Review by Knicky Laurelle
Author name: The Random Writers
Book Title: A Seeming Glass: A Collection of Reflected Tales
How can I read the futures if I cannot see your skin?’ Six mysterious swans glide on a holographic pond in a totalitarian capital city. A terrified girl awaits her part in a ritual that could change the future… and the past. A dancer in ancient Jerusalem mourns her maimed sister and prepares for the performance of her life. A sword of legend sends its wielder back through the fiercest battles in history. A freshly qualified vampire hunter experiences the practical side of his vocation. Fourteen intriguing, dramatic, humorous and unsettling tales, inspired by existing stories and reflecting the breadth of storytelling from Greek myth to Hammer Horror, via fairy tales and Arthurian legend.
Length: 264 pages
Release date: 13 July, 2014
Available formats: Paperback and Kindle from Amazon
Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Seeming-Glass-Collection-Reflected-Tales/dp/1500673579
“For thy it round and hollow shaped was, Like to the world it selfe, and seem’d a world of glas.”
No finer words than these from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen capture the ethos of the short fiction collection, and debut tour de force of The Random Writers, A Seeming Glass. A mirror reflecting the truth of what could be and might’ve been, the universal that underscores every story ever told.
Even the most original work in this anthology echoes the oldest fairy stories, myths and legends we know, from Arthurian legend to Scottish, Irish and Greek mythologies, a genderbent take on the biblical Samson and timeless classics such as Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White.
This anthology is an experience, one that fully satisfies. The Rising Tide by Lorraine Wilson is deeply eerie and unsettling, and wildly contrasts in mood and temperament with the crackling-hot badassery of Karen Ginnane’s Samsara. Mirror Skin is an amazing contribution by Shell Bromley, and as the name suggests is perfectly in keeping with the reflective theme.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Straw Man by Martin J. Gilbert, and was absolutely thrilled to see Matthew Willis’ No Loyal Knight and True, a story inspired by one my favourite poems, The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson. Each story builds on the themes of the ones they’re inspired by, showing a different truth, an alternate aesthetic, old paths and endings made new.
And none more so than A Lamentation of Swans by J. A. Ironside. This vividly reimagined telling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Wild Swans, set in a futuristic, totalitarian world of transhuman slavery, technology and even possible cannibalism, is simply astounding in imaginativeness and execution; while being utterly faithful to the spirit of the original tale.
Harrowing and inventive, I’ve never read anything like it, and it was my favourite story in this entire anthological work. This is a mirror, A Seeming Glass. Held up to stories of old, reflecting possibilities of a different kind, and echoing the constants that remain true in the stories we all love.
Overall Orb Rating
4 Roses – Bloom and Grow (I enjoyed the splendour)
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