I’ve never hidden the fact that anthologies and short stories aren’t really my thing. I find that short stories just aren’t long enough to catch my interest but, most often, I can’t find many anthologies that cover a topic that interests me. That is, until Mirrors and Thorns. UMMMMM hello?! Dark Fairy Tales?? YES PLEASE! As soon as I heard about this anthology I knew I had to read it! I was also presented to be a part of the blog tour for this (which is my first blog tour participation ever!) so all of this together was very exciting! Now since this is a collection of short stories, I figured that the best way to tackle the review would be to give you my thoughts on each story with their rating. Enjoy! And I hope you make the choice to pick this one up! Coming from a person who never reads short stories, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed!
YOUNG BLOOD by Kerry E.B. Black – 2.5 stars
This one I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy all that much. It starts off in a courtroom as a boy is being tried for selling off his sister to an elf. Only a few short paragraphs later we are back in time at the alleged event. It all felt a little disorienting and I couldn’t connect with it all that much. It was an ok story, but it felt a little rushed as well. I did enjoy it, but wished for a little more
NOVA AND EMBER by Sarah Nour – 5 stars
This one was just wonderful!!! Just the right amount of character development and setting up of the story. I thought that the basis for the fairy tale was information, entertaining, and suspenseful. We are introduced to two sisters on a festival type day where you had to draw on stones and leave them by the fire. If your stones disappeared overnight then your soul was marked and you would be gone before the end of the year. It all just had this old world feel to it and I absolutely loved this one!!
INHERITANCE by Melanie Noell Bernard – 5 stars
So creepily atmospheric! We meet a woman as she’s trying to sleep in a large house that she’s inherited. She didn’t plan on staying overnight but the place was much larger than she anticipated, and she wanted to tour the place before allowing it to be condemned. She hears a constant “tick” and goes to investigate. What I loved about this character is that she’s such a realist! She’s talking to herself as she makes her way though this mansion in search of the noise, telling herself that ghosts aren’t possible and the worst monsters in the world are people. The twisted ending of this one was frightening for sure! The descriptions were great and, as I said, the atmosphere was my favourite part!
TWICE-MADE VOWS by T.S. Dickerson – 3.5 stars
Not the most original plot line, but still it was a really enjoyable story! A King who loses everything brings the love of his life back from the dead through his newly crowned Queen. But things don’t go as planned. I was enthralled at the beginning of the story! I loved the introduction to the characters and the plot building but, unfortunately, it felt a little rushed and focused on more gore for shock value than a complex story. I know I’m not explaining this right but I can’t find the words. I guess the last half of the story felt a little different climate wise than the beginning. It was a really great short story though and I wish it could have been just a little longer to take care of some of the issues I had with it!
THE SNOW BRIDE by J.M. Ames – 2.5 stars
Hmmmm Out of all these stories I think this is the one that I’m most conflicted about. First of all it was painfully short. There just wasn’t enough time to get into the characters or what was happening. I was also very creepy, but not in the horror sense of the word. It was sexually suggestive (which I’m normally all in for) but it was just done in a rough cringe worthy way. I can definitely see the writing talent with this story though! In only a couple short pages the author set a scene of the setting SO well! And the character types (because none were human) were very interesting. I’m not a fan of this as a short story but i’m intrigued by the authors writing style! I wished it was longer!
THE LIFE & DEATH OF CORA SVANROS by Cassidy Taylor – 5 stars
This one is one of the longer stories in the book and it was wonderful!! We meet sisters, Cora and Elda, as they’re on the run from the horrible man that is keeping them as slaves. Their mother tried to protect them from being taken but failed, and now they’re trying to escape together. Cora, the eldest sister, gives priority to her sisters life and risks getting caught to make sure that Elda escapes as well. One day Cora meets a seer who gives her a look at a prophesy where she uses feathers to exact revenge and gain freedom. But the only way to get to this place is to die first. This was such a great story! There was the relationship of two sisters and the lengths they would go to protect each other. There was the balance of everything good and evil, which gave this story so much depth and connection. And there was even a romance… well as much of a romance that you can fit into a few pages. This story goes along with the theme that was presented in the story Inheritance, which is that the most horrible of monsters are often humans. I really enjoyed this one!! One of my favourites!
THE FORBIDDEN MIRROR by J.K. Allen – 2.5 stars
I can’t really put my finger on why I just didn’t connect with this story. This was a tale about twin girls who were born to rule. Twins had never been born as their heir before and they couldn’t have been more different. One was black haired with dark eyes, while the other was light haired with grey eyes. Their personalities were also very different as well. This was a tale that gruesomely explains that actions have consequences. I guess that I didn’t enjoy this one all that much because it wasn’t really original in any way. It felt like a story that I’ve heard many times before. And it also felt unpolished. It’s not a bad story, I just felt like it wasn’t for me.
SELKIE COVE by Paul Stansbury – 2.5 stars
This one was just a little too slow moving for me. We meet a woman she she’s taking a walk from the inn that she’s staying at. She walks down by the water and meets a man that’s not quite as he seems. She quickly finds out that the man is somehow connected to the inn and the inn keep is connected to him. Something about this story just didn’t connect to me personally. I don’t know if it was the writing style, the pace, the characters. It just didn’t work
ROLAND by J. Lee Strickland – 3 stars
This one was yet another case where it just didn’t work for me. The writing was very well done. It was flowing and descriptive, and very easy to imagine the scenery and the general climate of the story. Unfortunately it was just so very slow moving and wasn’t enough to keep me interested.
OPEN WINDOW by Lucy Palmer – 1 star
….. I’m really sorry to say this but I am SOOOOO confused by this one! The writing was good and all but I honestly don’t understand the point of this story. Whether or not I’ve been entertained by all these, they still seemed to have a point. But this one was just describing a woman and her husband in a very weird way. Sorry, but this one was my least favourite of the whole book.
MARIA MOREVNA AND THE DEATHLESS ONE by S.L. Scott – 4.5 stars
Cudos on the title of this story! It’s one of those catchy titles that immediately makes you want to read it and know what a deathless one is! Luckily the story behind it matched in its intrigue! This one was so good I could have used it as a full length novel! We meet a woman names Maria Morevna who is very beautiful. Her sisters are finding husbands but she won’t settle. Maria refuses to be someones silent and submissive wife. She wants to be her husbands equal. She was sold off to a man and on the way she manages to escape by magical means. Maria was such a strong and wonderful character! She refuses to settle and is willing to do whatever it takes to be seen as an equal and be treated as she deserves. The magical element of this one was also wonderful. This one left me wanting so much more!!!!
THE FALLING ANGELS OF FIFTY-SIX by C.L. Bledsoe – 4 stars
I absolutely loved the writing style of this one! We are in a world where there is an epidemic of falling angels. The angels just fall from the sky for no reason, only in a certain part of America, and when they fall they damage everything in their path. I think that if this author was to write a full length novel they would do wonders! There was such an intense need to push forward and even the smallest of things was interesting. I didn’t necessarily understand the point of the ending at all and that’s where it lost a star rating. It just felt too open I guess. I wanted a little more from the ending. But the story, characters and writing were amazing!
THE ROOMMATE by Edward Ahern – 1 star
Sorry but no. This one didn’t seem to be able to gather a full and complete thought the whole way through. It was so scattered and confusing. Just not for me. At All!
THROUGH THE GATES OF HELL by Stacy Overby – 4 stars
This one was a bit of a surprise! It was very in depth, dark, and twisted. I absolutely loved the writing style and would love to see what this author could do with a full length novel. This is one of the few that I felt as if I had a full version of the story from start to finish and was absolutely satisfied with how much information and action we had. Love this one!
So there is my lengthy review of Mirrors and Thorns! It was kind of hard to say less about some of these as I absolutely loved them. Quite a few had me wanting so much more and falling in love with the authors writing style. Of course, as with any collection of short stories, there were a few that I just didn’t enjoy or connect with. But as a whole I really loved this! Thanks so much to OWS Ink for the chance to read and review this collection! These may have convinced me that I actually DO like short stories!! And thanks for allowing me the chance to be a part of my very first blog tour!
If you enjoy short stories and dark fairy tales, this is a can’t miss experience!!
Until next time, happy reading!