Book Review: "A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court" edited by Scott Sandridge

Fun, Macabre, Urban Fantasy—Great Summer Reading!

I have to admit that I greatly enjoyed this collection. Generally I read straight fantasy novels which I burn through in a couple days, but the texts collected here are rich enough that it’s best to take them in small doses. The stories themselves are linked through the inclusion of some kind of faerie element. In some ways, these faeries are similar, but each author is given free reign to visualize the faeries as s/he desires. I noticed a couple of the reviewers mentioned that this culminated in an “uneven” result, but I wouldn’t say that. I liked the different approaches since it allowed for variance in the collection while still holding to a common theme.

Take note that this is not a children’s book in any sense of the word. The rape scene in “Wormwood” is pretty disturbing, and I’m not entirely sure I was left satisfied by the comeuppance endured by the perpetrator. But this is not a criticism, merely an indication that this is a collection with edge. If Edgar Allan Poe had written faery tales, the result might have been similar to many of the stories in this collection.

I was frequently impressed with the writing as well (although, again, that varied from story to story). Generally speaking editor Scott Sandridge has compiled a very talented group of writers for this collection, and I would be highly interested in examining other works by these writers.

It’s very difficult to include magic in a tale while retaining the involvement of the reader. Introducing a fantastical moment in an otherwise modern/familiar tale requires a certain slight of hand not incorporated in other writing styles. All the stories in this collection walk that fine line admirably. They spend a great amount of effort establishing a realistic ambiance, and then the faery dust is lightly sprinkled just enough to add wonderment and flavor, but not so heavy to ruin the overall composition.

Give it a read, and you might find yourself looking twice at the next fox hole or mushroom circle you see on a nature walk!

By the way, I'd love to see all the writers involved with this join my Heroic Fantasy Facebook Group!  Please authors, do not hesitate to contact me!

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