Reins of Destiny
by Janny Wurts
The second story in The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, Reins of Destiny, is an offering by Janny Wurts, a well known and prolific Fantasy author. Despite the fact thatâ€™s sheâ€™s written/co-written over a dozen novels, this short story was the first chance that I had to actually read any of her work. Iâ€™m sorry to say, however, that it will probably also be the last.
Beneath the impenetrable dialogue and obtuse, needlessly complex prose any sense of good storytelling is completely lost, which is a shame because what story is there seems somewhat interesting. A more-clever-than-he-looks stableman and a desperate clansman (Wurts’ version of a noble… I think) make an interesting combination and Wurts does well by contrasting the personalities of the two protagonists.
I will admit that, despite the semi-interesting characters/story, I had trouble even finishing the short story and can’t even begin to imagine struggling through an entire novel filled with Wurts’ difficult to read prose. Perhaps on a larger scale, her style of storytelling and sentence construction works more ably, but in the context of a short story it’s a major detriment.
One of the reasons I enjoy short story anthologies so much is that it gives me a terrific opportunity to discover new authors. Unfortunately, in this case, the only thing I discovered was that I’m not a fan â€“ in any way, shape or form â€“ of Janny Wurts. A letdown after the strong, opening in the anthology (Mark Chadbourn’s Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast), I certainly hope that this is the weakest of the stories featured in the collection.