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.- Goodreads
This is an interesting short story collection and the fae. Most of the stories are extremely modern and they mention not the absence of fae but the re-emergence of fae in the modern world. It is a very good touch but for some stories, it was a miss rather than a hit.
My favorite stories of this book were The Loophole by L. Penelope, Glamour by Grey Yuen, and The Last Home of Master Tranquil Cloud by Minsoo Kang.
The Loophole was my top favorite. It had character development, it was detailed with just enough myth that I wanted to read more about these characters in a bigger story. The short story itself ended at a good spot but I want more of it. I want to know the characters’ history, their pains, their futures. I want to see them fight and live. If you never read anything by L. Penelope, this short story is a good introduction.
Glamour is what you get when a detective sees magic before his eyes when investigating a murder. Just like The Loophole, this can be a bigger story. Not one where the detective investigates magic crimes but where he gets sucked into the particular crime mentioned in the story. There was a lot of imagery in this story and the modern spin to fae world was done easily and I was impressed. I have never read anything by Grey Yuen but I would love to.
The Last Home of Master Tranquil Cloud was different. Different in the sense that the way it started did not go in the direction that it ended. I was expecting something else. This is not to say that this was not a good read but it wasn’t as full of fae or even mythology like the other stories in this book. That didn’t really come until the end. I enjoyed where the story was going but unlike The Loophole and Glamour, this read as a prelude to a bigger story.
Overall, I enjoyed this collection a lot more than I thought (I have a hard time with short stories). Each of the authors were unique in how they tackled fae and mythology and their writing styles keep me interested. As I mentioned before, there were some that missed the mark but for me, they were introductions to new authors.
Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood,
Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.- Goodreads
There are books that have a very clear audience and then there are books that do not. This book has a clear audience and I was not the intended audience.
Frying Plantains is a well written, detailed book that is narrated by Kara. I don’t say that the book is about her because it is and then it isn’t. The book focuses on her, her mother and then her grandmother. What ties these stories together is Kara and her growing up but it doesn’t exactly give you a focus on the main picture or point of the novel.
What I mean is Kara’s mother doesn’t have the best relationship with not only Kara but with her mother. You can see from the point of contact that Kara’s mother is trying to make it being a single mother but cannot get past her attitude and in general the chip on her shoulder. This affects her relationship with Kara because she is extremely hard on her.
You can see where she gets this from when you met Kara’s grandmother. However, she isn’t as hard as you think and that is more than likely due to her losing steam. But I slightly digress with my point.
This book gives you a look into the life of a young Canadian/Jamaican girl, who initially you believe is trying to balance being “true” Jamaican. This is the point you start off with but it is quickly lost as Kara gets older. You begin to wonder what is the point of the book? Is it meant to just show a life of a young Canadian/Jamaican girl, is it suppose to show the dynamics of family in the United States or is it just to show you that what you think you know, you really don’t?
When I mentioned earlier that this book was intended for a specific audience, nothing in me believes its audience is for Black women but for other women who may not have had to deal with specific expectations from their family, dealing with the past mistakes of the women in their family and having to grow on your own in all of that.
The fact that Kara is Jamaican plays a background part into this story. It pushes the story to remind you the struggles of an immigrant parent and how they raise their child(children).
Its a good solid story. A good book to read in between books. Its colorful, detailed without being boring and I can see, without a doubt, this book winning some awards.
I recommend reading this book because it provides a different outlook that most people do not even consider or see.
New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings.
These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.- Goodreads
I am trying to expand my reading tastes; especially when it comes to Black or other authors of colors. It is so easy to pick up more white authors especially if they are the ones being promoted more.
So when I came across this book I was extremely excited for it despite my dislike for short stories. With that being said, I wasn’t exactly disappointed in this book; there was a lot of good but then a lot of so so.
Dear Dancer written by Kathleen Alcala was the first short story that showed promise. The author was able to get me interested in the who and what the main character Tater was. There was a backstory that called for more and then ending left a ‘well why’ sitting at the tip of my tongue. This could be extended into a longer story or at least a novella leading to a full novel.
The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu is great as it is. I don’t enjoy reading stories about Djinn as a Muslim they creep me out. This story was no different but beyond that it packed a punch. It was creative and there was a twist that was well thought out. *insert shocked gif* This was good.
Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S. Buckell gave me Fifth Element vibes. Was it as good as the movie, no but it was a solid read that deserves attention not only in the story but in the author.
The remaining stories weren’t bad but they were not my cup of it. They didn’t draw me in nor did they provide the wow factor.
This collection is worth reading because it brings attention to new authors that given a longer word count may be worth investing time into.
Overall, since there were more eh stories than good ones
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.- Goodreads
*This review is for all three books.
I am going to start with the rating. The first two books, I gave 3 Pickles while the last book I gave 2 Pickles.
The thing about this series is although it is considered science fiction, there wasn’t a whole lot of science fiction in it. Yes, there is space, mathematics and the use of advanced technology but all those things came second. They weren’t are prominent in these books as I thought there would be. I don’t necessarily have an issue with this as I am not the biggest science fiction fan and am slowly trying to get into that genre. However, strangely enough I wanted more of it. The really cool thing was the use of math in this series but I wanted more about the technology and how it is used and who uses it in what way. For the most part, it was brushed over.
What I loved about the book was the culture. Ms. Nnedi may not breakdown every tribe in full detail. But the ones that are focused on in this book had a lot of detail, imagery and life. It didn’t feel like I was reading a history lesson. My only issue with this is because this is a short story, there was still so many questions I had in regards to each tribe. I am glad Ms. Nnedi didn’t go so far into the history because it would have taken away from the book but a companion book would be fantastic for this series.
But here is why I gave the book 3 & 2 Pickles.
She is an amazingly talented, strong and smart girl. At 17 years old, she does a whole lot to prove herself not only knowledgeable but also capable. My issue with her is she whines and complains every step of the way. I get not wanting to change but her who action is change. She set herself up for change and then when there are consequences to the decisions she makes, she starts having a fit. Crying and all of that. This is throughout all of the books. She has some character development, which you see in book two but in book three, I didn’t see it at all. Bigger things are at stake in book three and she just a short of falling out on the floor and kicking her feet screaming.
Binti is way better than this and the fact that all personal growth stopped at book two bothered me. Does she increase her knowledge? Yes. . . reluctantly but yes. But did she grow as a person not necessarily. She is a child and most if not all her actions reminded me of such. With that knowledge and everything she went through, she didn’t mature enough. Her constant complaining and crying really made the last book more difficult to read.
So overall, the entire series gets a total of 2.7 Pickles if you average and total. I enjoyed it for what it was and really love Ms. Nnedi writing style and have every intention of reading her other books.
But Tanya, I thought you didn’t like short stories? I don’t. Short stories are not my go to reads but that doesn’t mean I won’t read them and that there aren’t some good ones floating around.
So this is an appreciation post, so to speak, of short stories that ruined my life I love.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
One of my favorite short stories that was able to bring out a range of emotions from curiosity, intrigue to oh snap. Although it doesn’t answer the questions that I had in mind, while reading the book, I didn’t necessarily needed it answered. It would have been nice to know but I think what makes this short story great is the author took time to present the world as it is and what happens during a particular time as opposed to building a backstory and creating an ending that leaves you wanting more.
This short story is well written and I felt satisfied once I finished reading and that is what I look for in short stories.
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
Small backstory. I read this book in high school and I remember exactly how I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the ball to dropped. I was so sucked into the story. I had mixed feelings for Mrs. Mallard’s up until she gets by herself and her true feelings come out. There was sense of joy because you hear and read so many stories about women during that time that you’re like, yeah.. good for you! But here is the kicker. When we got to the end of the book, I laughed so loud in my classroom, I got the death stares. And the teacher asked me, why I found that so funny. And I said “the irony of the whole thing. The people were so sensitive around her so caring for her heart and her lost not realizing that she is now the happiest woman in the world but it was taken away from her so fast that yes, she died of a broken heart but not because of the “great” news.”
To this day, I will never forget that or the story. It showed me how powerful emotions can be. But most importantly, this author was able to bring you at such a high and just like Mrs. Mallard, bring you down so fast that you have to catch your breath. The build up to the end was fantastic and grade A work.
Hello Moto by Nnedi Okorafor
This story took me by surprised and what surprised me about it was how I didn’t want a backstory or more information on the characters, I wanted to know the outcome. The author was able to develop the characters and provide more than enough information on them that you know who you are rooting for and why.
There was a build up, that tied such detailed imagery, without you feeling the author was doing too much to get nowhere. I loved the combinations of modern times, technology and witchcraft. It was done tastefully and it was a great introduction to this author.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
This is my top favorite short story ever written. I cannot tell you enough, how hard I ship for this story and how passionate I am about any retelling done. If you do it wrong, I will call you out on that. But back to the original story, when I first read this, which was crazy young, my thought was Ichabod Crane was a lame but didn’t deserve what may have happened to him.
I loved the historical aspect of the book i.e. the headless horseman is rumored to be a ghost of a Hessian trooper that got his head shot off by cannon during the American Revolutionary War. I loved the setting, the details the author puts into the book. I was transported into the world; I always am when I read this book. A little side note: I went to see a ballet perform this short story and it was one of the best live performances I have ever . . . ever seen in my life.
The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 1
I am considering this a collection of short stories even if most of the stories are 3 lines deep. The words in this tiny book are extremely powerful and relatable, which took me by surprised. If nothing else, this book reminded me that it doesn’t take a whole lot of words to move you. It doesn’t take a whole lot to bring out a memory or put you in a specific space or see what the author wants you to see. I loved this book and bought it. Volume one and two.
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
Now what would be a list of favorite short stories without mentioning Edgar Allan Poe.I share an interesting memory of this short read because it happens to be my little brother’s favorite as well. And us cornballs enjoy spotting this story reference in almost every movie or t.v. show. Think the Spongebob “Squeaky Boots” episode. But this short story was the first thing I have ever read from EAP. It was and it still is creepy but it is one of those creepiness that slowly walks up to you and surprises you with how far it has come.
Short stories are not my thing and I will keep saying that no matter short stories I read. It takes a lot to get me to love it. Most short stories have no problem, bringing me into the world. The issue is always the ending. I like conclusions. I like knowing that the story is done as opposed to me wanting the story to be longer. Short stories should leave you in awe that the author can pack so much into so little amount of pages.
The short stories above are simply the most memorable to me but there are other good ones out there. Maybe one day my list will grow.
In this collection of dark tales lives will be savagely twisted, inner demons will be reawakened and deception will reign supreme. A quest for a fix turns bloody for two heroin addicts as their vicious endeavors land them into a gruesome pitfall. A marketing executive and car salesmen are deceived by the ones they love. Armed with rage, they set out to slaughter those responsible. -Goodreads
I don’t know exactly what I was expecting with this collection. It was a suggested read from Amazon, while I was on vacation. I am really glad I read this book.
It literally gives you a taste of what the author can do. Seriously… all you get is a taste because each of the stories take care to not dip too much into a specific character or the overall plot.
The first story called Junk for Two was a great start to the book. Ross leaves no hints to where the story is going and I am completely for that. It provided enough of a backstory and details regarding the main character, Trev, that I didn’t feel as if something was missing. As I was reading this short story, I had a sense of satisfaction, which is my biggest issue in short stories.
Story 2, Iris, was extremely quick and came off more as a shock factor then a story that can grown to become a full novel or even novella. With work it can become something bigger but in its current state, it doesn’t leave much to be desired. But it does get credit for showing off writing skills. Ross can build a story, so it is easy to get sucked in.
My favorite story, which happens to be the last is story 3, Phil. Sticking with the obsessive theme, Phil provides a much more detailed and intense story-line than the previous stories. This story can become not just a single novel but a series if written correctly. What I loved about it was how easy it was to see the events happening. I don’t mean predictability even though it is there slightly. What I mean is the flow was so easy and seamless that getting sucked into the story and wanting more was inevitable. If the first two stories does not show you the skill, Ross has then this one does.
Overall, I enjoyed this quick read. I would recommend it as a introduction to Kyla Ross.
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