cover image Stonefather


Orson Scott Card, . . Subterranean, $35 (112pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-194-1

An overly predictable plot, a deficit of character development and a deus ex machina conclusion distract from the dreamy prose and intricate world-building of this fairy tale novella from Hugo-winner Card (Keeper of Dreams ). Runnel, a friendless peasant from a village so humble that money is a new concept, stumbles into a centuries-old feud when he travels to Mitherhome, the city of the wetwizards, seeking his fortune. He accepts a servant's position in the household of the sole stonemage permitted within the city walls, where his untapped magical talents and his fascination with his master's abilities are a predictably dangerous combination. Card's obvious familiarity with his world and its enthralling history, due to be expanded in the forthcoming Mithermages series, makes for a pleasant, if shallow, interlude. (Oct.)