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Fantastic Creatures: A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology Kindle Edition
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Three Steaks and a Box of Chocolates ~ Excellent narrative voice that transported me to a dusty one-horse town. Creative and humorous. 4.5
Snapdragon ~ Nice twist on the Princess and the Frog with very interesting curses. I wanted this one to be longer, so I could spend more time with these interesting characters. 4
The Golden City Captives ~ An intriguing story with particularly interesting mystical creatures. There was so much world-building crammed into too few pages. I wanted to explore this whole realm much longer. 4
Seekers ~ Strong voice and excellent turns of phrase. The author does a masterful job of hinting at things to the reader without letting even the narrator know. The ending, however, was almost too cryptic. 4.5
Mystery of Asgina Lake ~ Like a modern Nancy Drew feel crossed with a little Indiana Jones. I needed more time actually interacting with the lake creatures. As written, I feel like I only got half the story. 3
Skin Deep ~ The story is well-structured, articulate, and vivid. How delightful to find a new author to follow with interest—Morgan Smith. 5
The Last Chronicle of Pete Mersill ~ I felt like “Pete” was talking to me. The whole concept was unique, and the action swift. It screams for a sequel because the premise is rich with possibilities. Excellent! 5
Priscilla, the Magnificent, Flying Giant Squid ~ Not a ton of dramatic tension, but very imaginative in a steampunk-meets-20,000-Leagues-Under-the-Sea sort of way. 4
An Adventurer’s Heart ~ Unfortunately, there were so many dangling modifiers and overused words in the first few pages that I didn’t finish. NO RATING
Destiny’s Flight ~ The story had promise, and I really liked the main characters’ unique “callings”. However … sad ending. 3
The Kappa ~ This one is clearly written for a young audience and has a sweet, Japanese fable feel. I would love to see it in an illustrated book form for a bedtime story. 4
Celebration ~ An absolutely charming and unexpected glimpse at how goblins say farewell to a beloved king. Loved it! 5
The Nether Lands ~ Fascinating story with a very strong narrative voice. If this is the beginning to a series—a prequel of sorts—it’ll be a great one. 4.5
Talori and the Shark ~ I enjoyed the premise of this book and the world-building efforts. Kind of a mermaid Beauty & the Beast vibe. Wish there had been a hint more development of the story. 4
Reviving the Sword ~ This felt more like the prologue to an epic series than a short story. I couldn’t feel connected with the characters because I couldn’t understand their motivations for traveling together. 3
Mother’s Night Out ~ Author does a great job of taking a familiar mythical creature and flipping what you think you know about it upside down with suspense and a surprising ending. 5
The Mage and the Spotted Wyvern ~ This one never quite clicked for me. I just couldn’t connect with the main character, though his frog was fun. 3
The Very Last Dragon ~ This one gripped me right away with its snarky humor. The ending had a fun twist, though there could have been a hint more suspense. 4.5
The Adventures of Zero ~ This one did a great job of telling a complete story while still leaving things open for a full-length fantasy novel with werecats! 4.5
Ishka’s Garden ~ This story is related to a book I’ve already read by the author. Her world-building is lush and complete, though I found the action slow to start considering it was a short story. 4
Absolutely True Facts ~ A cute, fast story, perfect for reading aloud on a camping trip just before a nature hike. My only complaint? I wanted much more! Like twice as long would have been great. 4
"Three Steaks and a Box of Chocolates" was funny and touching. "Snapdragon" features a curse and a brave heroine. "Seekers" has a nice touch of Celtic fairytale about it. "Skin Deep" was an excellent take on the whole "cursed prince needs a bride" genre, and I really appreciated how it ended. "The Last Chronicle of Pete Mersill" has a good dystopian style creature story that Walking Dead fans will enjoy. "Priscilla, The Magnificent, Flying Giant Squid" was one of the best in the whole collection - funny and touching with a touch of steampunk. "The Nether Lands" was funny and modern. "Talori and the Shark" was another good curse story with good characters. "Mother's Night Out" was good and enjoyable by modern UF people, but I thought the twist was pretty telegraphed. "The Very Last Dragon" was a good read. "Absolutely True Facts About the Pacific Tree Octopus" is a touching story with a good moral - and a great way to end the collection.
Definitely worth reading.
These are the ones that came to mind first. I suppose that means I found them the most memorable. However, it does not mean that these are the only ones I liked. While looking back over the table of contents, I decided that I liked basically all of them. Out of 21 stories, there was only three or four that I didn't like, or did like but felt were too incomplete to count as a full story.
"Three Steaks and a Box of Chocolates"
This is a fully formed short story; the setting in the desert region has a tactile quality and two central characters are impressively developed in little time. The plot has a solid set up and an intriguing build up to the reveal of the creature. The nature of the conflict is funny, cute and realistic. It has a fully conclusive ending which I like.
I'd say more about it but there's a minor mystery element involved that is part of the story's charm. Suffice to say that Burt is telling the truth when he says "Fluffy" is not a cat.
"The Golden City Captives"
This one has interesting world building in its fantasy aspects. The nature and underpinning of fairy society is one such aspect and how it can be exploited by outsiders is a fine twist. Then there's the mechanic of how shapeshifters are "born". It leads me to think about the why and the history while enjoying watching it happen.
The story also provides a glimpse of the human society which influences these factors, and, in turn, is influenced by them. I want to use the phrase "overflowing climax consequences" because it develops to a grander scale than I expected. The initial conflict is completed but it flows so well and so quickly into another that I was disappointed when it ended. Kinda of like screeching the brakes; I want to see more.
I found a classic fantasy-adventure role playing game in this one. There's this hunter on a vengeance-drive monster hunt. She happens upon a quest, truly like a game, and has to complete a chain of deals and kill a monster or two for someone else before she has the proper equipment to start her own hunt. It's a lot of fun to read.
Once again, this short story feels more like one part of a bigger story than anything self-contained. It's like the first episode of a season. If the author felt inclined to make the rest of the "season" then I would be interested in reading it. The protagonist and her world is that well established and interesting.
I get a "fantasy version of the Crusades" feel from this one. A knight and "miracle man"(kind of like a lay cleric) escort a messenger to her destination. The knight has his armor and sword fighting, the miracle man effectively has spells for healing/buffing etc. and the messenger has a quarter staff and her griffin. They fight an evil knight and his own mount who want to kill the messenger.
There's also a budding romance and it has a foil in a happily married couple. It's a nice narrative counterbalance to the action. An even measure of both makes the characters "pop" as human (or griffin, as the case may be).
It feels conclusive, more so than the previous two, but it also feels like this setting and its results could be used to tell more stories.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Fellowship of Fantasy: Fantastic Creatures" an A+