Tim Pratt’s second short story collection, Hart & Boot & Other Stories, features 13 stories that tackle various concepts and genres. While most of the stories still retain that mythology-inspired influence that is undeniably Pratt, they tend to have more closure compared to the stories in the previous collection. They’re nonetheless quick and easy reads, however, and anyone can get immersed in Pratt’s writing style.
Somehow, Tim Pratt manages to write stories called “Romanticore” and “Lachrymose and the Golden Egg” yet end up with a serious, compelling story that doesn’t make the title sound ludicrous. My favorite story in the collection, hands down, is the aforementioned “Romanticore.” The protagonist has a unique — if sometimes unsympathetic — voice, the mix of reality with fantasy is impressive, and most importantly, the three central characters are faithful to how they are portrayed and this gives the story a satisfying end.
“Living with the Harpy” is a close runner-up as it works on a metaphorical as well as a literal level and character development is the key to the effectiveness of this story. “Terrible Ones” has a fate-defying vibe to it and it defies the conventions of the mythology from which Pratt drew it from.
Overall, this is an interesting collection but I honestly recommend Little Gods as the definitive book of short stories by Tim Pratt. Nonetheless, Hart & Boot & Other Stories, easily appeals because Pratt has an easy-going and compelling voice.
FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.