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Corvidae (Rhonda Parrish's Magical Menageries) (Volume 2) Paperback – July 2, 2015
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If you love fantasy, urban or otherwise. get a copy of this!
"Whistles and Trills" by Kat Otis provides an amazing alternate history version of World War II. I want to go read Otis' version of the entire war. I want to explore the Frost Chieftaincies and find out how the Axis Powers developed in this world. Granted, I was a history major, so I get nerdy about alternate histories, but this version is beautifully drawn by Kat Otis, and Morgaine is a great character to pull us into this world. Parrish picked the perfect story to open her anthology.
She follows it up with the amazing and macabre "The Valravn" by Megan Fennell. Opening in a manner that suggests a fairy tale, the story quickly shows that it's a Grimm-type tale, not a Disneyfied one. I love how the gruesome way Valravns acquire power and knowledge combined with the loving warmth of family.
"A Mischief of Seven" by Leslie Van Zwol begins with Pike, a hard-bitten detective, being called to a murder scene, where he visits with a ghost. What begins as a noir-mystery quickly evolves into a gritty urban fantasy that fans of Harry Dresden will enjoy. I don't recall seeing the name of the city, but I can easily imagine this being Indianapolis or St. Louis, a heartland city with Old World immigrants and mythology that is still alive and well.
"Visiting hours" by Michael S. Pack brings us to the bedside of a very sick little boy whose mother is struggling to accept his illness. Here we're introduced to the idea of ravens as psychopomps, eaters of the dead, yes, but also conveyers of the soul to the next life.
I confess, I found myself a little confused at the beginning of "The Rookery of Sainte-Mere-Eglise" by Tim Deal. The title made me expect a World War II story, since that village was the target of the air landings on D-Day, but that's...not quite what I got. Or is it?
And when we got to "The Cruelest Team Will Win" by Mike Allen, the first line almost lost me--I'm terrified of spiders, so when the narrator eats a huge, scary spider, I shuddered. But I stuck with it, and got a glimpse of a book that reminded me of early Charles de Lint, with people who have spirit forms battling their way through life in modern-day America. I loved the "vapid as a Kardashian" comparison.
I'll be the first to admit I'm not big into poetry. I took a semester of poetry-writing in college and I'm not sure I ever really got it. But the poetry Parrish chose for this anthology is lovely. C.S.E. Cooney's "What Is Owed" is a resonant, evocative magpie poem that just begs to be read aloud.
In "Raven No More" by Adria Laycraft, we're given an inside look at a woman breaking out of an abusive relationship and going into hiding. When her ex threatens those she loves, though, she has to find her strength in cunning and trickery, inspired by Raven, the first Trickster.
I found "The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence" to be a very clever re-imagining of Poe's tale. Michael M. Rader makes the narrator a slighted doctoral student who is driven mad by the belief his professor is suppressing his genius. It's been a few years since I read Poe's version, but this felt very much like he had written it.
I was fortunate enough to be able to critique "Sanctuary" by Laura VanArendonk Baugh before she submitted it to this collection, so it's possible I'm biased, but I love the mix of behavioral science, neuroscience, and mythology that we get in this story. Set at a wildlife rescue, this story gives us a close-up look at how scarily intelligent crows actually are.
"Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix)" is a suffocating story, which seems like a mean thing to say, except I'm pretty sure that's exactly what Sara Puls was going for. We follow Renee as her relationship and home life deteriorate because of her cutting. I love the character of Knife Woman, aka Ori, who is strong enough to reach out when Renee needs it.
"Flying the Coop" by M.L.D. Curelas is another story that takes us into a world I want to see more of. There are little shades of the old movie "LadyHawke" in this, but think steampunk instead of medieval. Hanna is a smuggler hired to get a stolen magpie out of a city run by a very dangerous man. But Hanna takes a page out of the corvid she's smuggling and uses trickery to her advantage.
"Postcards from the Abyss" by Jane Yolen is a poem of dread and despair. It made me feel uncomfortable, and honestly I paged past after a quick reading. But again, poetry isn't always my thing.
As it turns out, it was a fitting segue to the bizarre folk-tale feeling of "Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird" by Mark Rapacz. We're rapt with the apparently young Kuba as the storyteller tells us about a terrible war and the magical entertainment the soldiers are given. And, like Kuba, we are left to wonder what really is the most terrible part of war.
"Seven for a Secret" by Megan Engelhardt is a delightful and horrible story. Delightful because the whimsical voice conjures images of Watson and Holmes (or Vesper Holly and Uncle Brinton, for Lloyd Alexander fans) except in this case we have Miss Harris and Lady Zinnia Carmichael, cryptozoologists who are summoned to the southern continent to investigate rumors of a bird-man. Horrible because humans are often ill-equipped to deal with the fantastical, as readers of the story will learn. I would desperately like to read more of Harris and Zinnia's adventures.
In "Flight," the final story in the anthology, Angela Slatter introduces us to Emer, a princess who has sprouted feathers. Caught in a hero tale of her parents' making, Emer must rise to the challenge and figure out how to save herself.
Rhonda Parish, Jane Yolen, Kat Otis, Megan Fennell, Leslie Van Zwol, Michael S. Pack,
Tim Deal, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, Adria Laycroft, Michael M. Rader, Laura Van Arendonk Baugh, Sara Puls, M.L.D. Curelas, Mark Rapaz, Megan Engelhardt and Angela Slatter
Covidae Anthology Description
This anthology has been described as a flock of shiny stories.
The Raven will live up to their names, the Magpies will take the form of human beings, the lovely Blue Jays will be in a battle with the forces of evil, while the Choughs will become prisoners of war.
While reading this anthology the reader will be taken on journeys that will take them to The Great War, research facilities, frozen mountain tops, stream powered worlds and forest homes that are remote.
When this anthology has been read the crow as we know it will never be looked at the same again. Enjoy!!
Flight by Angela Slatter:
Emer wandered into the unkempt areas that were the boundaries between the gardenand myrkwood. There she saw smooth stems that were spiked with the most beautiful roses that were as black as ebony. Each rose had a glow coming from the heart of the flower and it was this glow that encouraged Emer to go and take a closer look. As she reached the nearest flower she was careful that she did not touch the thorn of the flower. When she was pulling away she did not see the raven sitting there, what she did feel was a stabbing pain to her palm. As Emer stared at the bird with glistening feathers and looking radiant as if the moon had been woven into the undersides of its feathers she heard the raven give a harsh cry as if to say sorry for the injury to her hand.
Seven for a Secret by Megan Engelhardt:
Zinnia was having her finger and toe nails painted by her maid when her butler announced that she had a gentleman caller. Tobias was a herd farmer and some of his herd had been disappearing. He showed Zinnia and Annie a picture of that had been taken on his land of a large bird with an enormous wing span. Knowing he had their attention he showed more photos although they were blurry they could quite clearly see three large winged shapes. Zinnia and Annie agreed to go to his ranch named the Good As Gold and investigate what was happening on his land. Rixey a ranch worker described the mysterious figures as larger and that their feathers were bunched up like fingers. And he was certain that it was these mysterious creatures that was taking the herd. Intrigued Zinnia and Annie could not wait not start their investigations.
Visiting Hours by Michael S. Pack:
Lorraine sat by her dying sons bed day and night rarely taking a break. She knew by the look on the nursing staff faces that she did not have a lot of time left with her son. Being told by a nurse to go have a break she encountered a young girl named Faye who was quite ill herself. During their conversation Faye told Lorraine a story her grandmother had told her that when the Northern Lights shimmer in the sky it opens the door for the ravens to come and from, how lucky were they to be able to come between two worlds. Faye told Lorraine that her grandmother to that the ravens wait for death and leave after. Lorraine could not believe such a story would be told to a child. Saying good bye to Faye she went back and sat with her son Chris. Each of her days were living in hope that some good would happen today even though she knew with in her heart that only sadness would be presented. Looking at the window after hearing a tap she noticed a raven sitting there. She looked at the raven and told it no, not yet and as if the raven understood it flew away. Lorrain cried because she knew it would be back.
Sanctuary by Laura Van Arendonk Baugh:
Sophie had to suddenly put the brakes on when she saw a figure bending over in the fog looking at something on the road. Sophie thought what fool would be out in this weather and not looking at cars approaching. Stopping her car she approach the stranger to see he was bent over an injured crow. This poor crow had bad impact injuries which knew for sure would include a badly sprained or broken leg and a break to its radius or ulna. Sophie explain to Jun the stranger that she would take the crow back to the sanctuary that she had and try and mend the bird so it could be released. After treatment it was found Annabelle the crow would never be able to be set free again. Jun in the meantime had been doing work at the sanctuary and was there when Sophie had made the decision. As she was telling Jun about Annabelle she cut the crows tag off. Jun suggested to Sophie he would like to try and teach Annabelle simple tricks, Sophie thought this was a good idea and was eager to see how quick Annabelle would pick them up.
Flying the Coop by M.L.D. Curelas:
Hanna had a meeting with a man she had dubbed Droppings for all the bird poop he had over him. Droppings wanted Hanna to smuggle the magpie he had with him out of the city early in the morning. When Hanna kept referring to the bird as bird Droppings told her the birds name was Jenny. Hanna agreed to meet Droppings in Victoria Square the following morning where she would take Jenny off him and out of the city. But when the time came Hanna noticed that the owner of the bird Tobias Kingsman and his thugs were approaching she hissed at Droppings to handover the bird. As he did a lot of other women appeared dressed the same as Hanna with magpies on their shoulders appeared. Making a run for the guarded gates Hanna knew she had to get through them and away before they closed. As she made it out of the gates she felt a sting then her body start to go numb. Knowing she couldn’t go much further she crawled to the bush and Jenny flew off. The guards and Kingsman caught up to her and one of the guards kicked Hanna in the gut. The other guard noticed something and tried to get Kingsman attention but he was too busy telling Hanna she was done for. When Jenny the magpie spoke it was the first time Hanna had heard it, it was also then that Hanna found out that Jenny and the one eyed wolf used to be humans and lovers, they had been transformed by Kingsman. It was now Kingsman’s turn to be in trouble and Hanna knew from that moment she could charge a higher fee for her smuggling.
Most recent customer reviews
Corvidae is a fantastic Anthology which is made up of stories and poems by 16 wonderfully talented contributing authors.Read more
Corvidae is a collection of short stories and poems and is the second anthology in the Magical Menagerie series.Read more
Corvidae - Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries Book 2 is a grouping of short stories and poems...Read more