Today I’m excited to share a review for an excellent spec-fic anthology featuring short stories dealing with . . . time! By some really stellar authors. Read on for my mini reviews of each story!
Title: Timely: A Phoenix Fiction Writers Anthology
Author: The Phoenix Fiction Writers
Grace Crandall • E. B. Dawson • Deck Matthews
Nate Philbrick • J. E. Purrazzi • Beth Wangler
And featuring: Katelyn Buxton • Olivia Cornwell • Kyle Robert Shultz
Series: Stands alone but is the 4th PFW anthology. See my reviews for Of Myth and Monster (#3) and Strange Waters (#2)
Different genres across the different stories but they include steampunk, sci-fi, and epic fantasy • Should be enjoyed by most ages • 2021 • 295 pages
Read May 4, 2022 • 5 stars • I originally received an e-ARC from the publisher but I mostly read a paperback copy I snagged off of Amazon. *nervous laugh*
- Clockwork Toymaker by Olivia Cornwell — What a lovely steampunk tale! A toymaker who makes clockwork toys, his friendship with a little girl, and coming to grips with grief and change. Touching moments, family, friendship, and feels. I may have nearly teared up at one point. The clockwork bird was so cute. ^_^ Really enjoyed this one!
- Bermuda’s Belly by J.E. Purrazzi — Aaahh! What a heart-pounding, suspenseful short story. :O Featuring orphans in a pirate submarine and a slowly emerging series of surprises. Pretty sure I forgot to breathe for some of that, especially at the end there! Wow. So intense and well done. Excellent!
- The Timekeeper’s Daughter by Katelyn Buxton — OH MY WORD. This was so whimsical and delightful and I absolutely loved the heroine’s time abilities and everything about the Clock and the kingdom! I just LOVED the setting! (Also, bonus for the winged characters! And I’ve been reading/watching lots of things that feature postal carriers so that was fun on the side. XD) Love!
- The Weight of Dust by Grace Crandall — *muffled shrieking* I was blown away by the creativity in this one with a robot butler character. The story was so unexpected and yet so absolutely gripping! I loved the twists, the way the past was slowly revealed, and the outcome. And just the ATMOSPHERE of it. I felt for each of the butler’s goals and it was honestly super inspiring. This one kept me on the edge of my seat and then made me smile so hard by the end!
- Adamant by Beth Wangler — Oh my goodness! This was a sci-fi retelling of Persuasion and it was absolutely brilliant! I never would have thought of Persuasion in a space setting, but it worked SO well. I loved Fred as an ex-member of the Human Sky Fleet (so fitting!), and how some of the side characters were unique aliens. Things were recognizably Persuasion-ish yet completely unexpected, and very much its own story, and I loved that!
- Daughter by E.B. Dawson — I’M HAVING A FEELING. Actually several, but that’s to be expected whenever I read an E.B. Dawson story, and this one was no exception. I’m almost stressed out about something at the end but at the same time all of the story was just so EPIC and so unexpected that I can’t really be mad. XD I don’t want to spoil this one but WOW, it was so immersive and the characters stepped right off the page and like I said I’M HAVING A FEELING. Intense but magnificent. (Also, sliiight Violet Evergarden vibe. *zips lips*)
- The Hundred Acre War by Kyle Robert Shultz — This is one of only a few non-Afterlands-related stories I’ve read by this author but it was SO immersive! I’m not sure I can say much about this one either, due to not wanting to spoil it (and also, disclaimer: I was a copyeditor for this short story. XD), but it’s one of those stories where you think you know what’s going on and then — BOOM! Every page or so there are new explosive reveals and twistiness and I just adored it! (There may be Winnie-the-Pooh feels but, like, epic. *zips lips again*)
- Into the Crimson Deep by Deck Matthews — A lot of these were steampunk or sci-fi so this one was different as a high-fantasy story, but I loved it just as much! There’s a definite richness to the world and characters, like this is just a window onto so much more. It was suspenseful and exciting and I enjoyed this one a lot, especially the characters! It was vibrant and unique!
- Little Lost Heart Sing by Nate Philbrick — My heart! I hardly even have words for this one, as seems to happen a lot with this author’s stories which wrap around my heart and tug me right into the story. Powerful. Mysterious. Heartfelt. And just so, so beautiful, even as it leaves you going WAIT WHAT. I guess twists are just a theme in this collection! But yeah, this one was amazing too and I’m just speechless!
They’re all just SO GOOD, oh my word! Collections can be so hit-or-miss for me, but I enjoyed each and every one of these stories so much, and would give them all five stars, and they’re all so DIFFERENT while still exploring themes of time. Excellent stories and a great way to try out the styles of these wonderful authors. I just so enjoyed reading these. ^_^ This collection is phenomenal!
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