Like Sophie, I am remorseless, but my remorselessness lacks method: I failed to actually determine whether there was a particular subset of the short story collections I could obtain so as to cover all the short stories, with a minimum of duplication. As a result, I’ve already read two of the four stories here in Warlock at the Wheel, and technically I also read “Stealer of Souls” on its own, since I ordered the World Book Day edition of that before I realized it was in (and subsequently ordered) Mixed Magics.
Anyway. “Warlock at the Wheel” and “The Sage of Theare” I’ve reported on. As for the other two stories:
“Stealer of Souls” pleased me all out of proportion by answering the morbid question that’s been lurking in the back of my head for years: what happened to Gabriel de Witt? If he still had eight lives left when Christopher was a boy, then it must have taken a heck of a lot of dying to get rid of him between then and Christopher’s tenure as Chrestomanci. Turns out it’s more or less like I thought, to whit, once you get old enough your lives just start slipping away via the same natural causes that everybody else suffers from. You don’t get extended life or anything, just more chances to bounce back. And it makes sense to me that, being as old as he was, and passing in that fashion, he would abdicate and let Christopher take over. (So for a little while there, they had three nine-lifed enchanters around. Man, knowing that we’ll never get any more of these books has apparently stuck my brain in fanfic gear, because now I want a story about the one time Gabriel, Christopher, and Cat had to team up to lay a smackdown on something.)
Oh, you want me to talk about the actual story? I liked it, though I kept being irresistibly distracted by the fact that the guy was calling himself Neville Spiderman. It was good to see some follow-through with Tonino, and the whole thing with the souls was suitably creepy. Not the most memorable, but not bad, either.
“Carol Oneir’s Hundredth Dream” scratched the “so what happened with Oneir, anyway?” itch, though only tangentially. I liked it for its commentary on storytelling and creativity, and also for watching Christopher be a politely sarcastic bastard (which pretty much never gets old for me). I think I wanted it to be longer, so it would have more space to develop things, but what we got was pleasant enough.