cover image All the Fabulous Beasts

All the Fabulous Beasts

Priya Sharma. Undertow, $17.99 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-1-9889640-2-7

British Fantasy Award–winner Sharma’s debut collection brings together all the shades of magic realism, from lighthearted to gruesome, for which her short stories have garnered attention. In “The Crow Palace,” not all trades are fair, benevolent, or even apparent to the one being traded. In “The Ballad of Boomtown,” old powers are very patient while waiting to reclaim their land; they know its residents are ruining themselves and their world. In “The Show,” the evil that humans do can live on in their ghosts and be visited upon those who have the abilities to sense them. Sharma’s tales are at their strongest and most poignant when they concern love, be it consuming, denied, or realized late. Their magic is usually one surreal piece fitted tightly into a puzzle of normalcy, that often roars up by the end to reshape everything. Sharma leaves tantalizing clues throughout her stories that make the conclusions surprising yet satisfying. Fantasy fans who want their stories deep and intense will consider this a fabulous debut. (May)