cover image Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight

Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight

Cat Rambo, . . Paper Golem, $26 (180pp) ISBN 978-0-9795349-5-9

The first solo collection from Fantasy Magazine co-editor Rambo is a two-sided coin. Her stand-alone stories are crisp and compelling, but the longer ones set in imaginary seaport Tabat are filled with predictable genre tropes that fall flat. On the good side, “Heart in a Box” follows three present-day tourists in Thailand who encounter a real-life mermaid, while “Eagle-haunted Lake Sammamish” finds an ancient dryad threatened by human progress. Less satisfying, “Narrative of a Beast’s Life” tells the long-winded story of a centaur without a trace of tension or intrigue, and “A Key Decides Its Destiny” brings nothing new to the tired wizard yarn. Diehard fans of traditional fantasy will at least find plenty of familiar arcs and archetypes, if not so much narrative tension. (Aug.)