Turning Point (Steph Swainston)

Turning Point is a collection of short stories set in the Fourlands, written by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 15.7.2018

Turning Point collects four short stories set in the Fourlands told from different perspectives and about different people, plus there are two maps and a family tree to provide more details about the Fourlands. It’s a very nice collection for fans of the Fourlands.

The book cover with the letters of Turning Point stretched out over the entire page in front of a red background with black smoke. The Ns are facing the wrong way.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

Velocity

Lightning is home from the war, for a while at least, and he falls right back into the strained relationship dynamics with his brothers, above all Gyr, famed chariot racer who doesn’t take Lightning seriously at all.

Velocity is set at the very beginning of the Emperor’s council and gives us a glimpse of Lightning before he actually became the Lightning we’ve come to know throughout the series. I still don’t particularly like him as a person, but the story gives us new insights into him as a character. And compared to Gyr, Lightning is the greatest guy ever. What I enjoyed most about the story were Martyn and the newness of the Immortals.

The Bliss of Solitude

Simoon wakes up in the hospital and is disoriented. Fortunately Cricket is there to help him.

I like Simoon and I enjoyed getting back into his head. This time, there was a greater emphasis of his linguistic idiosnycracies which made his portrayal seem less at risk of sliding into clichés. Just as his attempts to navigate his social relationships. Since autistic people are often portrayed as kind of machines who don’t want or need anybody (which is ridiculously untrue), seeing him work so hard to have friends was great. Next to this, the plot of the story becomes very secondary.

The Wheel of Fortune

Jant works as an apothecary in Hacilith, earning some money by selling self-made scollopendium on the side. One of his regulary buyers is Felicita, fallen aristocrat and a power to consider in town.

Jant’s youth was hard, making The Wheel of Fortune hard to take at times. Most of the things that happen here are not new to readers of the Fourlands, at least the gist of it. But it was nice to get them spelled out and some gaps closed. I wasn’t particularly happy with Felicita or rather how they are written. They are the only trans person in the series so far and who is portrayed as both a deviant and a predator, with weird handling of their pronouns (I’m still not sure which pronouns would be right for them, thus the neutral they). Apart from that, I enjoyed it.

Simoon’s Tales of the Immortals Vol. 55

Simoon collects stories about the Immortals as a historian for them all. Here he documented three talks he had with Mist, Tornado and Comet.

The talks are collected in dialogue form which isn’t that easy to read, but it lent itself perfectly for the build-up of the first meeting between Simoon and Jant. And that meeting was absolutely worth the build-up: They immediately lock horns in the wonderfully nerdy way of discussing how (hi)stories works (I’m with Jant on this one). I also enjoyed Lightning and Tornado’s bickerings, making it a very fun read and a nice closing point for the collection.

Summarizing: A very nice addition to the Fourlands.

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