The Faery Reel is an indispensable tome for anyone who has a mania for faeries. Aside from the short stories in this anthology, the comprehensive introduction of Terri Windling on the fey and the illustrations by Charles Vess are worth the price of admission in themselves. Moreover, the last few pages feature a Further Reading section on the topic of faeries. The typography of the book is appropriate to the faery theme and makes the text quite readable. In other words, it’s a really pretty book.
But The Faery Reel isn’t just about exterior beauty, and I’d still buy the book if only for the story selections and the poetry. There are actually a lot of stories I liked in this anthology, and choosing a select few to talk about is quite difficult: “Catnyp” by Delia Sherman reconciles the seemingly anachronistic topics of libraries and faeries. “Tengu Mountain” by Gregory Frost is an adventurous Japanese tale that ends perfectly. “The Night Market” by Holly Black is a guilty pleasure, using Philippine myth yet incorporating horror in a way I didn’t expect. “Never Never” by Bruce Glassco is a new take on a very familiar icon while Jeffrey Ford‘s “The Annals of Eelin-Ok” is probably one of my top ten Ford stories.
I really love this anthology. Flipping through the contents, I’m thinking hey, I recall and love that story… and that one… and that one… and those weren’t even my favorites! The only thing that doesn’t appeal to me is the poetry, not because the poetry is bad but because I’m just the type that doesn’t really appreciate the medium. But despite that, The Faery Reel is an anthology to cherish. It’s a great resource on the fey and belongs on everyone’s bookshelf!
FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.