The HUNTRESS Short Stories
Michelle O'Leary

 


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DLSIJ Press, 2004
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood
 
Fans of THE HUNTRESS can now get their fix with new stories from the same universe. Seth Terrick, officially equipped with his new name and cover identity of Baynard Stone, is firmly partnered with Mea Brin, Hunter and Huntress together, and little Regan, who intends to be a hunter like her adoptive parents. These four stories follow stages in their development as a family, so I am reviewing them in chronological order.
 
A Stoneís Throw
 
What would Bay Stone be willing to go through, to keep Mea as his partner? Quite a lot. A series of vignettes shows their family learning to give and accept support, including that of their android crew, while Bay undergoes an ordeal he considers necessary. The emphasis is on love, not the horrendous pain.
 
A Stoneís Throw reads as though it were written just shortly after THE HUNTRESS, before the author got her love of adjectives under control. Ignore the extra adjectives and accompany Mea, Bay and Regan into the next stage of their lives.
 
A Far Cry
 
Bay is in withdrawal. He is only fighting one man to three, and hunters arenít allowed to kill unless necessary. Maybe two hunters against seventeen slavers will give him a little more satisfaction.
 
Bay and Mea have had sexy encounters in some unusual places, but Ė while grappling up a wall? A Far Cry is full of exciting action of both kinds, hunter and heated, while Regan champs at her restraints wanting to get into the hunter action.
 
Heart Of Stone
 
Never the most placid couple, Mea and Bay have found the darnest thing to fight about this time. When Bay caved in to their relationship, he caved all the way! Now how can Mea keep his enthusiasm from endangering their lives?
 
While Mea and Bayís fights are wrecking the furniture, Regan and Warren are providing comedy on the side. Heart of Stone is the funniest story of this quartet.
 
Leave No Stone Unturned
 
Regan finally gets up the nerve to ask Bay how he became Seth Terrick, worst of the worst among convicts. Seth/Bayís memories donít spare him: a jumped-up tunnel-rat kid volunteering to kill the greatest rival of pack leader Mag; the training that made him Magís most fearsome lieutenant; his shocking entry into a wider world, the world above ground.
 
Leave No Stone Unturned is the most powerful of these four stories, and in my opinion the best. A lot of horror is compacted into these few pages, but framed within Reganís love so that Stone doesnít have to make himself unfeeling again in order to live with it. By the time she wrote this story, OíLearyís skills had reached the point where she says as much as possible as concisely as possible, and moves the reader to the emotions she wants us to feel.
 
 
In my opinion, the talented Michelle OíLeary is essentially a novelist, not a short story writer. Whenever I read her short stories, I want more: more development, more background, more events, more room to grow. Just the kinds of things she would give us if she set out to write a novel. These Hunter short stories are meant for Hunter fans, since they assume that we already know Mea, Bay, Regan, Warren, and Ema. They give us important developments in their lives, leading up to the next Hunter novel. Reganís story HUNTERíS LEGACY will most likely have to wait a while, since OíLeary just published LAST CHANCE, the first of a separate science fiction romance trilogy.
 
The Huntress Short Stories are sold separately at the website of DLSIJ Press: http://www.dlsijpress.com/oleary/
 
February 2005 Review 

 

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