ARC Review: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

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Rating: ★★★★★

Date Read: April 1, 2018 – April 12, 2018

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

First Thoughts:

THAT WAS AMAZING! I loved all of the stories and I honestly cannot pick a favorite though I am excited to read more Asian myths and legends!

Synopsis:

Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renee Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for providing me a copy to review.

My Thoughts:

I knew that I was going to love this book and I was not disappointed. If you don’t know, I LOVE mythology, legends, fairy tales, and this collection was right up my alley. I would finish one and go okay that one was my favorite and then I would read another and say nope that one is. This is unique for me as there is usually in a collection like this one, only one or two stories that I like. I also loved the little author’s notes at the end of every story that talked about the original story and how the author changed the story.

I am going to break down my review by each story, but in total this collection is fantastic and I can’t wait to read more about these legends and the cultures that they come from!

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi

I loved how this story showed how when we are young we think that we are invincible even when a prophecy tells us otherwise. Also the writing is gorgeous! It reminds me that I really need to read The Star-Touched Queen.

Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong

This story was so endearing and I love how it came full circle. I also loved how Olivia worked so hard for all the ghosts but what she put in she got back tenfold in from all of the ghosts that she served.

Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee

I am still not okay with how this story ended. I can’t believe that that character was going to do that to the other character (I would put names but that would ruin the fun) and I originally thought that it was going to be the other way around but I enjoyed being pleasantly surprised. At first, I was not really into the story because I had lots of questions and I was not really sure where it was going but in the end, wow. I definitely want to read more.

Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra

I think that this is really cool how Charaipotra made this a modern retelling of Mirza and Sahida, as they are considered “immortalized lovers” so by having them now in modern times it shows how their love can stand the test of time. Though I do wish that this was a longer book because there seems to be a whole expanse of the story that the author couldn’t touch on.

The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette De Bodard

When I had first read this story, I didn’t really care for it but I was also distracted by calculus. So for the second time reading it, I enjoyed it a lot more as I could focus on the story. I like that Bodard doesn’t go with the dramatic ending of the original tale but instead makes one that unites the sisters.

The Land of the Morning Calm by E. C. Myers

Okay, this story takes Sword Art Online and LifeAfter and Korean legend and smashes them together in a superconductor so they form this beautiful story. I also loved how Myers took multiple Korean legends to form the story. Definitely one of my top three stories and I definitely wish there was more!

The Smile by Aisha Saeed

If you want a story of true fragile masculinitly well here it is. This story which is a version of the story of Anarkali, who is a dancing girl, in this story named Naseem Begum, for Prince Kareem and long story short, he, instead of giving her to a merchant, who fell in love with her (it is more like lust), decides to bury her alive as he thinks that she could never could live without him. When I read this I was like but you are a Prince why can’t you just tell him no but that is not how the tale goes so I can’t complain about it too much. Also can we please mention that Naseem doesn’t really have a say in how she acts around him. Of course, she wants him to think that she loves the Prince for he is extremely powerful and you know has the power to kill her. Now, I do think that Calix, Boris and him would along quite nicely but that is besides the point. I do find Saeed’s ending far more enjoyable then reading about an innocent women who is buried alive.

Girls Who Twirl and Other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber

First, I want to go to a celebration of Navrātri as it sounds like so much fun! Second, I liked how Chhibber included the original tale of Mashishāsur and Ma Durgā along side with the story. It helped create a parallel with the two stories and gave background about Ma Durgā, who is celebrated during Navrātri. This story was humorus as it follows three girls and there plan to get revenge on a cocky boy, and it doesn’t go at all how they planned. So think funny teen comedy with a major splash of Hindu culture.

Nothing into All by Renée Ahdieh

Spoilers, and considering that this is my first, and only, review with spoilers I think that is pretty good.

This story is a little messed. I love it. I love Ahdieh’s work (can’t wait to read Smoke!!) so I was really looking foward to this. So the Goblins I were expecting to kill Charan after she feel into their hole/lair/mine and I was really happy they didn’t and for that I think they are really cool. So to explain, Charan gets this magic club and she gets two chances to turn whatever she wants into gold. But her brother takes it because he thinks that she is not worthy of and tries destorying the Goblin Tree but then one of the Goblins turns him into a pebble. (Don’t worry, Ahdieh does so much better with the story, then I can explain). What I was not expectin was Charan to take the club and use it on the pebble and that is where the story ends. So when I first read it I thought that Charan used the magic to turn her brother back. But then after reading the author’s note and reading the story again, I am thinking that well maybe she did turn him into gold. So now I want to talk to someone else who has read the story and get there opinion on it!

Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia

This story was weird but in a good way as we were just as confused as the main character as to why she was in an army with a whole bunch of other weird creatures! It was also refreshing as it was one of the few stories that did not have a love interest.

Code of Honor by Melissa de la Cruz

THIS STORY!!! I can’t believe she just ended it like that! How can you end a short story on a cliffhanger?! Do you know how cruel that is?! I really do hope that Melissa is planning on finishing this story as it has an awesome beginning and a lot of potential for being a full-length novel.

Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman

I loved this story but I do have one question: What was up with the sickness? Chapman does not really go into detail as to what is going on other than the fact that there is a war… But to the overall story, the sickness is just a minor detail.

Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar

Insta-love, is it really bad when you are prophesied to basically know your true once you gaze upon them? For this story, in the beginning, it was a little annoying but as the story continued and lovers got to know each other and I got to know the characters, I did, in fact, start to ship them.

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon

I walked away from this story in total awe. And it might have been my favorite of them all but then again there are so many other stories that I love that it is hard to pick the number one. I loved how Pon changed the story to make it feminist and I feel in that aspect that it made it even more sincere. I also loved how Hongyun was talking directly to the reader.

Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa

This was the only story that I actually had background knowledge of which is shocking because I have read a lot of mythology, but if these stories have taught me anything, it is that I have a whole new world of mythology to explore. Now to the story, it involved Kitsunes from Japanese legends which I do love and they were portrayed in a well-favored light even though they are usually seen as conniving and distrustful, which is refreshing as they are such cool creatures.

And that concludes my longest review to date! (Clocking in at around 1,800 words!!!) And if you haven’t guessed I loved this story and I really hope you get the chance to read it soon!

Cover Image and Synopsis from GoodReads

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4 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

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