fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Charles de Lint Moonlight and VinesMoonlight and Vines by Charles de Lint

Moonlight and Vines is a well-written collection of stories, set in a modern city, intended to give the reader a sense of wonder, and make us believe that there is magic afoot, even in our most run-down urban slums.

Charles de Lint is wonderful at treading that line between fantasy and realism, where we wonder right along with the characters, “what is real?” That is his biggest talent; his biggest flaw is trying too hard to insert a moral into each of these stories. They all seem to be making a point. Sometimes this is annoying; sometimes the story is so good that I don’t mind at all. The moralizing tends to place an artificial distance between the reader and the story.

My favorite story in the anthology is “Birds.” It deals with two young women’s search for peace of mind, and the rituals they use to find it. De Lint has captured the very essence of magic and of personal ritual. In pagan literature I’ve read so many formulaic lists of “spell ingredients” I could puke; de Lint’s description of the women’s search for certain objects of personal value is right on the money.