characters and the only main male character in the whole book who isn't either a buffoon or a handsome, perfect hero. Two thumbs up.

The Frogskin Slippers was my other favorite story in the book. A delightful and original fairy tale that combines elements of The Frog Prince with The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The baron has died, and his daughter, Rose is the victim of a crazed, gambling mother (not a "step" in sight) who makes her work her fingers to the bone cleaning the castle. She saves a frog from her mother's cat, and discovers that he is actually Prince Rane (begin the swooning), a prince in an enchanted forest kingdom. Rane gives her the frogskin slippers (note: made of shed frogskin), enabling her to dance with him in his kingdom every night. They fall in love and he proposes to her, but if she doesn't respond by May Eve, he will not be able to come back for another year. And her mother has other nuptial plans for her.

All in all, a good collection of stories and a fun read, if a bit obvious that the author hasn't had great experiences with men and if she had, wouldn't want anything less than a prince on a white horse.
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