Showing posts with label anthology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anthology. Show all posts

Book Review: Fantastic Creatures from the Fellowship of Fantasy

Fantastic Creatures is a collection of short stories from the Fellowship of Fantasy, which includes the authors H.L. Burke, Cave Yates, Arthur Daigle, Craig A. Price Jr., Intisar Khanani, Lea Doue, Nicole Zoltack, Vincent Trigili, Julie C. Gilbert, Katy Huth Jones, L. Palmer, Kandi J. Wyatt, Morgan Smith, Lelia Rose Foreman, Jessica L. Elliott, Bokerah Brumley, Caren Rich, A.R. Silverberry, D.G. Driver, and Frank B. Luke.
Here be dragons, and selkies, and griffins, and maybe even a mermaid or two. Twenty fantasy authors band together to bring you a collection of thrilling tales and magical monsters. Do you like to slay dragons? Or befriend them? Do you prefer to meet cephalopods as gigantic kraken or adorable tree octopuses? Each story focuses around a fantastic creature from folklore or mythology, and they range from light and playful tales for the whole family to darker stories that may make you wish to leave the lights on. These stories carry the Fellowship of Fantasy seal of approval. While our monsters may be horrifying, you won't stumble into graphic sex and constant swearing, also not that any story with adult level violence is marked, so there is not stumbling upon that type of surprise. 

Fantastic Creatures is an anthology with a good variety of stories. As with all anthologies, some really grabbed me, others left me a little less impressed, and many were in the middle. There was humor, romance, stories that left me sad, stories that left me upset, and some that left me shaking my head. I really enjoyed sme of the twists that were given to some of the familiar creatures, while some were so odd and unexpected that I was left admiring the creativity of the author. I found the collection as a whole to be well written, and consistently edited. While not every story grabbed me, I thought the book was well done and an entertaining read. I think the lack of explicit content, and the warnings about violence before it happens, makes it a good choice for sharing as a family.

Fantastic Creatures is a varied and entertain collection of tales. I like that the creatures were all different and expectations were often defied. Each of the stories has a satisfying conclusion. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy short stories, and those that are interested in exploring fantasy authors, but want to start small. What a great way to check out the work of 20 writers without committing large amounts of money or time in something that might not be your cup of tea.

Five Roman and Greek Mythology Resources

Myths, legends and fairy tales are immensely fascinating to me. Especially the way certain tales echo each other when the original storytellers had no way of communicating with each other across distance, language barriers and time. Greek and Roman mythology is one segment of the larger whole that I have found phenomenal resources to help me explore deeper. Here are my personal favorite books that teach and entertain in that realm of mythology. I did not include individual stories, such as the Iliad or the Odyssey, only collections and reference materials.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton is a collection and review of Greek and Roman myths, with a few Norse myths thrown in for good measure. Hamilton tells the main stories and describes the characters as well.  She gives commentary on the stories and shares how different versions of the characters and stories compare. I currently own two copies of this book, which I have read and reread several times over the years. She also wrote The Greek Way and The Roman Way for more detailed understanding of each culture.

Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology from Thomas Bulfinch is another fantastic resource for myth information. This book is full of vivid retellings of myths from the Roman; Greek and Norse cultures. The myths are enjoyable and easy reads, while the index of names makes looking up references to the characters made in other works a simple process. I find this book to be another invaluable addition to my personal library.

The Dictionary of Classical Mythology by John Edward Zimmerman has entries about the Greek and Roman myths that are clear and concise. The names have pronunciation guides and where they are mentioned, cross-references with related entries and information on authors. This book does a great job of balancing the needs of novices and fans in the field. 

The Greek Myths: Complete Edition
 from Robert Graves offers readers exactly what the title proclaims. Myths are told with commentary and supported heavily with illustrations. The myth retellings are wonderful; however, I often disagreed with his interpretations of individual myths, which is gratifying in its own way. I have yet to find a more extensive collection of Greek myths than that in this book. 

The Encyclopedia of Classic Mythology: The Ancient Greek, Roman, Celtic and Norse Legends
 from Arthur Cotterell is a comprehensive and useful reference source. You can read the book straight through and enjoy the stories or look up names and myths that interest you and learn more about their stories. It is a great addition to the personal library of anyone interested in learning more about mythology.

Book Review:Grim a Young Adult Short Story Anthology

Grim is a collection of 17 short stories based off fairy tales collected by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Some of the tales are better known such as Beauty and the Beast and The Snow Queen, and some are lesser known, such as The Shroud and The Robber Bridegroom. The authors in the anthology are: Ellen Hopkins, Amanda Hocking, Julie Kagawa, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Kimberly Derting, Myra McEntire, Malinda Lo, Sarah Rees-Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Christine Johnson, Jeri Smith Ready, Shaun David Hutchinson, Saundra Mitchell, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton, and Jon Skrovon.

I do not want to go to much into each of the stories, because reading a full summary of a short story might give away to much and destroy some of the fun. So, I will highlight some of my favorites. The Key by Rachel Hawkins is about a girl with a special gift, and has an open ending. The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron offers a fun twist to a lesser known story. Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell is a retelling of Donkeyskin, with a vengeful flavor. The tale is tough to read, but so worth it. Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton, a retelling of a tale you can figure out by the title, featured characters that break the preconceptions you might have of them.

The stories were generally very well done, and left me with only a couple moments of wishing I skipped a story. However, for the most part I enjoyed the reading. I take great pleasure in reading new twists on classic tales, and even more pleasure in having a lesser know story or even one I do not recognize introduced. This is a definite young adult and adult selection, and one worth exploring.

I would recommend Grim to young adults, new adults and adults. The stories are a bit grim, as the title suggests, and sometimes a little gritty. In this regard I think the short story format is perfect. If you like new and unusual takes of folklore and learning new stories from the past then you will enjoy this collection.