Thursday, 6 September 2018

Book Review - A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

  • Title And Author: A Thousand Beginnings And Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
  • Publisher: Harper360
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by Publisher in Exchange for an Honest Review
  • Length: 328 Pages
When the lovely people at Harper360 emailed to promote some of their upcoming titles for the next few months, only A Thousand Beginnings and Endings made me go “I MUST READ THIS!!!”. I mean, this ticked all of my boxes: short stories, diversity, authors new and old (to me) reimaginings or retellings of myths and legends I don’t know about, myths and legends in general. Plus, THAT COVER! You can blame Mythos by Stephen Fry and Circe by Madeline Miller (which am still audiobooking at the time of writing this - keep your eyes peeled!) for my sudden attack of reading myths and legends, if you so wish.

Fifteen authors reimagine fifteen myths, legends and folklore from East and South Asia. There is no other way to write this. Fifteen myths get reimagined in a mix of genres - sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, romance and a nice twist of revenge. 

Now, where do I start with this? 

As this is a collection of short stories, most stories are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Not every story is going to click with you due to the genre, writing style, your mood at the time of reading, etc… But this collection is one of the better collections of short stories out there. Most of the stories are more solid and gripping. 

I am going to admit that some of the stories didn’t click with me for one reason or another, but there were others that made me go “OH! I really like this!” or “I wish this was a tad longer as I don’t want this is end just end” or “I must check out this author!”. And these were the stories that most intrigued me. I found several stories that I really liked and read in one sitting whereas others, I just didn’t warm to and it took several sittings to complete for one reason or another. 

I’m not going to to finger-point stories that I like and which I didn’t, as everyone is going to have different tastes (plus, I have read several reviews on Goodreads and am surprised over have different everyone’s reactions to the stories I did like/dislike and how they differ), but I love that the myths used were from the East - Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and myths from other places - which is hugely refreshing as we in the West seem to be more aware of myths from Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian. The myths that inspired the retellings were super interesting. I only knew of one or two, and that was because of a myths podcast - Spirits - that I listen to. 

Also, the authors and the curators of the stories are of Asian descent which makes this more unique and more authentic. 

Like I said, not every story is going to suit everyone’s taste, but it’s a cool way to discover new authors, new stories and learn something new about myths from around the world. I would love to know if there is going to be another collection, dealing with more lesser known myths from the East as I would be all over that! 

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