Thursday, 5 June 2014

‘A Year and a Day in Old Theradane’ – Scott Lynch

Another story that can be found in the GRRM/Dozois ‘Rogues’ collection which I am loving so far (based on the stories I’ve dipped into).

I miss being able to sit down with a big, fat epic fantasy novel and get lost in it for hours at a time. Actually, no I don’t, not really. Reading a big fat epic fantasy novel usually means that I’m doing something horribly tedious, like a long commute, that I want to escape from and my life seems to be refreshingly free of things like that at the moment; that’s always a good thing and never to be sniffed at.

Having said all that though, I do miss the feeling of being able to get lost in that world, within the pages of a book, and have no idea where the time went when I surface. It’s a good job then that are short stories out there like ‘A Year and a Day in Old Theradane’. While it’s by no means a story that will grip you for hours (it’s only forty pages long…) there is more than enough depth to the background to have the reader enthralled by life in Old Theradane. I read this story on the way to work, this morning, and there were stations that I literally didn’t notice the train stop at as I was too busy scoping out Prosperity Street with Amarelle Parathis, and her gang of rogues, or drinking in ‘The Sign of the Fallen Fire’. What an amazing pub by the way (made from the skeleton of a fallen dragon), just the description of a ‘Rise and Fall of Empires’ makes me wish that I drank in establishments like this rather than… well, the ones that I drink in (my living room, in front of the TV) This kind of detail, more than ably supplied by Lynch, is only a part of what makes ‘A Year and a Day in Old Theradane’ such an enjoyable read but it’s an incredibly important part. Lynch eases you into the story so smoothly that before you know, you’re caught up in the plot itself.

I’m not going to lie, if I was Amarelle I’d have gone for the last option first. If I was Amarelle however, ‘A Year and a Day in Old Theradane’ would have been about five pages long and incredibly dull so… It’s a good job that things worked out the way they did really :o) Amarelle and her gang are complete and utter rogues (definitely a good fit for this collection) and there’s enough humour here (in both the gang and the story itself) to get you behind the characters and rooting for a successful conclusion. It’s a foregone conclusion but that’s beside the point. The fun lies in getting there and there is a lot of fun to be had, take my word for it.

If you hadn’t guessed already, I came away from ‘A Year and a Day in Old Theradane’ with a real urge to tell everyone just how good it is and that you should all read it. I was also really glad that I chose to read it instead of  

Neil Gaiman’s ‘How the Marquis Got His Coat Back’ (one for another time perhaps). I noticed that Lynch has (or is developing) a habit of leaving his short stories open-ended so he can write more if they prove popular. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Amarelle and her friends. GRRM and Gardner Dozois – Any chance of a ‘Rogues 2’?

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