*I received free copies of these stories in exchange for an honest review*
A Shadow In The Moonlight follows a nameless hunter who accidentally stumbles upon a wizard attempting a spell for invisibility. The spell, however, is intended for only one person and anyone who interferes becomes more shadow than man, unable to abide the sunlight and afraid to interact with people. There is no known cure for the man who becomes a shadow and so the hunter must live in exile.
We also meet Lavinia, an orphan who has always been neglected and left to endure her a life of loneliness. When she decides to run away the sounds of the forest scare her into running and she falls, sustaining many injuries. Our nameless hunter forces himself, despite his fears, to rescue the injured girl and help restore her to goo health.
This story was a very enjoyable and quick read. I found the idea of the miscast spell and man becoming shadow very intriguing and I could see it being a very interesting full length novel, given more thought and detail. It was definitely intriguing. And the wizard was a funny addition. Although he made very few appearances in the story, he was very entertaining. The hunter and Lavinia were also interesting. Sometimes short stories are hard to connect with because it feels like characters are thrown at you and you have no time to connect. I think Blum did a nice job with these characters and giving you ways to connect with them even without a lot of background or development.
Falling Leaves Don't Weep is the musings of an aging king as he contemplates his life and the lives of the falling leaves outside his window. This one is much shorter than the first, only a couple thousand words. Again, I felt that the information given allowed a connection to the king that I don't often see in such short works. Perhaps I just need to get more versed in a good short story. This one acts as an epilogue of sorts to the full length novel, or so I understand.
Blum wanted these to be prequel and epilogue, but to also stand alone. I have not personally read The Thirteenth Hour yet (although I intend to in the future), but found these stories very enjoyable. I believe that Blum hit his mark with these two. I will have to wait until after I read the novel to see how they add to that longer story, but I think they are enjoyable in their own right. As with any other work there were some typos here and there, but nothing that detracted from my overall enjoyment and the stories kept my attention.
Very fun and fast. A nice break from longer works that talk in circles. Direct and to the point.