A Midwinter Fantasy Anthology
November 23, 2010
E-book (Trade Oct 2011)
“A Christmas Carroll” by Leanna Renee Hieber
Just days after the ending of Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, Headmistress Rebecca is lonely and sad. The death of her friend and fellow guard member Jane lays heavy on her soul. She feels guilty for her death, and just all around miserable. For twenty years she served in the guard, and for twenty years she has pined after their leader, Alexi Rychman, who has recently been married to the newest guard member, Percy Parker. There is one man who has had eyes for only her all this time, but Rebecca is too down on herself to even notice.
Michael Carroll was the heart of the guard, literally, but now that the war is over, all guard members have been relieved of their powers. Both a blessing and a curse. Now they are free to live their lives of their choosing, but it is hard to have what you are comfortable with taken away. Michael has loved Rebecca since the day he met her, but has never had the confidence to tell her that. Now twenty years later, he still feels that nervous around her. But the spirits are rallying, and they want this Christmas to be a special one for these two lost souls. Playing on a Christmas Carol theme, these sprits visit Rebecca and Michael and take them down memory lane.
Leanna Renee Hieber again delivers just the cutest romantic tale. As soon as I started this one, I remembered how much I miss this world she has created. She not only weaves in a tale of love – and let me just say thank goodness Rebecca and Michael finally get their happily ever after, but she also gives is the wonderful, warm banter between all the guard members. In such a short story, we get caught up with all of them – Elijah and Josephine happy and in love, Alexi and Percy, with a bun in the oven, and Jane, awaiting to go into the Great Beyond to be united with her love, but sacrificing until Rebecca and Michael find their way to each other. Adorable and cute!
“The Worth of a Slyph” by L.J. McDonald
Mace is a Battle Slyph, a shapeshifter from another plane, only able to stay in the human world due to his master/slave relationship. His current master, for the past thirty years has been Lily. Although Lily is now 82, they still love each other. He must obey even her slightest command, but she is kind to him, much kinder than his previous master. Mace doesn’t mind having a master, it is part of who he is. Because Lily is elderly, she encourages Mace to start looking for a new master. When a foster child of Lily’s runs away, she commands Mace to go bring him back. Mace starts a journey to Eferem to retrieve the boy, and it is there where he will meet his new master and his life will change.
I am so intrigued by this world!! There are two previous full length books in this series that I have not read yet, but have definitely gone into my to-be-read pile. Mace is a unique hero – with his slave status that he accepts. It is who he is. He is a very straight forward in his demeanor. I wouldn’t call him tender, just obedient, but deadly. I didn’t love his new master interest in Sara – she comes into the story and his life rather abruptly. But overall, this world is very unique and this is a very entertaining story.
“The Crystal Crib” by Helen Scott Taylor
The final story in this anthology confused me. Sonja meets with Vidar, a successful amusement park owner to make some sort of business deal. But at the beginning of this meeting he offers for her to meet her dad whom she has never met. So she gets whisked off by him – and they end up flying into the sky in a sleigh. First of all, it is very unclear at the beginning how these two know each other. We also get nothing of their background. Vidar mentions he is nervous about Sonja discovering her heritage, but next thing you know he is like –hey, me and your dad are from a different world. Does Sonja know about different worlds? Does flying up in the sky something she has done before?
I just didn’t get Vidar and Sonja and their relationship. This one definitely needed more background to the story and I ended up not finishing it.
Rating: Did Not Finish
Even though I didn’t like the last story, I definitely recommend this anthology for both Leanna Renee Hieber’s story and L.J. McDonald’s.