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Lost Gods edited by Joanne Hall and Dolly Garland

Lost Gods edited by Joanne Hall and Dolly Garland
4.5
Book Name: Lost Gods
Author: Edited by: Joanne Hall and Dolly Garland. Stories by: Kerry Buchanan, Charlotte Bond, Lindsey Duncan, Terry Grimwood, Steven Poore, Gaie Sebold, Anna Smith Spark, and Allen Stroud.
Publisher(s): Kristell Ink
Formatt: Paperback / Ebook
Genre(s): Fantasy / Anthology
Release Date: March 1, 2021

They have slept for centuries.

Buried. Forgotten. Lost.

Until they awake. Or are awoken…

When the deities of old return, will they bring blessings or destruction to a time that no longer remembers them?

Should they be left to lie in peace, or used for our own ends? Are they gods, or monsters?

What lies out there in the realms of the lost gods?

Do you often ask yourself, “What should I read next?

No matter the genre, an anthology, written by multiple authors is the perfect way to discover new favorites. A sampling of talent and styles from authors you might not have seen otherwise. They’re also perfect for short term commitments and busy schedules. You can read the contents in any order you like and skip around to suit your mood. Short fiction, well done, conveys a message or experiments with themes and requires the author to convey important elements in fewer words. It’s one of my favorite fantasy mediums and is a staple of my reading diet. You may find selections from authors you’ve already read and love, whether building on worlds they’ve created or something completely fresh and new. Many collections center on a theme so it’s easy to find one that’s right up your alley.

In Lost Gods we find a treasure of great stories of mythological creatures and gods of every description. Lost, exiled, trapped, forgotten, or just misunderstood. I found them all to be well done and it’s my pleasure to highlight a bit of thoughts on each here for you. No matter your style preferences, you are sure to find a story that resonates with you and perhaps look up a new author or two and check out all their work.

In Anna Spark Smith’sleading contribution, “Water”, we are treated to her hallmark of alternating staccato and lilting prose like poetry, which will make your heart ache for a trapped Selky. Wife to the man who withholds her skin and mother to their young son. This first-person point of view tale pits a mother’s heart against her very own nature. A visceral punch to the feels. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful. If you love her epic grimdark, or would like to sample her work, this story is one you shouldn’t miss.

“Hunting Fire” by Lindsey Duncan combines two strange aspects. An alien people of the ice and a dangerous god who brings a killing heat. But is it a malicious attack or the naivety of a child?

“A Village Temple” by Gaie Sebold is a trope flipper. A priestess is demoted to a far flung and remote temple where she will assume the duties of the priest there who has passed away. What she discovers there will turn the very foundations of the people’s faith in their deity upside down.

“A Ward of Sand and Bones” by Laura Gregory is set when Egyptology was the rage in the upper crust of the Edwardian era. Many a desecration took place in parlors and ballrooms for the titillating amusement of the ton. A young woman with a crippling deformity, must watch from the shadows as her cousin, a fresh new debutante, hosts the unveiling of a mummy. At their own peril.

“The Gods of Not Very Much” by Steven Poore is a very humorous look at mortals who aspire to become new gods. The old gods are fading into obscurity and those among mankind with peculiar gifts seek to usurp them. But the old gods aren’t as oblivious to these pretenders as it would seem. A delightful read with a surprising and darkly humorous end.

“Don’t Follow” by Charlotte Bond was a favorite as an in-depth twisting of a very old fairy tale. This one takes the “Pied Piper” to a new level. The tale is told from the perspective of a young village girl and deeply personalizes the peril of her village’s plight. A plague of rats that threaten to starve them all in the coming winter.

“The Daemon” by Allen Stroud is a tale of a woman who accidentally summons a daemon into her flat with some deadly consequences.

“Apprehension” by Courtney Privet brings us a delightful tale of an outcast elf with a bounty on her head, and a forgotten and lonely god who is living with a very peculiar curse and is bound to a dragon. A magnificent dragon. (Always a bonus point for me with a lovable dragon.) Its prose pulls you quickly from fear into joy and back again the loneliness. Prepare for the excellently done ups and downs.

“Crapgod” by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt is a delightfully unique, urban fantasy horror combo. A sanitation engineer is taken unawares by a discovery in an outdated and failing sewer system. Full with every euphemism and joke you can imagine regarding crap, it’s quite dark, funny, and cleverly written.

“Jam and Jerusalem” by Ellen Croshain gives an accounting of a god of war and his war-gods-of-hell cousins come to fetch him home after he retired from the business and opened a bakery in a Yorkshire hamlet. A delight from the first word to the last.

“The Story Ihy” by Terry Grimwood is a very well written tale told in first person point of views between a husband and his wife. Estranged by a war, the battle-weary husband finds an ancient viol while on leave in Europe and when he brings it home, things take a dangerous turn. The characterization within such a short work is center stage and its fast pacing left me breathless.

“Shades of Perdition” by Kerry Buchanan is refreshing. The main character is someone we can relate to. Her unusual tale of coming up through the ranks of the typing pool to shoveling dragon dung (yes, that’s a promotion), is both amusing and quite surprising. It’s also rather insane and dangerous, leaving you with a smile on your face.

“Facing Sunset” by Chris Halliday is a visceral dive into a dark story in an urban setting which features a very strange mural on a garage door in Bristol. It really makes you think about how much power is in belief and how true hatred can draw evil from across thousands of miles and millennia of time.

“The Runaway God” by Gareth Lewis took me back to the Thief-City and I was delighted with this addition to the world of Nexi. After searching for generations, two faithfuls come to the thief city chasing rumors of their beloved lost god. Following events from the book, the once thieving city will now allow portal travelers to come and go as they please, but it is still taking buildings and streets on a whim.

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