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Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,641 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Firebirds is more than simply an anthology -- it is a celebration of wonderful writing. It gathers together sixteen original stories by some of today's finest writers of fantasy and science fiction. Together, they have won virtually every major prize -- from the National Book Award to the World Fantasy Award to the Newbery Medal -- and have made best-seller lists worldwide ...more
Paperback, 422 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Firebird (first published September 29th 2003)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  3,641 ratings  ·  176 reviews

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Borrowed this book out of curiosity about Cotillion, Delia Sherman's retelling of Tam Lin set in our times, but found out most of the other stories are good as well. ...more
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
(DISCLAIMER): I know that in the past I have fervently asserted my hatred of short stories . . . I’m sorry! I usually do REALLY dislike short stories, but this time is different – they are “Fantasy” short stories – delicious!
(5 stars) "Cotillion" by Delia Sherman: I really liked this one. It was a retelling of the story of Tam Lin. Celia is attending her debutante ball, in 1969, when she meets an intriguing young man by the name of Valentine. But he is much more than he appears. And Celia might
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
A collection of powerful, moving short stories by lots of great authors. Here's a list of the stories:

Cotillion - Celia meets the most wonderful guy at her debutante party. Trouble is, he has a dark secret only Celia can save him from. Very vivid imagery.

The Baby in the Night Deposit Box - Penny was left at the bank as a baby. She lives at the bank and doesn't go anywhere else. Can she save her town and real parents from an evil sorceress? I liked this one, especially the ending; it was short an
Dec 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
As with all short story anthologies, it's a little hit or miss. Some of the stories are amazing, some are ho hum. I particularly liked The Baby in the Night Deposit Box, by Megan Whalen Turner. Also good: Max Mondrosch, by the inimitable Lloyd Alexander, and Garth Nix's disturbing yet wonderful Hope Chest. ...more
Sherwood Smith
Jun 06, 2009 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books
I have a story in this anthology called "Beauty" which is a sequel to Crown Duel. ...more
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, anthologies
I loved these stories. I don't read many short stories, but have been asked to contribute to an anthology. These are like small jewels, each complete and perfect in itself. ...more
May 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm still looking for my Sgt. Pepper's of Young Adult short story collections. I need one that's hit after hit after hit. ... Does that book exist?

This was the closest I've come to what I'm looking for, but it's still not the book. Some stories had themes I wouldn't feel comfortable with having my 7th graders read, and a couple other stories just dragged. I about ditched the book half way through "Little Dot" - a story about a cat who could talk to a wizard and had no point whatsoever. (Maybe I'
Megan Whalen Turner's "The Baby in the Night Deposit Box" stole the show for me, here, and reminded me that I really ought to seek out more of her short fiction. Other favorites included Lloyd Alexander's "Max Mondrosch" (although with its existential despair about the working world, it feels a little out of place in young adult collection that otherwise verges on inspirational reading), Sherwood Smith's "Beauty," and Diana Wynne Jones's "Little Dot" (which plot-wise is a sort of unfocused, ramb ...more
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bought a copy so I could reread. Have done so, and enjoyed just as much as expected/ hoped. Sad, now, though, as I must part with the book. Highly recommended, and certainly not just to teens.

More fairy tale than sword&sorcery. More beauty, romance (in both senses of the word), literary value. Evocative, provocative, poetic, resonant, oh yeah. Even a bit of humor, both happy and dark. This is a book I would have read a hundred times when I was in my teens and over the next decades.

Now, well, I
The Scarlet Pervygirl
May 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If for whatever reason you want to do the exact reverse of the thing that patriarchy does all the time and introduce yourself to a particular genre (fantasy literature, in this case, but it works with, oh, art and history and politics and sex and love as well) while pretending that it is exclusively the domain of women, this book will provide you with everything you need for getting as rich and full an experience as you would get doing it any other way.
Jenn, Reader of Things

Since this is an anthology (that's smart-person talk for a book of stories/poems/stuff) I've decided to go through and write little mini-reviews for each story as I read it. Here goes nuthin'.

Cotillion by Delia Sherman

1.5 stars

This story was a remake of the legend of Tam Lin( for more info on that). It read like the first chapter of a novel, which I really dislike in a short story. I didn't enjoy the weak characterization either. It was also rather boring
Cotillion - While I'm not completely familiar with the story of Tam Lin, it was refreshing to see a modern day version of it that kept to the basic outline of the original. I love tales of faerie and romance, but what I really liked about this tale was that the heroine didn't immediately fall in love with the man she saved. Even if it is 1969, she was very grounded in reality. Sometimes stories of love at first sight with no mind about consequences irk me.

The Baby in the Night Deposit Box - Ther
La Coccinelle
I've had this hardcover sitting on my shelf for... well, I think I bought it shortly after it came out, so it's been over at decade, at least. I don't even know if I read any of the stories at that time. I figured I should probably get around to doing that!

Here are my thoughts on the individual stories:

"Cotillion" by Delia Sherman

This is a variation on the "Tam Lin" story, in which a girl named Janet has to save a young man from being a fairy sacrifice. I didn't love it, but part of that was bec
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm going to be honest, most of these stories are simply 'okay'. There are not very many that stood out to me, and there weren't many that we painfully awful either. In fact, I don't think any of these were so bad that I stopped reading it. Well, maybe one or two of them.

My favorites were Little Dot, Beauty, Flotsam, Baby in the Deposit Box, and Mariposa.
My least favorites were Black Fox and Hope Chest.

The other ones were decent at best, some were more mediocre than others and some I just don't
The Baby in the Night Deposite Box by Nancy Whalen Turner
This is a story about baby Penny, who one night is dropped into a bank's night deposite box. When the bank manager/owner comes into work the next morning he finds the baby in with the rest of the deposites and decided that it is the banks responsibility to raise her. In this short story we watch as Penny grows from a young baby to a young adult. It didn't have much fantasy in it until the very end. For me it ended right when it was getting
Andrea Talarico
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Andrea Talarico
Short Stories

First, I didn’t realize that Firebirds was not just the name of the anthology, but a whole publishing imprint dedicated to Young Adult Science Fiction, which is really cool. Anyway, since it’s impossible to review all the varied stories in Firebirds, An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction, I will highlight some of my favorite moments: “The Black Fox,” by Emma Bull and Charles Vess, starts with a traditional ballad, written out in stanza form, and then mo
Overall a far more enjoyable collection of stories than I anticipated. Ironically, one of my least favorites was the sole story I sought this anthology out to read in the first place (Cotillion, a rather indulgent, wish-fulfillment retelling of Tam Lin).

There were several good stories, but a few that stood out to me include:

Beauty by Sherwood Smith
Medusa by Michael Cadnum
Byndley by Patricia A. McKillip
Hope Chest by Garth Nix
An excellent collection of YA fantasy and science fiction short stories by a lot of great authors, including Lloyd Alexander, Kara Dalkey, Sherwood Smith, and Emma Bull. I particularly liked Garth Nix's "Hope Chest", a disturbing story about a girl who was left at a small town's train station as a baby, with only a hope chest; eventually she must use the contents of the chest to save her adopted family and the town from a would-be evil dictator. Diana Wynne Jones's contribution, "Little Dot", wa ...more
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya, sci-fi
A really fabulous collection of YA scifi and fantasy short stories.
I checked this out of the library for the Diana Wynne Jones story in it, but read the whole anthology. I'm not giving a star rating to each story, but I did keep a note of whether I felt positively or negatively toward each story when finished.

1. Cotillion by Delia Sherman + (was nice to start the anthology with a Tam Lin story, as Tam Lin is one of my favourite tales of all time.)
2. The Baby in the Night Deposit Box by Megan Whalen Turner +
3. Beauty by Sherwood Smith +
4. Mariposa by Nancy Spr
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the fantastic
Recommended to Alan by: Olivia
My daughter has read this book twice, and even asked for a copy of her own last Christmas—so when she said I should read it too, I took that recommendation seriously. And she was right—Firebirds is, more than a decade after its release, a solid anthology of original short fantasy. The emphasis on "original" is important—though most of the authors were already well-known names even at the time, none of these stories had appeared elsewhere prior to being in these pages. I myself had not read any o ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA and fantasy lovers, cat lovers
"Cotillion" by Delia Sherman
"The Baby in the Night Deposit Box" by Megan Whalen Turner
"Beauty" by Sherwood Smith
"Mariposa" by Nancy Springer
"Max Mondrosch" by Lloyd Alexander
"The Fall of Ys" by Meredith Ann Pierce
"Medusa" by Michael Cadnum
"The Black Fox" by Emma Bull (adaptation) and Charles Vess (illustration)
"Byndley" by Patricia A. McKillip
"The Lady of the Ice Garden" by Kara Dalkey
"Hope Chest" by Garth Nix
"Chasing the Wind" by Elizabeth E. Wein
"Little Dot" by Diana Wynne Jones
"Remember Me" b
In this kind of anthology, I tend to gravitate to the stories with the lightest touch. For better or for worse, this often means I like the funniest ones. So, I liked Diana Wynne Jones's "Little Dot," although it is about a cat and I understand might read to some people as kind of twee - for me, it was clever and an interesting update/twist on Puss 'n' Boots.

I also enjoyed two stories about mysteriously orphaned girls who grow up: the sweet, funny, and clever "The Baby in the Night Deposit Box"
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 2012-rev
This is one of the better anthologies I've read. All anthologies are something of a mixed bag. The reader's taste very seldom meshes exactly with the editor's, or the editor has had to make some compromises along the way. Firebirds is substantially above average.

The book is helped, of course, by having some very big names in SFF - Lloyd Alexander, Patricia A. McKillip, Garth Nix, to name a few. Aside from her first couple of books, I've never read anything by McKillip that wasn't terrific, and t
Firebirds is, as the full title indicates, an anthology. Meaning, it is not a novel, but a book with many short stories.
There are 16 short stories, well, actually it is more like 15 short stories and a short comic. Each one is by a different author.
Despite the title, none of the stories have anything to do with firebirds. The title comes from the Firebird imprint. This book was made to celebrate the creation of the Firebird imprint.
There are also the books "Firebirds Rising" and "Firebirds Soari
May 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Like most short fiction collections there are stories in Firebirds that are stronger than others and some that are weaker. Overall it's a rather good anthology. However, I am rather spoiled for fantastic short-fiction books (Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors & Fragile Things, the Fairy Reel and Coyote Road collections edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling) so Firebirds in this circumstance does not measure up to the extremely strong compilations I've read before. It may be due simply to the lack ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Like most anthologies, this book collects some great stories and some not-so-great stories. It features names I know and adore (Lloyd Alexander, Patricia McKillip, Megan Whalen Turner) and names I'd never heard before. While most of the stories stand alone, a couple are connected to longer works. Sherwood Smith's story is a sequel to her Crown Duel books, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman's story is said to be from "a longer work" which as far as I've been able to determine has yet to be published. The va ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories from authors with books published by Firebird, a YA fantasy imprint. YA fantasy spans a wide range of reader maturity, and that range is evident in this collection. Nancy Springer's sugar-coated, condescendingly stupid "Mariposa" (which I hated, if you can't tell) is apparently directed at five-year-olds, while Garth Nix's awesome, bloody "Hope Chest" wouldn't be out of place in an adult horror collection. With the obvious exception of the Springer story, most of th ...more
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
My favorite stories in this anthology were "Little Dot" by Diana Wynn Jones-- a tale told from the perspective of a cat-- and "The Baby in the Night Deposit Box" by Megan Walen Turner. I also liked the Garth Nix story a lot. There are several re-tellings of fairy tales. Nancy Farmer's tale about a changeling/girl with a disability made me very uncomfortable. There is one story in this collection that does not seem to be genre at all: "Chasing the Wind" by Elizabeth E. Wein, a story about flying ...more
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED YA Short Story - Western, teen gunslinger girl 6 44 May 11, 2013 11:51AM  

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Sharyn November ( is senior editor for Viking Children's Books and editorial director of Firebird Books. She is a two-time World Fantasy Award Finalist (Professional category), and Firebirds Rising was a World Fantasy Award Finalist for Best Anthology. ...more

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