“Bone Swans” is a collection of fantastical novellas written by a firebird, or maybe C.S.E. Cooney is a firebrand. She’s certainly a damn fine writer whose quill spills heartbreak as often as hope. Her stories explore the dark edges of the mind, but not without a lil’ glitter in kind. The five tales in “Bone Swans” are swaggering beasts that strut off the page in luxuriously poetic footfalls.
Favorite in the bunch? “The Bone Swans of Amandale,” which was a 2015 Nebula finalist for Best Novella. It’s a retelling of The Pied Piper and The Juniper Tree fairy tales narrated by a rat named Maurice who is a perfectly vile, charming creature. The collection, with an introduction by fantasy icon Gene Wolfe, is devastatingly gorgeous and it won the 2016 World Fantasy Award for Best Collection.
Hell and bless it, I could croon about Cooney for days. What you need to know is that she is The Next Big Thing. She writes in a manner so delicious you may find yourself biting an edge of “Bone Swans” to pause and savor the stories. Her current cult fame is soon to skyrocket, so get those first editions stat.
If you like melodic, mischievous writing with expansive world-building similar to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, “Bone Swans” is for you.