Book Reviews

Book Review: Where the Veil Is Thin

Where the Veil is Thin“If I’d known then what I know now about fairy lore, I would have told my mother to burn that damned pillow and get those cursed teeth as far away from me as possible. Fairies and spirits aren’t generally known for altruism and charity, and a fairy bargain – even one so simple as trading a coin for a tooth – is a dangerous thing.”

TITLE & AUTHOR: Where the Veil Is Thin by Cerece Rennie Murphy and Alana Joli Abbott

GENRE: Fantasy/Short Stories/Anthology/Paranormal

EXPECTED PUBLICATION : July 7th 2020, by Outland Entertainment

MY RATING: 4/5

 

 

These are not your daughter’s faerie stories…

Around the world, there are tales of creatures that live in mist or shadow, hidden from humans by only the slightest veil. In Where the Veil Is Thin, these creatures step into the light. Some are small and harmless. Some are bizarre mirrors of this world. Some have hidden motives, while others seek justice against humans who have wronged them.

In these pages, you will meet blood-sucking tooth fairies and gentle boo hags, souls who find new shapes after death and changelings seeking a way to fit into either world. You will cross the veil—but be careful that you remember the way back.

“Perhaps most importantly, these stories hold a mirror to ourselves. J.M. Barrie of Peter Pan fame wrote that when the first human child laughed, that laugh shattered into countless pieces, and those pieces became fairies.”

It’s yesterday’s news that I am obsessed with Fae and that I blindly jump to every opportunity to read something new on the topic. This time it was an ARC of a fairy anthology with barely any authors familiar to me and a gorgeous cover. Of course I hit that request button.

It’s a known thing that each anthology is filled with stories which range from a hit to a miss. This is partly because editors use this method to promote up and coming authors, among the already famous, hardened ones. I don’t have anything against this, on the contrary, I think it’s an amazing thing, because I discovered some really great authors this way, but it doesn’t erase the fact that the day when I’ll rate an anthology with 5 stars is in a galaxy far, far away. This is mostly because of my rating process, where I rate each story separately, and then calculate the end results. The bad eggs bring the others down. The point I’m making here is that four stars is a pretty high score for an anthology, and that this one is worth your attention. On to the stories:

The Tooth Fairies by Glenn Parris

This one is obviously about tooth fairies, who are something like The Borrowers, except pretty bloodthirsty. On their mission to retrieve a molar, they encounter the one thing they fear most – a witch’s familiar. 4/5 stars

Glamour by Grey Yuen

I didn’t like this story much, even though it was well written. A murder happens, and the detectives discover the victim, a famous singer, was Fae, but there’s more to the crime scene than meets the eye. 3/5 stars

See a Fine Lady by Seanan McGuire

This one was interesting because it starts like a joke. A lady rides into a Target store on a unicorn. The lady is of course Fae, and only one worker can see the unusual beings and she’s curious to know more. 4/5 stars

Or Perhaps Up by C.S.E. Cooney

A truly lovely and imaginative story, it felt like a dream. A girl drowns in a river and becomes a water fairy. Beautifully written. 5/5 stars

Don’t Let Go by Alana Joli Abbott

This story was cute but not too interesting. It’s set on the Isle of Man, which is a setting I never encountered before. It’ about a girl who likes a boy with a secret. 4/5 stars

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Art by Brian Froud / Not related to this book

The Loophole by L. Penelope

I loved how this was written, but unfortunately it felt incomplete. It’s probably because this story is accompanying a larger work and didn’t do well on its own. I did like the characters though and that one of them was a breath witch, so I may look into the series this story fits into. 3.5/5 stars

The Last Home of Master Tranquil Cloud by Minsoo Kang

This was a lovely, sweet story about a Chinese scholar who stands up for women in a patriarchal society bent on destroying women without an obvious use. Bonus points for fox spirits. 4/5 stars

Your Two Better Halves: A Dream, with Fairies in Spanglish by Carlos Hernandez

Wow, this was wild. It’s a choose your own adventure story so that part was quite interesting, but it lacks quality in writing and characters, and the writer tried to compensate with throwing in random Spanish words. I had fun hopping around, like in a game, so that upped my rating. 3.5/5 stars

Take Only Photos by Shanna Swendson

One of the better stories in this collection. It’s a heartwarming tale of a woman who has mysterious nightly intruders, and then recruits a coworker to investigate what’s going on. 5/5 stars

Old Twelvey Night by Gwendolyn N. Nix

This story was excellent! It’s about an apple tree guardian spirit who dreams of becoming more and spreading its roots. It is also a story about friendship and betrayal, giving a new level to the natural order of things like seasons. 5/5 stars

The Seal-Woman’s Tale by Alethea Kontis

In this story, a selkie is tricked and captured by a troll king who senselessly tortures her every day. I love selkies and it was well written, but something was missing. 4/5 stars

The Storyteller by David Bowles

This story was short and weird and again something more was missing. It’s beautifully written though, and the main character is a Mexican storyteller grandma, I loved that. 3.5/5 stars

Summer Skin by Zin E. Rocklyn

Oh you know how I like weird and sometimes gory things? Well this story has that. It’s about an Indian girl with a weird skin condition who kidnaps an auntie because she has something the girl desperately needs. 4/5 stars

Colt’s Tooth by Linda Robertson

A funny, refreshing story about a boy who experiences a living nightmare after his mother takes him to a barber for a tooth extraction. It’s set in the 1800’s, so I guess barbers did that then. 4.5/5

After calculations, the final rating comes to something like 4.07, and that makes Where the Veil Is Thin one of the better anthologies I’ve read. If you love Fae like I do, go ahead and read this collections, and you’ll find all kinds of faeries and other wicked creatures.

“When you finish reading these stories, you return to our world with new eyes. Every new-budded flower, every firefly, every raven watching you from its perch, becomes more.”

4 stars

 

 

5246094Alana Joli Abbott is the author of three novels, the interactive multiple choice novel app Choice of Kung Fu, and was the writer for the webcomic Cowboys and Aliens II. Her game writing has been featured in Steampunk Musha, the award winning Serenity Adventures, and Dungeon and Dragon magazines. She writes short fiction and nonfiction articles for a variety of print and online periodicals and anthologies. Alana has visited ancient ruins in Turkey, Greece, Ireland, the UK, and Mexico; sung madrigals semi-professionally; studied stage combat; and recently earned her black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate. She lives near New Haven, CT.

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Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching “Empire Strikes Back” at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry. She earned her master’s degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, respectively. Her Order of the Seers was selected as one of The Best Kindle Books of 2014 by Digital Book Today. To date, Mrs. Murphy has published ten speculative fiction novels, short stories, and children’s books.

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