- Remember World War II: Kids Who Survived Tell Their Stories
This collection of twelve previously published short stories and one novella offers readers the chance to revisit two favorite characters (the Abhorsen trilogy's Nicholas Sayre and Lirael, who appear in the novella) and take brief dips into some other worlds. From the piteous despair of children left to fend for themselves in a war-torn country in "Charlie Rabbit" to the gruesome urban twist on "Hansel and Gretel" (sucked in by magical video games, Hansel is to be harvested bit by bit for rich transplant-organ seekers) in "Hansel's Eyes," desperation and fear permeate Nix's work. "Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case," the novella that constitutes the bulk of the book, adds some humorous touches in the style of Wodehouse and Sayers (acknowledged in the author's prefatory comments), and a farcical choose-your-own-adventure piece, "Down to the Scum Quarter," and a spoof of modern fantasy novels, "My New Really Epic Fantasy Series," further lighten the mood. The bittersweet "Three Roses," in which a widower and a king both lay claim to roses planted to honor the dead, and the placid yet troubling "Endings," in which an ancient monster gratefully receives a death blow, finish the collection. Though the tales were first published in fantasy and science-fiction magazines over the span of a decade and more, Nix's consistency in creating piquant, memorable settings and hard-edged yet sympathetic characters is evident throughout. Fervent fans who have read all the stories gathered here will still want to peruse the extensive (and engaging) authorial notes relating to the collection as a whole and stories individually.