Genre: Mythology


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Anthology We Have Been Waiting For: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

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The Anthology We Have Been Waiting For: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
Ellen Oh
Genre: Anthology, Mythology, YA
Publication date: June 26th, 2018
by Greenwillow Books

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Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings: these are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. 

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renée Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place.

From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.
-A copy was provided by Greenwillow Books for review-

There have been so MANY amazing anthologies on my radar this year but A Thousand Beginnings and Endings might have been my most anticipated for the year. 

I’ve talked this about a lot so I sometimes feel like a broken record, but it is an important point and a huge part of my love and excitement for this anthology so it is worth repeating. I grew up without much rep which was weird and confusing. Obviously, this review is not meant to be an analysis of my trauma but even as a teen, this was so evident when I’d open all those angel/vampire books that were soaked in Christian and western myth. Myths I grew up on, or other people grew up where never part of mainstream media even though they were all cool and all fascinating with potential to make for amazing stories! 

My first taste of seeing Hindu mythology on paper was when I read The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. It was very validating and freeing to see a part of my culture in a book! ANYWAY, SO. THIS ANTHOLOGY. It is a collection of Asian myths and folklore, written by Asian authors. We aren’t just talking East-Asian (as such is often the case when people say ‘Asian’) WE’RE TALKING South-East Asian, South-Asian, ALL OF THE THINGS. 

I’ve now written three paragraphs without saying a single thing about the actual stories but you know, anthologies aren’t really easy to review and a long-ago gave up on trying to review every short story in an anthology.

Here is what I can say. This stories in this anthology are written by a group of talented authors. I didn’t love every single one of them but I did like all of them very very much and loved a good deal of them.

Top 3 Stories

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi

Chokshi is known for her re-creations of Indian folklore but this time she is re-creating a Filipino folklore about a mountain spirit, a diwata and a villager who fall in love. There is vengeance, forbidden love, heartbreak, betrayal and death. Basically, all the good things. 

The Smile by Aisha Saeed

I am not really sure what to say about about The Smile other than it was just really well-written? It is about Naseem who Prince Kareem’s courtesan. After a series of incidents, she slowly becomes aware of how her relationship with Prince Kareem has basically left her with no control over her life and choices. She then begins the fight to regain control over her life and her freedom. Basically, The Smile is very empowering and just one of the best in this anthology.

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon

THIS ONE IS ALSO A FORBIDDEN STORY between a cow herder and an immortal goddess. Our main character has never had a flirtation with a mortal like her sisters but when a slight flirtation turns into full-fledged love, she must deal with the consequences. The Crimson Cloak has no vengeance like Forbidden Fruit but it is much more heartbreaking and melancholic. 

 

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Posted by on 03/14/2018 • 7 Comments

I never read Rick Riordan’s books. The short story is that there was no real reason to why I didn’t pick the books up. The longer (and a little pointless) story is that when The Lightning Thief first came out, it had a completely different cover then what it has now. I was in the middle school and our librarian told us all about it. I grew older but it stayed in the corner of my mind, I was in eternal search of the book with the white cover and never realized until a year ago (seriously!!!) that that book was the same one written by Rick Riordan that was so beloved now. Anyway, long pointless story short, I am weird and specific about what I read.

So I missed Rick…

Not really memorable: Freya by Matthew Laurence

Not really memorable: Freya by Matthew Laurence

Posted by on 03/29/2017 • 1 Comment

I feel pretty let down by Freya? The question mark is there because I am not even entirely sure how I feel, just that Freya wasn’t what I wanted it to be when I was looking for a book with norse myth in it. I love books that are set in the modern world and feature heavy doses of mythology and yet, while Freya-the book-was absolutely adorable at times, Freya as a character was kind of annoying. She was obnoxious and while it sometimes made sense since she was a goddess, it could also get really annoying.

I like the contrast the author attempts with her being badass and feminine at the same time, but I also feel like he wasn’t entirely successful with crafting Freya’s character as a blend of those characteristics. She…

Arthurian Myth Meets World War II: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Arthurian Myth Meets World War II: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Posted by on 03/24/2017 • 1 Comment

If you’ve been following along with discussions surrounding World War II books in the community, you will already know this but there aren’t many World War II books out there with Jewish main characters. Not only does The Metropolitans have a (German-American) Jewish main character, it also has Japanese-American, first nations & Irish-American main characters. The page space is split up b/w the four characters and while I cannot accurately speak for any of the rep since I am not from any of those groups, I did feel that it was done pretty well. (If you are from any of those groups and feel differently, I’d be eternally grateful if you choose to let me know so I may edit this review to reflect that!)

One of my favorite childhood books…

ARC Review: Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

ARC Review: Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

Posted by on 12/02/2016 • 10 Comments

I am not entirely sure what I was expecting when I dove into Poison’s Kiss. I was hoping to like it because I was intrigued by the premise but even when I was excited to read it, a small part of me was worried that it would not do justice to my culture. As a story, Poison’s Kiss is fine. The romance is way too insta but it is engaging, there aren’t many plot holes and the characters are relatable. The world building is EXTREMELY lacking though. From the small things to the bigger, general things, the world building needs work and this book would have benefited from some Indian beta-readers who might have been able to help fine-tune some of those issues.

The rest of this review will…

Review: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Review: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Posted by on 07/17/2015 • 10 Comments

One word: WOW.

I seriously didn’t expect this to be so good. I thought I’d get an everyday run-of-the-mill mythology story featuring some unlucky ancient Egyptian schmuck, but what I got instead was an entertaining, refreshing, action-packed adventure that left me not only at the edge of my seat but also in tears and in stitches.

By the end of the book, I thought of one thing and one thing only: where’s the next book, I need an ancient Egyptian prince for a boyfriend, maybe if I get lucky I can enter some tomb and magically find a handsome mummy, this is what the mummy movies should have been (oops, I’m not committing some sort of heresy with that statement, am I?)

I’ve always been interested in Ancient Egypt – their culture, their values,…

Series Spotlight : Thrones & Bones Series by Lou Anders

Series Spotlight : Thrones & Bones Series by Lou Anders

Posted by on 05/26/2015 • 2 Comments

Today I am spotlighting the Thrones & Bones series by Lou Anders. It is getting closer to the publish date for the second book in the series, Nightborn. This is a fantastic MG series that I think many people will enjoy. I have not yet read the second book yet, but I am almost done with the first one, Frostborn, and am really enjoying it.

Frostborn is the first in the series, and so far it is great! The characters are interesting, but more than that, I love the visual imagery that I get from it. I can imagine the lands and the Giants, and everything that is going on. The story is wonderful and I am excited to continue on the adventure and see where…

Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Posted by on 05/21/2015 • 7 Comments

This book was quite fun. I loved the whole Genie idea, but having them live in the real world among others. I thought that the twist on how wishes work and how their powers worked was really cool. This is not your typical Aladdin type tale. It’s got all sorts of secrets, teen romances, drama, and fun. I really liked getting to know the characters and the history of the Jinn. It wasn’t my favorite book ever, but it was definitely one that I enjoyed and am excited for the rest of the series.

Azra was a character that I liked getting to know. She has never embraced her destiny as the other Jinn do. In fact, she just wants to be normal, even though that will never happen. She…