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A Creature of Moonlight
Rebecca Hahn
Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories
Elizabeth Hand
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
Lois McMaster Bujold
Snow in May: Stories
Kseniya Melnik
Southern Fire - Juliet E. McKenna Although this is the first book in a series, it's apparently set in the same world (just a different part of it) as her previous series. Not sure how much background I lost for not having read any of the previous books - this is the first book by McKenna I've read.

It introduces a tribal, island-based culture where life is lived by portents and omens, but magic is despised and feared. When a neighboring tribe is decimated by mysterious, magic-wielding invaders from the south, the warlord Kheda fakes his own death and goes on a quest to the north, because it is rumored that the peoples to the north know how to fight magic. But if word gets out that Kheda has even investigated magic, he could be considered 'tainted' by it...

I like how McKenna sets up a convincingly foreign culture, with its own sets of rules and taboos, and portrays people from that culture on their own terms. However, especially at the beginning, it felt like there was a bit too much 'setting the scene' and not enough story. Kheda, who's the main character, never really intrigued me. When Dev (a self-centered, amoral, renegade(?) wizard from the north) suddenly appeared, his chapters were instantly more compelling. I wanted to know more about his background! Kheda just seemed kind of boring in comparison.

The writing here was pretty good; I'd read more from this author, but I'm not feeling compelled to go order more books in the series right now...