Vasini, founded and rebuilt from the ashes left by the fall of the deities. A city-state divided by politics, class, philosophies and by the Sini river.
As the tides turn and the riverbed is exposed, mudlarks search the silt for valuables that have been washed into the Sini. In The Mudlark’s Tale, one mudlark’s find may be worth far more than he first thought, but it comes with consequences.
In the depths of winter the Sini river freezes, and the comte calls the Winter Fayre upon its ice. In The Winter Fayre, five citizens of Vasini find their lives intersecting and changing as they enjoy the festivities. A sergeant of the Palace Regiment watches for trouble amongst visitors to the Fayre. A pickpocket plies her trade. A palace bureaucrat looks to make political connections. A banker hunts for a mysterious young girl. A follower of a philosophical path attempts to make contact with a fellow adherent who may well be dead.
Tales From Vasini is a companion series of short stories and novellas to The Vasini Chronicles novel series. It tells stories of the wider world of Vasini and its environs. A Divided River contains two stories: The Mudlark’s Tale (a short story); and The Winter Fayre (a novella).
Christian Ellingsen grew up first near treacle mines in Hampshire and then in the depths of the South Wales valleys.
He attended the University of Wales, Lampeter, and Cardiff University, graduating with a BA in History & English and a MA in Creative Writing. After several jobs in community regeneration in one of the most deprived areas in Wales, he worked for the BBC, first on the Switchover Help Scheme and then in Radio Drama.
He lives with his wife and daughter a stone’s throw north of London.
It's not badly written, and there are hints of interesting politics in the world-building, but I think this collection might make sense if you've read the books it (indirectly) relates to. As a point of entry into Vasini, I found it disjointed and confusing, with no reason to care about the characters and my grasp on the setting more informed by the historical cultures it riffed off rather than the text itself. With little resolution at the end, it left me irritated rather than dying to know more.
For those who have read the books, this may be an intriguing glimpse into the broader context. I hope.
A Divided River contains a short story (The Mudlarks Tale) and a novella (The Winter Fayre) set in the city of Vasini; the two are companions to Ellingsen's series The Vasini Chronicles but do not contain the main characters from the series.
The Mudlarks Tale is the story of Ned and his discovery of a mysterious chain.
The Winter Fayre features a kaleidoscope of characters through a day in Vasini - the first day of the Winter Fayre. Intrigue ensues as their stories brush past each other on the ice.
These stories are well paced and compelling; I'm eager to learn more about what drives this city and its occupants! They hint at some great world-building, with characters I've been left feeling concerned for.
Ellingsen's writing is concentrated and to the point; the prose isn't overly descriptive yet he manages to convey effectively the city and its inhabitants. The stories are evocative in their simplicity; Ned's desperation, and the excitement of the fayre, are tangible.
I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. I have to say I enjoyed it. It was a lovely little book about a few people who live in this world. At times I did get a bit confused at all the different ranks and classes but I just put that down to me not reading the original and now I've read this short novella, I will definitely be reading Ellingsen's other books 😋
This is a collection of a short story and a novella, set in a world created by the author. It was hard to decide upon a star rating as my opinions of the two works were different.
Firstly, the short story: A definite four star. A wonderful moral tale that is just a little bit creepy and, to be honest, I could have read more. I could well imagine using this story with an English class, as Ellingson is great at the 'show don't tell' concept. This story reminded me a great deal of Scott Lynch's 'The Lies of Locke Lamora,' a novel which I greatly enjoyed.
Secondly, the novella. Only two stars for this one I'm afraid. As other reviewers have said, it was slightly confusing to keep all the characters straight in this fantasy world and a piece of writing this short. I have not read the first novel set in this world, so I am inclined to think that if I had more background knowledge then I would have followed the story better.
Overall, I would be interested to revisit Elligson's world in more depth and wish to thank both him and Goodreads for the review copy.
Let me preface by saying I won this book in a giveaway which I signed up for not knowing this part of a larger universe. That being said, I really enjoyed the stories, they were really well written and thought out. I believe I would have ranked this higher had I read the original universe stories. As it is, plan to now do so and maybe I will make an addendum to this post when I do. I also believe that if I was to reread them, understanding the basics of the world building as I do now, I would understand it better. To anyone familiar with the universe that Ellingsen has built, I would highly recommend. A Divided RiverChristian Ellingsen
The world building is hollow. The characters starkly under developed. The writing is grammatically fine, but the story is like stepping into one moment of time in an unfamiliar place and experiencing a drama unfolding, but one in which there are apparent factions with no revelations about alliances or allegiance, nor the root causes.
The only thing the reader knows for sure is that it is a world of extreme poverty and violence, and that certain elites can escape the poverty and violence by keeping themselves separate from the masses. This world and the story, therefore, are neither unique nor interesting.
The short story, easy to read, page turner, waiting for more. The second one is to confusing, not that easy to follow, confusing enough to let you think: _"Should I continue to read, will I understand!?"