Spells of Wonder Anthology Review

When sword and sorcery fail, only words remain.

Spells of Wonder Anthology

Dialogue focused scenes drive stories inward, emphasizing the character’s inner conflict.

Fans of the fantasy genre will likely find this anthology a refreshing change from the more common forms. Epic battles and grandiose adventures litter these pages, but almost always on the horizon, a backdrop for the story at hand. Warriors may fight, but find strength alone cannot win the day. Instead they must rely on cunning and insight. Often it’s their own perspective that defeats them, until they learn to see things another way. Summaries help things along, covering days or weeks in a matter of moments. Dialogue frequently plays a critical role, either hinting or bluntly stating the meaning of the story. But blunt or subtle, light or dark, every story has a certain charm.

+Strong Dialogue
+A nice mix of mellow and serious, simple and elaborate
*Atypical Fantasy Plots


The Amethyst Carekeeper 3/5

By Barbara Denz

To save her new home, Carekeeper Elissa must finish the conversation she fled many years ago.

+Strong Dialogue
*Mellow Conflict
-Somewhat anticlimactic


The Arrow’s Flight 4.5/5

By Stephen L. Burns

A story so layered in secrets, audiences may not realize the truth until the end.

+Strong Dialogue
+Crisp Scenes
+Strong Narrative Techniques


Istar-Zu 2/5

By D.A. Bach

A quest that begins full of questions, and hurries to end, hinting at future adventures.

+Strong Descriptions
*Familiar Plot
-A little predictable


The Siege of Kintomar 3.5/5

By Millea Kenin

Desperate rulers discover a grim truth, and struggle to atone.

+Strong Narrative Techniques
+Strong Dialogue
*Challenging Read
-Overly ambitious in scope


Stealing Souls 2.5/5

By Laurel K. Hamilton

Long awaited revenge blossoms into a maze of monsters and traps.

+Strong Characters
*Familiar Plot
-Low Tension


Ladyknight 3.5/5

By Susan Hanniford Crowley

Donning the mantle of a hero, a young woman learns she wears it well.

+Strong Characters
+Strong Descriptions
*Familiar plot patterns


Festival Night 3/5

By Harry Turtledove

Besot with good fortune, a young man fails to heed the warnings, and hurries to a tragic end.

+Strong Use of Summaries
*Challenging Writing
-Slow Pacing


Kayli’s Quest 2.5/5

By Paula Helm Murray

Those who challenge a rural wizard and a dragon soon learn their folly.

+Rich Character History
*Humble Narrative
-Low Tension


The Seven Year’s Night 3/5

By M.H. Lewis

In a world of magic, only myth can guide the wayward home.

+Strong imagery & symbolism
*Distant character
*Vague themes/meaning


The Dance of Kali 4/5

By Richard Corwin

All things must end, lest a worse fate befall them.

+Strong Themes/Ideas
*Minimalist writing style
*Quick Read


Ancient Heartbreak 2.5/5

By Diann Partridge

When power wakes, dreams end, leaving a hard task, and a heavy price.

+Strong Relationships
*Familiar plot
-Underdeveloped Themes/Meaning


Hero Worship 3/5

By L.D. Woeltjen

A simple ambition leads to harsh realities and difficult choices.

+Strong Themes
*Mellow tone
*Emphasis on internal conflicts


A Matter of Life 3.5/5

By Cathy J. Deaubl

Wounded, he sought help. Healed, he searches for an enemy.

+Strong microcosm storytelling
*Mellow Tone
*Serious, moral focus


The Moon Who Loved the Man 3/5

By Robin W. Bailey

Bereft, a young man runs from his pain, until something takes pity upon him.

+Strong Descriptions
*Mellow, serious tone
*Slow pacing


Last Quarrel 2.5/5

By Dorothy J. Heydt

An injured warrior refuses to give up.

*Slow, Mellow Narrative
*Summary focused
*A humble story within an epic backdrop


Crooked Corn 2.5/5

By Deborah Wheeler

A warrior learns new ways to fight, and finds her way.

*Mellow narrative
*Clear cut themes
-A little predictable


Next Time…
Codex Alera Series Review

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