Saints and Curses- Book Review
This Anthology is like opening up a portal and dipping into different magical worlds all in one book. Alexis Lantgen does it again in her newest Anthology, Saints and Curses, with her ability to weave magical worlds, so detailed, that you could almost hear the music playing from within the pages, or taste the food being served at a festival. I can’t talk about all of them as there are eleven stories, but I do have a few favorites that I’d like to mention.
I love the balance between light and dark magic being used throughout the pages of this book. I think Alexis does a great job in portraying that magic comes in many different forms, and is not a one size fits all stereotype of black magic or white. I found the characters to be relatable and enjoyed how some of them were able to find an escape within a magical world of existence. Like in Elven Carols, where the main character is a struggling violinist, and completely over working in a mall during the holidays. When she gets invited to play at a concert, she jumps to the occasion, needing the extra money. She thinks she’s losing her mind when she gets picked up by a flying unicorn and taken to an enchanted world. This story was one of my top favorites, as I could imagine the Christmas town as if I were there experiencing it for myself. I found myself really wishing it was all real!
Grackle was another favorite of mine with a relatable character who had such a bad relationship with her ex boyfriend, he cursed her into becoming a bird. This story is a fantastic uprising of alchemy, as she brings herself to embrace her curse, although not at first, and transforms it into empowerment. The ending is heart felt and beautiful, but I won’t give it all away.
Switched is one that caught my attention because it starts off with every mother’s worst nightmare. It was eerie and frightening, and I could not put it down. The whole way through, I thought the story was taking me in a different direction with the ending, but it did not disappoint! Another story I’ll pick up again around Halloween is The Lost Cat. It reminded me of the book Bunnicula, (James and Deborah Howe) except this one is about a cat. Animals sometimes appear to us when we are in dire need of protection and a friend, and this little lost cat found its forever home. I’d love to read another follow up story about this as it left with a cliffhanger, and I’d love to know what happens next.
Not all of these stories end with happy endings! Snake Eyes was one that I loved because it was full of occultism and secrecy and I have an obsession with snakes. The fact that it was centered around a “temple of Serpents,” swallowed me whole. This story is about unconditional love and sacrifice. To be honest, I believe this could become a full novel, and one that I would love to read.
Saints and Curses is perfect for the holidays! It is too difficult to choose a favorite as each story is unique in its own way, and I see myself picking it up again. I love short stories and I love reading about magical worlds and the occult. This anthology was right up my alley and I think Alexis does a fabulous job with drawing me into her imagination. And how cool is it, that just like one of her characters, she is also a classical musician, eh? Till her next portal of magical worlds come out, I patiently await…
Click here to read my review for Sapience, Alexis Lantgen’s science fiction Anthology.
Alexis Lantgen is a writer, teacher, and classical musician. She loves Renaissance Faires and all things science fiction and fantasy. Her first book, Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories, is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook. Her short stories have appeared in the Gallery of Curiosities, Phantaxis, Red Sun Magazine, and Swords and Sorcery Magazine, and her nonfiction articles have appeared in Renaissance Magazine. She lives with her husband, her spirited five-year-old daughter, her toddler son, and two very patient cats in Texas.