Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Reviewer: Linda, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
This debut collection by multi-award-winning author and artist Raven Oak brings together fantastical stories from the past ten years of her career, ranging from gothic and urban fantasy to post-apocalyptic and steampunk tales.
You’ll find coffee-drinking ghosts, ever-changing faces, elemental spirits who both protect and harm, assassins, magical pockets, and snarky creatures in these ELEVEN fanciful fictions. Dragon Springs & Other Things contains SIX never-before seen stories for your enjoyment, including two stories featuring fan favorite character, Ida, from Oak’s Boahim Trilogy.
STORIES INCLUDED: Mirror Me, Water the Fire, Alive, Learning to Fly, The Drive to Work, The Ringers, Cookie Man, Amaskan, Peace Be With You, Friend, The Snark, and Dragon Springs & Other Things.
This is a collection of short stories by Raven Oak, ranging from fantasy to post-apocalyptic and steampunk, just to name a few but there is definitely something for everyone. I’ll give a short review on each story in this book to pique your interest.
A very interesting story about a policeman who, when he looks into someone’s face, sees his own. He calls it his mirror, but in reality, he is seeing himself in the other person’s place, feeling their pain, their hunger and their helplessness. Being a mirror and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes would end a lot of unnecessary pain that we inflict on others.
Water the Fire
A young man has become a victim of water damage, and he decides that it’s being caused by a water demon. Broken water heaters, hurricanes, overflowing toilets – none of the damage is attributed to him, but the insurance companies don’t care who caused the damage, only that they must pay. He hires an exorcist as a last resort who gives him the answers he has been seeking – and it all points to fire. An interesting story about a war between water and fire.
The heroine of this story is Ida, a character who also appeared in Amaskan’s Blood. If you’re familiar with that series, you’ll enjoy this story featuring her character. Women are being killed, their throats slit, and then burned. Their necks look like hers – only she survived. She suspects that these dead women are a calling card to flush her out. Her past has caught up with her, but she’s a fighter and she won’t make things easy for her enemy.
Learning to Fly
A wedding (and buying a wedding dress) can be the happiest time in a girl’s life, but Amelia has a dark cloud hanging over her joy. Her father is dying from cancer, and although he might not be able to walk her down the aisle, he is there to watch her try on wedding gowns. As a plus-size woman, Amelia tries on one dress after another, but nothing works until her dad points out a special one that’s beyond their price range. She buys it, but then tragedy ensues. In the end, she learns that magic is real, and can change her life and future.
The Drive to Work
Helen had prepared Pierce’s breakfast every morning and driven him to work so that they could use the carpool lane together, making their trip shorter. But years of the same routine suddenly come to a tragic end.
Fourteen-year-old Elise and her parents are moving to the Village of Dekwood for a new start, but it will prove to be a nightmare. Upon arriving in town, they are given a room in a local inn, and Elise’s hopes of going to school for magic end in disappointment. Magic is banned in Dekwood, and school is considered unnecessary past an elementary education. Everyone is required to work, including children. Elise and her mother are assigned to work in the factory, and it didn’t take long to realize that Dekwood lacks any kind of joy. Then knowledge of the Ringers – five skeletal horsemen whose job is to rid the town of the unnecessary – brings a whole new level of fear.
This story elevated my rating for the entire book – it was scary and filled with surprises and secrets. The bravery of a young girl who refuses to accept a life of almost-slavery and the constant fear of the Ringers made this a great story.
A writer in a coffee shop loves to people watch, as all types of people enter the place for their cup of coffee and a piece of cake. An elderly man who comes in and meets a woman, and the writer wonders if this is a friend or daughter. His imagination finds a story in this couple, and he writes his book while watching them.
At the age of fifteen, Shendra lost her parents and found herself homeless and starving. She was rescued from the streets by her older brother, a member of the Order of Amaska. For five years she trained to join the Order, but unlike her brother, she struggled to accept the fact that she would be required to kill. She is finally assigned to assasinate a woman who owned a brothel and is accused of human trafficking. This story sheds more light on Ida Warhammer from the Amaskan Blood series, so if you are familiar with that series , you’ll enjoy this one even more.
Peace be With You, Friend
Solar flares are bringing the end of the world. Litalle is nineteen, and hasn’t seen another human or animal for a long time. She knows the end is near, and seeks shelter in a cave that is home to a dragon. The dragon is as hungry as she is, and only one of them has the chance for a last meal.
PixieMe sticks her nose into other’s business over the internet, but in real-life she’s the total opposite. When her private domain is invaded by a Snark, she learns a lesson courtesy of the little creature with wings.
Dragon Springs and Other Things
Fifteen-year-old Jonna is a tinkerer and wants to build a dragon. Her father wants her to build a train instead, but at her age a dragon is so much cooler. Her dragon is everything she could have hoped for, but her father is not happy and when her creation lands in the middle of town and burns down a house in self defense, things go from bad to worse.
I loved this collection of short stories, and can’t imagine anyone not finding some that are just their cup of tea. Every tale held my interest and I loved the fact that the author explained how each one came to be.
I am an avid reader the mother of 3 sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Since retiring I have been doing more reading while volunteering as a CASA worker. CASA is an organization that works with the family court system to ensure that children are in the best living situation. There are way too many children that get overlooked in the foster care system and I visit homes and make visits to the parents. I was born and raised in New York and my husband of 50 years and I live in Upstate New York.
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