Fantasy has always emphasized man battling an evil greater than themselves. "Shadows & Light: Tales of Lost Kingdoms" is a collection of fantasy short stories compiled by Alva J. Roberts, bring tales from many different authors, using their own interpretations of fantasy and the battles between man and an evil they can't comprehend. Drawing from traditional mythology to more original fantasies, "Shadows & Light" is a fine addition to any collection of short fiction.
The literary palates of fantasy readers will appreciate the flavors packed into the anthology Shadows & Light: Tales of Lost Kingdoms. This premium box of chocolates was published by the Pill Hill Press and edited by Alva J. Roberts, who can certainly be proud of the twenty-two short stories that mix a full measure of fantasy with a couple dashes of horror.
The overall quality of the writing in this anthology is very strong. The stories grabbed my attention right away within the first paragraphs and often the first sentences. Vivid imagery, strong emotions, smooth transitions, and tireless action were standards upheld by every author selected for the anthology, and, like a book of paint swatches, all the darker shades of the genre were represented. A daring elf queen, female centaur, changeling warriors, a priestess of the dead, and a barbarian king are a smattering of examples from this suite of stories that were obviously written and selected with care.
As with any anthology, some stories resonated with me more than others, but this will vary with the tastes of each reader. One of my favorites was Azerian: Pawn of the Serpentine Witch by Christopher Heath that could be labeled as heroic fantasy or barbarian fantasy. With lizard men who sacrificed humans, a powerful witch desiring pregnancy, and a barbarian king, this story flowed like hot lava and drew me into its frightening action. My only complaint about the story would be its epilogue, which I considered unnecessary. It answered a few questions, but mostly I thought it came across as notes for future stories that should have been written instead of summarized in an epilogue.
Another story of note is Shadow on the Edge of the City of Light by Bill Ward.Read more ›