Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Freedom Fox, $14.95 trade paper (226p) ISBN 978-1-939844-36-1
This uneven fantasy anthology collects 12 mostly YA-flavored short stories by authors whose common denominator seems to be a fascination with traditional myth and legend. Each story includes sketchy notes about its author’s interests (and online presence). The most moving of the entries carry resonances of rural American folk tales, including Jen Chandler’s Appalachia-inspired “The Mysteries of Death and Life” and Erika Bebee’s “The Wheat Witch,” which evokes the healing mystique of Kansas agriculture. Most of the other works are derivative. A gruesome dragon slaying is the centerpiece of Tyrean Martinson’s “Of Words and Swords.” Renee Cheung’s “Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight” is an unsuccessful attempt to merge technology with magic. Elizabeth Seckman’s “Mind Body Soul” is a sweet little love story. Roland D. Yeomans’s “Sometimes They Come Back” is an ambitious but lackluster Poe-esque excursion into the grotesque; it’s larded with references to humanity’s graven images, some familiar and some perhaps better left forgotten. Few new insights stir the imagination here. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/20/2017
Release date: 05/02/2017
Genre: Fiction
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