Thursday, April 27, 2017

Read for Fun: Fellowship of Fantasy - Fantastic Creatures

Fellowship of Fantasy: Fantastic Creatures is an anthology put together by the members of a Facebook group that I'm part of too. This is not a review request. From what I had seen, it looked like fun, and it was.  I'll look over a couple of the stories here in a paragraph or so each.

These are the ones that came to mind first. I suppose that means I found them the most memorable. However, it does not mean that these are the only ones I liked. While looking back over the table of contents, I decided that I liked basically all of them. Out of 21 stories, there was only three or four that I didn't like, or did like but felt were too incomplete to count as a full story.

"Three Steaks and a Box of Chocolates"
This is a fully formed short story; the setting in the desert region has a tactile quality and two central characters are impressively developed in little time. The plot has a solid set up and an intriguing build up to the reveal of the creature. The nature of the conflict is funny, cute and realistic. It has a fully conclusive ending which I like.

I'd say more about it but there's a minor mystery element involved that is part of the story's charm. Suffice to say that Burt is telling the truth when he says "Fluffy" is not a cat.

"The Golden City Captives"
This one has interesting world building in its fantasy aspects. The nature and underpinning of fairy society is one such aspect and how it can be exploited by outsiders is a fine twist. Then there's the mechanic of how shapeshifters are "born". It leads me to think about the why and the history while enjoying watching it happen.

The story also provides a glimpse of the human society which influences these factors, and, in turn, is influenced by them. I want to use the phrase "overflowing climax consequences" because it develops to a grander scale than I expected. The initial conflict is completed but it flows so well and so quickly into another that I was disappointed when it ended. Kinda of like screeching the brakes; I want to see more.

"Adventurer's Heart"
I found a classic fantasy-adventure role playing game in this one. There's this hunter on a vengeance-drive monster hunt. She happens upon a quest, truly like a game, and has to complete a chain of deals and kill a monster or two for someone else before she has the proper equipment to start her own hunt. It's a lot of fun to read.

Once again, this short story feels more like one part of a bigger story than anything self-contained. It's like the first episode of a season. If the author felt inclined to make the rest of the "season" then I would be interested in reading it. The protagonist and her world is that well established and interesting.

"Destiny's Flight"
I get a "fantasy version of the Crusades" feel from this one. A knight and "miracle man"(kind of like a lay cleric) escort a messenger to her destination. The knight has his armor and sword fighting, the miracle man effectively has spells for healing/buffing etc. and the messenger has a quarter staff and her griffin. They fight an evil knight and his own mount who want to kill the messenger.

There's also a budding romance and it has a foil in a happily married couple. It's a nice narrative counterbalance to the action. An even measure of both makes the characters "pop" as human (or griffin, as the case may be).

It feels conclusive, more so than the previous two, but it also feels like this setting and its results could be used to tell more stories.


Trickster Eric Novels gives "Fellowship of Fantasy: Fantastic Creatures" an A+

Click here for the next book review (a request): Holindrian

Click here for the previous book review (request): Close Encounters of the Rubber Duck Kind

Brian Wilkerson is a independent novelist, freelance book reviewer, and writing advice blogger. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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