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Nine Parts Bluster and Other Stories: A dark fantasy anthology Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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Like Economy of Words? I thought I had a handle on that aspect of my writing until I read this short story collection.While the author doesn't describe every facet of setting, the vivid direction is there for the taking.
He never says when we are either, not directly. He doesn't have to. Somewhere off the Silk Road perhaps, an Imperial Land that has either reverted back to crude weapons, or is stuck in time.
I can't get enough of this brave, disastrous, and comical duo in Nine Parts Bluster. Senesio is the perfect mix of charlatan and hero while Chen is a happenstance boulder. I want to follow these two on every adventure from now until the end of time. Yes, I could be summoned to quest after quest in my armchair. I would walk along the path of danger, hardship, and riches with this pair any day, all the while laughing with my popcorn, still ready with my sword on standby.
Like Characterization? Anthony spends all his writer money on just that:
"Senesio had a way with words, to be sure. He shaped the hopes and dreams of men like a potter did clay. And like clay after it was fired, what Senesio promised was prone to shatter."
The author's action scenes and monster are great in this. I do not want to give anything away here, but the way men die in this and Sensio's reaction tells the reader so much.
In Respectable Work, the author jumps back to the duo's first meeting. The action scenes are quite stellar and the origin story is there for the taking:
"A second knee caught him (in) the chin and he stumbled backward, spitting blood and what might've been a tooth."
My favorite by far is Kiss of the White Mistress which had me entrenched in the protagonist's inner and external battle. Again, the author's ability to work magic with less is seen here. It is all characterization:
"He smiled at the pale chunks of white mistress floating in the simmering stew, and for an instant, in that shallow hell of a prison, he could swear the stew smiled back."
This story was intense and deep. It had me up swilling Merlot last Saturday, turning pages and dreaming of a nightmare.
In the Garden of Giants, he describes a troop in almost another world that could be its own series as well. This story really brought out the author's sense of narration. It made me feel like he was an authority, an old man of sorts that I could count on for a good tale.
How this book effects my writing:
While I am here toiling away with the mostly real and dark, A.Z. Anthony is creating a convincing, dark world of his own. I twist reality while he creates one.
Really, Anthony reminds me what it is like to read for pleasure again and be entertained. My wife watches these Chinese recent release, action/fantasy shows that I get sucked into from time to time.
A similar hint of lore is there. His writing is so deep but he uses less. How? I appreciate Anthony's presence, his word choice as a narrator, and his economy of words.
Now it’s part of this awesome little anthology.
In this anthology, we've got four short stories. Obviously Nine Parts Bluster is one of them, but since I've already reviewed that one, I'll go ahead and skip my review of it and say that when it came to this anthology, this story really set the tone real quick. Still a really enjoyable story. Dark and unexpected at times, with some strong storytelling skills put on display.
The other 3 stories we get here are In the Garden of Giants, Kiss of the White Mistress, and Respectable Work.
I'll just go in order with what I thought of them, because that's easier:
In the Garden of Giants tells the story of a group on explorers on a mission to see the legendary Garden of Giants, which is said to be the ruins of the greatest city ever built, and the birthplace of civilization. There are two characters that this one focuses on, Harper, who is more than a little obsessed with glory, and Sterne who is more than a little obsessed with money. They get a bit more than they bargained for, either way that it goes. This story is a bit of a thrillride that goes from zero to - 'what the WHAT?!' pretty quickly. People die. Other people don't die. Lessons are learned.
Kiss of the White Mistress is a story about revenge. Jao is a cook, who is kidnapped and forced into servitude by a group of bandits right after they murder his brother in front of him. He decides to cook a very special muskrat and mushroom stew for them in repayment. People die. Lessons are learned.
Respectable Work is a story about Chen, who is a scribe working for one of the biggest thieves in the empire (and it's not Senesio Suleiman Zhao, master monster hunter and wearer of ridiculous beaver hats at this particular juncture... at least, not yet). I was really glad to have a story with Chen as the focus, telling the story of how exactly he came to be in the employ of such a blustery person. People died. Lessons were.... probably not learned.
This little anthology of dark stories was a great use of a couple of hours. It’s got all the death and dismemberment you could ask for for $3.
(I received a copy of this anthology of stories from the author in exchange for my honest review of it!)