While there wasn’t a story in this small collection that I fell absolutely in love with, I liked reading them all (most of the time). I felt they were all worth reading – which is not always the case with anthologies – even if it would have been nice if there was one among them that I connected with more strongly.
Where Shadows Meet Light (Rachel Swirsky)
The ghost of Princess Diana has traveled to the USA, where she ends up in the house of Jeffery and Ray. Jeffery himself has always dreamd of being Princess Diana himself, now Diana becomes fascinated by him.
Where Shadows Meet Light builds on a very strange idea, I think – I wonder how Swirsky came up with it? In any case, it’s an atmospheric story that is very soft and also very sad – much like Diana’s ghost herself. Nevertheless, I didn’t entirely connect with it emotionally.
The Wizard’s Calico Daughter (Eilis O’Neal)
Anya lives with her father in a small, unassuming house. Or at least it looks unassuming and small from the outside. Inside it is pretty much endless – and yet, Anya would like to explore the outside.
I very much liked the house. And the cat, of course. I also appreciated that the ending didn’t get overly dramatic. The general idea was nice and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t leave me wanting more (not that it had to): it was good that it was “just” a short story and not a novel. Altogether: very sweet.
And the Blood of Dead Gods will Mark the Score (Gary Kloster)
Woody though he left Huck forever behind, but then his ex is suddenly back, suggesting one last job together: One last theft of a god’s blood and they’d be set for life. But of course things are never as easy as that.
The story was a bit a mixed bag of beans for me. I struggled with the narrator’s voice, especially in the beginning – the tone just caught me on the wrong foot. And it took me too long to find my bearings in this world and to realize what was going on. I generally liked that Woody turned out to be trans, but at the same time, I didn’t feel like that this was always well handled. But I did like the concept with the blood of the gods.
Stem, Stone, and Bone (Deb Taber)
The people in Jacinta’s village are hungry and poor. The Mineral Men promise to give them something that can change that – but, as Jacinta soon realizes, their magical support comes at a very steep price.
The story is set in a very interesting world, though I did wish that it was less “exotic country equals magic country” in its setting. Especially since Taber is white herself, as far as I know. But the story definitely impressed itself on me. There were many good ideas here. And I found Xoch very intriguing (and not just because of his tattoos – but they helped). So, definitely worth reading.
Summarizing: Good, but not great collection of stories.