Tag Archives: fantasy

Recommended Short Fiction: HEART OF ICE by Anna Madden & AND THE RED DRAGON PASSES by Emily Randolph-Epstein


Dragons! These two tales are about two very different dragons, one fiery with fury, one quiet in her passing.

HEART OF ICE by Anna Madden is set in a secondary world and is about a dragon of the water who is in pain after her hatchling has been murdered. This is her path to vengeance, filled with a fury that can not be contained. Published in Zooscape.

AND THE RED DRAGON PASSES by Emily Randolph-Epstein has a contemporary setting and is about the passing of an old dragon and the need for  a human who loved her to sing her soul beyond that she might not remain stuck to this physical world. The story goes deeper, dealing with the main character’s view of who she is and her attachment to the dragon who always saw her real self. Published in Zooscape.


Recommended Book: THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern


THE STARLESS SEA
Erin Morgenstern

This is a story about a young man named Zachary. But it’s not just a story about a young man named Zachary. This is truly a story about dreams, about hopes, and passions, and places that don’t exist except in our hearts. This is a story about finding that missing piece that puts all the rest together.

There are books within this book and stories within its stories, each of them coming back to the idea of this starless sea that exists and calls to certain people. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is one such person who discovers a book that has him inside of it, for once there had been a door he hadn’t walked through. And in that book, he finds hint to this sea, to this place he’d had a chance to discover and yet hadn’t taken. So he goes searching for another way in, determined not to squander a second chance, with only frail clues to symbolize his way.

I went into this book thinking that there was a puzzle to unravel, but there is no such puzzle. This isn’t a book that answers every question or completes every idea. Instead, it’s about possibilities, about being lost or found or cold or unsatisfied; it’s about endings and beginnings and how sometimes they are indistinguishable.

This novel is a beautiful journey, meant for those who want that journey more than the place they expect to end up. I recommend this book for those who enjoy finding their own meaning between lyrical words and metaphorical stories.


Recommended Short Fiction: ASK THE FIREFLIES by R. P. Sand & MY MOTHER’S HAND by Dante Luiz


Both these two stories deal with parental relationships with their daughters when those relationships are bent and twisted.

My Mother’s Hand by Dante Luiz is about a sailor whose mother possesses her arm. That is probably enough of an intrigue to go read this story, but it gets better, for the tale revolves around identity and the power and pain wielded by those who believe they should have say in their children’s identities. Published in Constelación.

Ask the Fireflies by R. P. Sand is about an AI who loves and cares for a little girl, and above all else strives to protect her, from her parents, from her doctors, and from her own dark thoughts. Absolutely enthralling, this story deals quite viscerally with the question of what a life is, regardless whether it’s visible to others. Published in Clarkesworld.


Recommended Book: ALL THE MURMURING BONES by A. G. Slatter


ALL THE MURMURING BONES
A. G. Slatter

Macabre sea deals, crumbling manors, and haunting magic that infiltrates all the nooks and crannies of this world make this a novel worth falling in love with.

We follow Miren, the last of the O’Malley line, who have, through the centuries, been blessed with bounty from the sea, with riches that made them powerful and influential in their seaside town. But now, that magic is disintegrating; the O’Malley family is crumbling, with Miren being the youngest, the sole first-born daughter who might be able to change the family’s fates. But with everyone around her wanting to use her, she must combat her birth-right and seek answers to the disturbing questions about her family’s history and the truth about how they had gained their prosperity.

Between the narrative are short fairy tales of a dark variety. Each one is an engaging fable of the O’Malley history, steeped in layers of wonder and danger, each one adding another clue to the mystery that echoes back centuries, concerning children being sacrificed to the mer.

Miren is an engaging character, a young woman who is both feminine and powerful, using all her knowledge and ability to seek out the secrets that had been hidden from her. I highly recommend this tale to anyone who loves gothic strangeness, who loves the darker edges of merfolk, who wants engaging mystery and all their fantastical creatures to be haunting rather than bright.

Content warning: there is child death discussed within this book.

Thank you to Titan Books for an eARC of this title.


Recommended Short Fiction: FROM WITCH TO QUEEN AND GOD by L. D. Lewis & AS IF WAITING by A. Katherine Black


These are two stories both dealing with women taking the power of a choice into their hands, though they diverge in theme and in resolution.

FROM WITCH TO QUEEN AND GOD by L D Lewis is a dark tale about a merwitch who ascends to land with her army of unwanteds in order to become even more than who and what she is. This is a tale of power and control and its nuances. Published in Mermaids Monthly.

AS IF WAITING by A. Katherine Black is a lighter fare that follows a feline woman as she progresses through a physical representation of an impossible choice she’s deliberating over. This one deals with our conflictions in the face of multiple positive, wonderful paths where we can only choose one. Published in Zooscape Magazine.