Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy short stories eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
equus (Rhonda Parrish)
Authors: Rhonda Parrish , J.G. Formato , Diana Hurlburt , Tamsin Showbrook , Laura VanArendonk Baugh , VF LeSann , Dan Koboldt , J.J. Roth , Susan MacGregor , Pat Flewwelling , Angela Rega , Michael Leonberger , Sandra Wickham , Stephanie A. Cain , Cat McDonald , Andrew Bourelle , Chadwick Ginther , K.T. Ivanrest , Jane Yolen , M.L.D. Curelas
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Publication Date: July 18, 2017 (paperback and e-book)
This was a short story collection that I requested because it was about me first love of ponies before the sea stole me heart. And it had a story by Jane Yolen. I was super busy and needed something that I could easily pick up and put down at whim. So I figured that this would float me boat. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time wanting to put this down and never pick it up again. Out of the 19 stories, I ended up readin’ 7. Actually I would have thought more given how long readin’ this felt but 7 is what came up when I just counted. So here be me thoughts on the 7:
“stars, wings, and knitting things” (J.G. Formato)
The first story of this collection was certainly interesting. I loved the main character, Annie. She was quirky, funny, and not at all what I expected. It involves knitting. I loved her banter and her husband’s responses. I thought this was a great first story if very unusual. Can’t explain more than that.
“eel and bloom” (Diana Hurlburt)
This was overall by far me favorite story of the batch. It was about a young girl named Bea who races limerunners (“native Floridian cousin to the Scottish kelpie” source) at the local racetrack after dark. These horses have to be kept near water. They also have to be kept with care because they are carnivorous, nasty, and kill. Bea’s mother makes a bet with her daughter’s future as a consequence. The outcome of the night’s race has never been more important. The ending was perfect. I would love to read future tales of Eel and Bea.
“a complete mare” (Tasmin Showbrook)
This is a story concerning half-breeds of Gods. Odin especially. I didn’t like this story at all. The story was confusing and the main character, Verity, made some really bizarre and crazy choices. I did like her transformations but it wasn’t enough to make me care about the characters or the world. Also the story seemed like a chapter picked out of a larger narrative.
“neither snow, nor rain, nor heat-ray” (M.L.D. Curelas)
This was actually was even more confusing then the previous story as crazy as that seemed to me when reading. This story takes place in London in 1900 five days after the alien invasion. The aliens are these weird tripods. There is a Moreauvian named Fletcher with special powers. I didn’t understand where these people came from. I didn’t understand what happened at the end and what was learned. I did like the main character, Emma and her horse, Beezus. But mostly I was just confused. Again it seemed like it was a chapter pulled out of a larger work and it was poorer for it.
“rue the day” (Laura VanArendonk Baugh)
This was an amazing concept, characters, world, and plot at first. This deals with war bands that fight with unicorns in a medieval like setting. I adored Galyne and her unicorn Nova. This was exactly fitting me mood and I was reading with pure delight. Then came the plot twist and it soured. It involves a trigger for many people and I was so sad that the author chose to take it there. I thought good points were made in the circumstances that were presented and I even thought the author handled the conclusions well. However, I would have preferred a very different direction. In fact I would love this story to be expanded so I can get more of Galyne and the world. Mixed feelings on this one but disappointment lingers.
“riders in the sky” (V.F. LeSann)
This story felt like a western wrapped up with ghosts and magic horses. I loved the world and the main characters of the Rider and her horse, Peregrine. This was an engaging story but overall seemed like we are missing too much backstory. The story did have a clear beginning and ending but overall there were just too many unanswered questions. Highly engaging though.
“a glory of unicorns” (Jane Yolen)
This was the reason I picked up this book and then I read it and was sad. It’s a very short poem and not really a story at all. I didn’t hate the poem. I just wanted something along the lines of “a plague of unicorns” which I reviewed here.
So I loved one, partially liked three, hated two, and thought one was a tease. Ultimately many of the stories felt incomplete and unsatisfactorily. I am glad I read it for the parts I liked but when I began reading the next story, I realized I didn’t want to spend more time reading it. I am not sure I will ever finish it. For me it was a mixed bag but perhaps ye will like it more. All I know is that I am glad I picked it up because of the joy that was reading about Eel and Bea.
So lastly . . .
Thank you World Weaver Press!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.
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