Vlara's Song by Neil O'Dennell is a quaint little collection of medium-length short stories all set in the same, fictional world. The title story is about a druid priestess on her travels after the death of her lover, and there are many other interesting tales, including one about a troll who just happens to be a monk. Other works include the story of a soldier who loses his memory in the midst of battle, and the real story of what happens when a writer dies.
The first thing I noticed about this book was the format, and more specifically its strangeness. Unlike most anthologies, Vlara's Song lacks a table of contents. It's not technically necessary, but not having one irked me. The second unusual thing I noticed was that, for a collection of short stories, all the stories were very long. Especially the title story, which was actually divided into chapters. This isn't a good or bad thing, but it is quite different. As far as the writing goes, I found it to be average, and there were several parts where I felt I could have spiced it up. I do, however, admire the creativity of the last tale, The Realm of Author. The imaginative idea of an afterlife where authors go to live in and expand upon their own stories is truly interesting. Unfortunately, it still didn't pack much of a punch in the writing style department, so in the end, this book still earns a 7 out of 10.
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sykesville, Maryland United States