Tag Archives: Mythology

Red Winter by Annette Marie

Overview
Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy, #1) by Annette Marie

Title: Red Winter
Author: Annette Marie
Series: Red Winter Trilogy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Gods, Japanese mythology, Mythology
Dates read: 30th November – 22nd December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: She was alone in the forest.

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Synopsis

Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess – and not once has she doubted her chosen fate.

Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command – whether she wants him or not.

On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate – but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope… and hope is all she has left.

Thoughts

I bought this novel a while ago because I needed a story that featured a mythology that I’m not so knowledgeable about. It had no idea what to expect and had no idea whether it would be any good. And, boy, am I glad that I bought this novel! It was amazing, unforgettable and left me with a huge grin on my face. One that I probably won’t be getting rid of anytime soon if I’m being honest. Even as I write this review a while after I turned that final page, I still smile every time I think of this novel.

When I read the blurb for this story, I was expecting a medieval, historical style story. One in which the shrines and cultural practices of the past shine through. However, it is a contemporary story based in our world today. It was incredibly different and fun to have a strong belief in gods and goddesses against computers and cell phones. Shrines and archery against other forms of weaponry and buses. It was a gorgeous, wonderful tale that hit me from all different angles. Completely unexpectedly.

There are hints of the beginning of a love triangle in this story. Shiro and Katsuo both represent different aspects of Emi’s life. And although it’s kind of clear that she’ll eventually end up with Shiro, but there is that great tie to Katsuo as well. I love that they reveal more and more facets to Emi’s personality and life that were completely unexpected.

This is one of those stories that unexpectedly impacted me emotionally. In a big way. Emi’s journey and struggles are intense and make you want to give her the worlds biggest hug. It’s kind of tragic. I’m hoping that as the series unfolds there is less tragedy, and a way out of the predicament that she finds herself in. I hope against hope. Otherwise it will just break my heart if it ends more as expected…

<- More Annette MarieDark Tempest ->

Image source: Goodreads

Coyote, Spider, Bat by Steven Saus

Overview
Image result for westward weird book cover

Title: Coyote, Spider, Bat
Author: Steven Saus
In: Westward Weird (Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Gods, Mythology, Vampires, Weird western
Dates read: 20th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Daw Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: That’s what got these men all ready to jump into the arms of your girls.

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Synopsis

Coyote returns home to find her husband killed. Spider leaves home to save his lover. Then they confront Bat.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed the mix of mythologies in this short story. There is a nice balance between Native American and European mythology, whilst also showing the process of settling and colonisation in early America. It’s a really intriguing and well balanced story and one that I would read many more times.

I seriously love the fact that the Gods in this story are stronger than the vampires. But, there is still that horrible sense of colonisation and the beginning of the end. Or at least, a point of change after the grand battle in this short story. It’s a great way to deal with multiple themes. And I think that if I reread this, possibly with a little more knowledge of American history (of which I have none), I’d probably pick up on other great ideas and themes.

Not only is this a great short story. It’s also a great revenge story. One that I look forward to reading again and again in the future.

<- Surveyor of MarsMaybe Another Time ->

Image source: Amazon

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Overview
Hounded :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Hounded
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: CelticMagic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 18th August – 15th September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: <May I have some tea, then?>

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Synopsis

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona running an occult bookshop and shapeshifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbours and customers think this handsome, tattooed Irishman is about twenty-one years old when, actually, it’s twenty-one centuries. Atticus draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants the sword, and he’s been after Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down and Atticus will need all his powers – plus a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of lawyers, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good, old-fashioned Irish luck – to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Thoughts

This story was kind of fun and brilliant. It was filled with action, humour, and my favourite think of all – mythology. In particular, Celtic mythology and the practices of Druids. Don’t get me wrong, the wit and the wonder of the story are thing that I completely love. But it is just all that much better when it’s partnered with some great magic and mayhem. This is one of those books that definitely ticked all of my happy boxes.

Although I’ve always felt a little drawn to Celtic folklore and Druidry, I’ve not really had much exposure to it. So it was nice to not only experience a new folklore / mythos in a book, but to learn so many, many things along the way. I always love when a new fantasy aspect works its way into my reading list. Sadly, I don’t have any of the other books on my shelves… so now I have to wait to throw myself headfirst into this series again, much to my chagrin.

I’ve read a lot of books with great sidekicks. But, I must admit… Oberon has GOT to be my absolute favourite. He is funny, cute and has the exact voice that I imagine my big dog would have (the little one would be WAY more sassy). I love that the sidekick is a dog that can communicate, but rather than giving him a lot of human traits, he’s doglike in all of his desires and drives. I actually bought this book because of the short story The Naughtiest Cherub, which kind of features Oberon in some ways. After all, any series which features a massive dog as a cheerful and happy sidekick and companion… that’s going to make me incredibly happy.

To further enhance my love of this story – Hearne manages to take a lot of the traditional paranormal creatures I tend to come across in many of my fantasy books. But, then he’s added some more Celtic and druidic characters. Including some of the Tuatha De Danan. I love that there is such a heavy Irish tilt to this story, one that I just can’t stop thinking about and quite honestly, just can’t quite get enough of.

<- Clan RathskellerHexed ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Clan Rathskeller by Kevin Hearne

Overview
Clan Rathskeller by Kevin Hearne

Title: Clan Rathskeller
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticMagic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 10th July 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Kevin Hearne
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Or me, if you want to get fussy with the definition.

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Synopsis

This is short story that takes place ten months before the events of “Hounded”, the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, coming 2011 from Del Rey.

Thoughts

This is a fun short story. One that had me laughing and giggling all throughout. Particularly the fact that it’s gnomes pretending to be humans pretending to be elves. Or something along those lines. A little bizarre. A little unique. And just generally enjoyable and funny.

While I was reading this, I did read a lot of the sentences out to my partner. He was confused about what I was reading, but even my little titbits made him laugh. There is just something very satirical and fun about Hearne’s writing that makes me itch to dig out Hounded.

This was a great short story. One which helped to not only whet my appetite for the Iron Druid Chronicles series. It also introduced some of the characters that I’m sure are likely to be a major part of the series (such as the lead character and his trusty sidekick). And now… now I just have to finish a few books before I start a new one…

<- The Grimoire of the LambHounded ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne

Overview
The Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne

Title: Grimoire of the Lamb
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #0.4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticMagic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 13th July 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: I backed out of the cage and left the door open, speaking to him from freedom.

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Synopsis

There’s nothing like an impromptu holiday to explore the birthplace of modern civilisation, but when Atticus and Oberon pursue a book-stealing Egyptian wizard – with a penchant for lamb – to the land of the pharaohs, they find themselves in hot, crocodile-infested water.

The trip takes an even nastier turn when they discover the true nature of the nefarious plot they’ve been drawn into. On the wrong side of the vengeful cat goddess Bast and chased by an unfathomable number of her yowling four-legged disciples, Atticus must find a way to appease or defeat Egypt’s deadliest gods – before his grimoire-grabbing quarry uses them to turn him into mincemeat.

Thoughts

As with the other two Iron Druid Chronicles short stories that I’ve read. This was humorous, funny and something that I really enjoyed. Partly, Oberon managed to carry a lot of this. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a scene in a story as much as his outrage at running from Bast’s cat minions. There was something ironic, funny and a little bit witty about such a moment. Which perfectly sums up this entire short story.

I love that Atticus has a rare books bookshop. And that in this bookshop, there are a series of grimoires that have a lot of potential to really screw things up for the world. The fact that the grimoire that takes centre stage in this short story was thought to be just a series of lamb recipes… like I said, I found this a very humorous book. One that had me giggling throughout.

There was a great mix of mythologies in this. There was Atticus’ Druid nature and ties to the earth. Then there were all of the Egyptian deities running around helping to cause havoc. Definitely a pantheon that I found a little intimidating. Particularly with Hearne’s focus on the more bloodthirsty aspects of this mythology… now I am actually going to start reading Hounded

<- More Kevin HearneClan Rathskeller ->

Image source: Goodreads

Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman

Overview
Trick of the Light (Trickster, #1) by Rob Thurman

Title: Trick of the Light
Author: Rob Thurman
Series: Trickster #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Tricksters, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 16th – 18th May 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc Fantasy
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: It was new.

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Synopsis

An underground chamber is exposed in a seedy, dilapidated house. In the dark cellar, a ritualistic display is revealed: a human skull rests on a cauldron, surrounded by slain chickens and bizarre figurines.

Called to the scene is forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan. She determines that the skull is that of a young, black female. But how and when did she die? Just as Tempe is closing in on answers, another body is discovered: a headless corpse carved with Satanic symbols.

As local vigilantes begin a witch-hunt, Tempe struggles to contain her emotions. But the eventual truth proves more shocking than even she could have imagined.

Thoughts

This has been sitting on my shelf for ages, waiting to be read. Now I’m seriously not sure as to why it took me this damn long to read I love trickster stories. I love tales where all is not as it seems… and this novel managed to combine both of those loves in one gorgeous, neat, little package. One that left me feeling very happy and seriously irritated that I have no other Rob Thurman books on my shelves…

I had already read Snakeskin, a short story about Trixa before I picked up this novel. Which, in hindsight, was a little bit annoying. Because although I think I may have guessed at the twist reveal at the end… I didn’t actually get to guess. The reality of Trixa’s world was already stated very clearly in Snakeskin and made those final moments a little less exciting. Although, there was still a great reveal that I hadn’t quite expected…. Which made me quite happy.

I knew that I was going to love Trixa in this story because of the short story I’d read in the past. What I wasn’t sure of was the supporting cast and storyline that drove along the battles that were faced. Zeke and Griffin are just amazing – I did like Zeke a whole lot more, but I seriously love the tragically flawed characters anyway. Leo is also amazing, but since Zeke and Griffin are in this a whole lot more, it’s their journey and confusion that I appreciate so much. Especially as their past comes out more and more as the tale unfolds.

Trick of the Light is amazing, it is one of the few trickster stories that I’ve read which truly encompasses the idea of a trickster. A being that isn’t good or bad. Isn’t malicious or benevolent. But, rather something in between. A character that is entirely about balance. That has no sides but their own. And that you really just can’t help but love, although, maybe, hope that you don’t quite meet one…

<- SnakeskinTalking Trash ->

Image source: Goodreads

Persephone, or Why The Winters Seem to be Getting Longer by Wendy Froud

Overview
Image result for sirens and other daemon lovers book cover

Title: Persephone, or Why the Winters Seems to be Getting Longer
Author: Wendy Froud
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Lust, Mythology, Romance
Dates read: 16th May 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: I need to see him.

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Synopsis

Persephone is enjoying her husband a little too much… so the winters just keep getting longer and longer as she enjoys herself more and more.

Thoughts

For two pages of writing, this was actually quite intense. Very lustful, very emotional and seriously filled with some great imagery. Honestly, not what I was expecting at all from the title. And definitely not the intensity I was expecting from just two pages.

Although this is a lustful short story, it also made me hungry. The symbolism of pomegranates was rampant throughout this. And I really, really like pomegranates… Froud’s ability to describe pomegranates in such a beautiful, ruby red way was great… and seriously made me hungry.

There are so many different takes on the Hades and Persephone myth in the books that I read. Some are dark, some are about star-crossed lovers. I like that this was all about sexuality and lust. After all, the original Greek myths were more about that than anything else…

<- The House of Nine DoorsTaking Loup ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Wedding of Wylda Serene by Esther M. Friesner

Overview
Image result for my big fat supernatural wedding book cover

Title: The Wedding of Wylda Serene
Author: Esther M. Friesner
In: My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (P.N. Elrod)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Mythology, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 29th October 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: “Bingo,” he said, pointing his index finger at me pistol-style and vocalizing a passable gunshot sound effect as he brought the thumb-hammer down.

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Synopsis

Wylda Serene has never been told no by her doting grandparents. So when she wants her wedding in a cursed club house, they just can’t put their foot down. What follows is a wedding full of insanity and magic. One that will go down in history.

Thoughts

This short story had me laughing out loud. All throughout. It kind of took all the worst things about weddings and turned them on their head. It made for a funny, engaging, ridiculous story that you couldn’t help but relate to. Especially when nothing turns out like you expected. And although everyone gets their happily ever after… it’s certainly not in the way that one would expect.

Between reading this short story and Crazy Rich Asians (at about the same time), I’ve come to the conclusion that the rich are just downright weird. That “polite” society and the weddings / events that they host are just not quite normal. After all, the entire time in this short story a very ill-conceived wedding is being organised and because of this, nothing is quite as it seems.

I have an incredibly unhealthy obsession with mythologies – and Greek mythology is one that is a lot more accessible than many others. But, I did enjoy the fact that some of the minor deities from this mythos take point in this story. It wasn’t about Zeus and his cohort, but some of their lesser-known offspring. It added an extra layer of enjoyment to this story that makes me want to read it again and again and again.

 <- “All Shook Up” ReviewCharmed by the Moon Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Coyote Road edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Coyote Road
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Pat Murphy, Carolyn Dunn, Steve Berman, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Christopher Barzak, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Klages, Patricia A. McKillip, Theodora Goss, Charles de Lint, Katherine Vaz, Caroline Stevermer, Midori Snyder, Michael Cadnum, Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth E. Wein, Kim Antieau, Will Shetterly, Kelly Link, Holly Black, Carol Emshwiller, Jedediah Berry, Jeffrey Ford, Jane Yolen & Kij Johnson
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Short story collections, Tricksters
Dates read: 11th March – 24th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: She handed me a message, one that read I was to be married to a stranger.

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Synopsis

Coyote. Anansi. Brer Rabbit. Trickster characters have long been a staple of folk literature – and are a natural choice for the subject of the acclaimed Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s third “mythic” anthology. Twenty-six authors, including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (Little (Grrl) Lost), Ellen Klages (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters), Patricia A. McKillip (Ombria in Shadow) and Jane Yolen, have crafted stories and poems drawing from cultures and traditions all over the world – each surprising, engrossing, and thought provoking. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess.

The Coyote Road, like its companions The Green Man (winner of the World Fantasy Award) and The Faery Reel (a World Fantasy Award Finalist), is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fantastic fiction.

Thoughts

This collection took a long time to read. Yet, I absolutely adored it. Mostly it took a while to read because there were so many short stories filling the pages, and whenever I finished one, I often went searching for more stories by the authors I was discovering. My wishlist has grown by leaps and bounds since starting this collection.

Like many of the Ellen Datlow collections lining my shelves, the theme and collected authors in this are brilliant. Each and every story is perfectly curated to match into the theme of Tricksters. Often in surprising and confusing ways. After all, the prefect trickster never does what is expected, and many of the stories in this managed to take me by surprise.

I would suggest this collection to anybody who loves short stories, fantasy, mythology, tricksters… really I would just suggest it to almost anyone. There are sad stories and happy ones. Insanely complex tales and ones that are so beautifully simplistic. Definitely one of those collections that I’m going to read again and again.

 <- The Cinderella Game Anthology ReviewOne Odd Shoe Review ->
Image source: Amazon

African Myths & Tales by Flame Tree Studios

Overview
Image result for book cover flame tree studios african myths and tales

Title: African Myths & Tales
Author: Flame Tree Studios
Series: Flame Tree Studios
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Mythology
Dates read: 3rd June – 10th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Flame Tree Studios
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: So Mohammed came out from the bathroom and took the leg and hung it up at the top of the house, and went back to wash.

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Synopsis

Africa south of the Sahara is a land of wide-ranging traditions and varying cultures. Despite the diversity and the lack of early written records, the continent possesses a rich body of folk tales and legends that have been passed down through the strong custom of storytelling and which often share similar elements, characters and ideas between peoples. So this collection offers a hefty selection of legends and tales – stories of the gods, creation and origins, trickster exploits, animal fables and stories which entertain and edify – from ‘Obatala Creates Mankind’, from the Yoruba people of west Africa, to ‘The Girl Of The Early Race, Who Made Stars’, from the San people of southern Africa, all collected in a gorgeous gold-foiled and embossed hardback to treasure.

Thoughts

I’ve never had the pleasure of reading a collection of African mythos before. And now I’m kind of wondering why it took me so long with my obsessions… after all, I love Africa and I love mythologies. And now I’m kind of disappointed that it’s all over… but I’m sure I can find more to add to my shelves.

I honestly bought this book because the cover is pretty. I wasn’t expecting such a fantastic breakdown of African myths and legends to fill the pages. Some of the stories felt like they were slightly awkward in their breakdown, but the general gist was still there and it was still seriously enjoyable. Generally, the stories which lacked a certain level of flow were incredibly short and segued into the next tale perfectly.

African Myths and Tales is a very easy read. It’s one of those books that you don’t need to read in order, but tend to get a little more out of it if you do. The myths are broken into their themes, but they don’t flow onwards from one another. Definitely a collection that I’m going to pick up again and again… learning something new each and every time.

 <- Time Travel Short Stories ReviewAgents & Spies Short Stories Review ->

Image source: Amazon