Title: FROM ASHES TO MAGIC (ANTHOLOGY)
Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
Publication Date: DECEMBER 2, 2019
ABOUT THE BOOK
It’s when they creep out of the shadows that you should beware. The good ones will hold your hand when you’re having a nightmare; the bad ones BECOME your nightmare, seeping into your very soul and burrowing in the darkness until they’ve completely taken over.
Ten authors, ten stories, all your favorite supernatural beings in one place. Welcome to the first ever Supernatural Beings anthology. Once you plunge into these pages, you won’t want to leave.
REBIRTH – A. Denner
Immortality always comes with a sacrifice. But how can Nova finish the deed when her Prey is the only one that can save her?
GABBY’S FUTURE – Mikki Noble
A future-telling tree offers Gabby an unpromising future she must try to change. Will that change make things better or worse.?
LIFE AND DEATH – Nita Pan
Brimming with love and betrayal, the courtship between two gods explores what it means to have humanity. Is the divine romance between Life and Death doomed from the very beginning?
CHOSEN – Jennifer C. Colvin
Stolen away to the Philippine Underworld by a mysterious goddess, dutiful and meek Bituin, a young girl from a small hidden mountain town on Cabu Island, discovers the gods have chosen her as a Babaylan (shaman). Newly imbued with powers beyond her wildest imagination, Bituin’s spiritual awakening sends her life into upheaval and rocks the foundation of her quiet town.
BROKEN PROMISES – Evelyn Chartres
A young woman finds herself isolated from all she knows when her home is set ablaze. Despite insurmountable odds, she must risk traversing unfamiliar and hostile territory to find help, or declare her life forfeit.
CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? – Carmen Adams
Palkar Village is a bloodthirsty place for those of the supernatural, and after years of senseless persecution, the Sorcerer community refuge somewhere else. For decades the Earth Sorceress Alina lived peacefully among her kind in a deep forest until one night of magic changed her world. The Sorcerer community lived in secret tranquility for decades…but would things stay that way?
HAVENLESS – Ryen Lesli
Bitter Regret creates beautiful betrayal in Havenless. In the fall of 1513, the ebb was torn apart by the tragic love story of Torr and his Witch, Nahlia. Murdered by her own twin, Nahlia’s lost spirit roams the Haven clan, leaving Torr with a broken heart, fighting against the shocking betrayal that stole everything from him. A betrayal that will echo through time.
SULFUR NIGHT – Abby Paul
Cursed. Tainted. Marked. The children born on the sulfur night aren’t like the rest of us. They can serve only one purpose. Perhaps the new gods are as blood thirsty as the old.
THE LOCKSMITH – Air Meghlen
For Cara, a non-magical human, in a world of magic, picking locks is how she makes a living. Her quiet life is threatened when a mysterious traveler brings her a complex lock that makes her the target of a powerful enemy.
ORDINARY FAE – Melony Paradise
The only way to hide from a Fae king is to live among humans—as a human. Can Izbella Rane have the normal life she wants, or will she be forced into a world her family fled from?
A football zipped past my head, circled around my mother, and followed my annoying brother out of the kitchen, narrowly missing the antique cookie jar. His high-pitched laugh pierced my ears even after he’d vanished into the living room. I rolled my eyes at my mom and swiped a finger across the lopsided chocolate cake she was frosting.
“You should’ve left the glamour binding on him, Mom,” I said, stuffing my frosted finger into my mouth as she swatted at me with the spatula. “Do we really have to wait to take my binding off? I’m so tired of being ordinary!”
“Yes, Izzy,” she said, sighing. “You know we must wait until the actual time of your birth in Faeloria, and that isn’t until ten twenty-three tonight. Now, if you ask me again, I’ll make you wait—indefinitely.”
I slumped back from the island counter, arms crossed, and pouted. Mom smirked and winked at me, turning to wash the dishes she’d used to bake my birthday cake.
“I’m going to be eighteen—an adult!” I slapped my hands down on the counter and growled. “I’ll be able to drop my glamour whenever I want, and use my magic, whatever it is.” I let out a loud, exaggerated sigh aimed directly at my mother.
Mom turned around to cock an eyebrow at me while drying her hands with a dishtowel. “You’ll be fourteen, little miss. The age of majority for Fae, yes, but that doesn’t make you an adult. Being mature and responsible with the magics, and as a person, makes you an adult. Once the binding comes off, you’ll feel different, more powerful. That can go to your head. Don’t make us regret this.”
“I’ll be more responsible than Kye was after he got his magic.” I huffed a little laugh and shook my head. “You remember when he went to his football game without his glamour on?”
“It’s a good thing his natural coloring is the same as the high school colors.”
We giggled, remembering how we watched my brother walk onto the football field with blue skin and green hair. Luckily, he played it off as a prank and danced around the field with the mascot.
“I invited Bren, by the way.” I smirked, knowing that would push her buttons. Being a teenager was fun sometimes.
She shot a glare at me. “Izbella,” she said hotly, wagging a finger at me, “you get to kick him out after cake then. You know he can’t be here when we perform the unbinding.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine. But I wish I could tell him about us. I hate keeping such a ginormous secret from my best friend.”
Mom came around the island and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “I know, sweetheart, but he’s human. We can’t let humans know we exist. If it got out, the king could find us and force us back to Bilora, or worse, turn us into the Prime Fae. Then we would have to live the rest of our very long lives in the worst prison of Faeloria.”
It was difficult to really understand what she was saying. My parents had lectured us so many times about the dangers of our home world, but they were just stories of a land I’d never seen.
The Prime Fae governed Faeloria from afar as they sat in their ivory towers, turning their noses up at most of Fae kind. They let the regions rule themselves but stepped in only when they deemed it necessary. Unfortunately, forced betrothal was beyond their purview.
“I know, Mom. Being the Vex Fae princess would be almost as bad as centuries in a Fae prison.” I sighed. “I know, without a doubt, that Bren would keep our secret, but I won’t tell him. I swear.”
Leaning away from me, Mom nodded and gave me a tight smile. “Good. Your father and I will never let anyone force you to marry into that vile family and live amongst the immoral Vex Fae.”
I stood and hugged my mom. She kissed my forehead and pushed me towards the living room. At the doorway, I glanced over my shoulder at my beautiful mother, with her pale blue skin and shimmery, turquoise hair, putting away dishes in the cozy kitchen.
“I’ll keep all of our secrets,” I muttered to myself, “as long as I don’t have to be ordinary anymore.”
I knocked on the only red door on the block like I had so many times over the years. Inside was the only family I had known in almost a decade, the only family I wanted. Once they learned who I really was, I wondered if they would welcome me into their home as readily as they do now.
A boy with azure skin and spiky, emerald hair poked his head out the door, peering around exaggeratedly. “I don’t see anyone.”
Lavender arms pushed him away and yanked the door all the way open. Izbella Rane grinned at me with a silver mane draped over her shoulder, completely unaware that I could see through the glamours that she and her family wore to hide from the humans.
“Come in,” she ordered, grabbing my arm and dragging me across the threshold. “Dinner isn’t here yet. Dad went to get sushi and pizza.”
“You are so weird, Izzy.” I laughed as she pulled me into the kitchen. “Who asks for sushi and pizza for their birthday dinner?”
“Only my sister, the biggest dork around, would want to ruin a perfectly good pizza dinner with nasty sushi.” Kye spun his ever-present football a couple inches above his fingertips. Izzy swatted at it, giving her brother big eyes. I turned away, pretending I hadn’t seen her brother using his levitation magic.
Neela, Izzy and Kye’s mother, gently separated the squabbling siblings. “Kye, please set the table.”
“Just because it’s your birthday doesn’t make you any less of a dork, Iz.” He backed out of the kitchen, football spinning over his hands carelessly.
I kept my eyes on Izzy, feigning ignorance.
“Uh,” she stuttered, flustered and flushed with dark purple cheeks, “check out the cake Mom made. Chocolate. My favorite!”
“Mm, you know I like chocolate cake.” I sat at the kitchen island and gave Neela a little wave.
“How’s your mom?” she asked.
The Rane family had basically adopted me after I’d spun a tale of being raised by a single mother who worked nights and long hours, leaving me to raise myself. I’d used my magic of persuasion, along with their misconceptions of humans, to help them accept my story. Being the human they thought I was, they never questioned me.
“She’s fine. Working hard like always.”
“Well, you be sure to take a piece of cake home to her. She deserves a treat.” Neela winked and smiled sweetly at me.
“I will, Mrs. Rane. Thanks.”
“What did you get me for my awesome eighteenth birthday?” Izzy grinned, her slightly elongated teeth shining at me.
“I, uh, have a special gift for you,” I said nervously, “but I want to take you out to dinner tomorrow and give it to you then.”
Her smile faltered, but she turned quickly to look at her mom. “Oh, okay. That sounds like fun. Things will look different tomorrow anyway. Better.” She nodded sharply.
“Why?” I knew she wouldn’t tell me, but I asked anyway.
“Oh, uh, well, I’ll be an adult tomorrow, you know? I’ll be looking at the world with grownup eyes.” She pointed at her eyes and grinned again. “Give me a hint?”
I froze. Izzy and Neela were both looking at me expectantly, and I had no clue what to say.
“Brenny and Izzy sittin’ in a tree,” Kye sang loudly, then made wet smoochy noises and bonked us on the heads as he walked past us to the fridge. He leaned in, humming the rest as he scrounged through the contents. I bit my tongue and stared forward, watching Izzy out of the corner of my eye.
“Shut up, dolt!”
“Time for dinner,” Lero, Izzy’s father, yelled from the front door.
With a nervous smile, I watched Izzy as she helped her mom serve up pizza and sushi. It would only be one more day. I could wait one more day to tell the girl that I loved the truth about who I am. I just hoped she wouldn’t hate me after she learned I was the reason her family fled our world.
This anthology are full of great fantasy stories from various authors. Each stories in this book has its own charms. I find most of the stories are unique, and a few are not.
Each stories in this book shows the difference in the authors’ writing styles. I loved seeing the difference in their writing, and how they delivered their stories. Some authors are pretty smooth and some are a bit rough when it comes to writing and delivering their stories. I do appreciate the efforts they put in their writing to make their stories as good as it can be.
This is my first time ever to read an anthology book that focuses on the Fantasy genre. There are various types of fantasy stories in this book, and I’m sure a lot of readers will find it enjoyable.
So, now moving on to my review for each stories that I read!
What a sad and heartfelt story. There’s better be a full-length novel for this one. I can’t accept that ending, it was so heartbreaking. I was hoping the ending will turn out differently, I knew it will happen eventually—the repeating process of Nova’s immortality. I just wish Balhar didn’t do what he did, but I was happy Nova and Balhar get to spend their time together, even though it was only temporary. The story managed to show very clearly what happened to Nova, and why she wanted to be an immortal and what sacrifice she had to make in order to gain it. The blood magic thing she had to do was so dark, but I was shocked to see her redeem herself at the end, even though it was already too late for her to save Balhar. Balhar is a skilled healer, and he was this sweet guy and yet so smart to figure out everything. I’m sad seeing what he did at the end, that was so heartbreaking to see. Overall, it was a nice story with a little bit of magic in it, and also a little bit of backstory regarding Nova’s life as a witch. Clearly very enjoyable.
Witches, fallen angel, supernatural tree, and dire fate…all of this in one story. So amazing, I was speechless by this story. It was a very nice and enjoyable story that features a lot of supernatural elements. Gabby, Freaky, Jordan are just three teenagers who wanted to know their futures from a supernatural tree—mainly Gabby. What a turn of event that is. I was surprised by the twist of Gabby’s fate, and what it had to do with Freaky. Really caught me off guard, there are so many “Oh Wow” moments. I loved the friendship between Gabby and Freaky, the story shows how deep their friendship bond is. And also, Gabby and Jordan…these two are so cute. Jordan and his charm, no wonder Gabby fell for him. I loved these two together, and their sudden kiss was truly sweet and yet a little awkward. I loved how deep these three was working on trying to save Gabby, and eventually uncover ancient secrets about the history of the supernatural tree. I don’t expect a fallen angel and a witch to make an appearance in the story, or that Gabby is secretly not a normal human. Overall, it was a great story and there was some plot twists that make the story more interesting.
LIFE AND DEATH
I loved how the author tell the story of Life and Death like a poem. It was short but the story was truly meaningful. It tells a story of the relationship between Life and Death, and how their romance was actually forbidden and yet what are the consequences of their own actions once they crossed the line. It was very poetic and sad. The meaning behind the story brought tears to my eyes. Life and Death are both struggling with human emotions and trying to save humankind from the gods. The ending sort of feel like a cliffhanger to me. What will happen to Death? Is Time tricking him? Is the tart have the same effect as the apple? It was very tricky! The story also featured an origin story of Life, Death, and Time, and also the reason behind the gods’ actions. I enjoyed the love story of Life and Death, it was so beautiful and yet heartbreakingly sad.
This wasn’t as interesting as I was hoping for. Truthfully, I was a bit confused at the start of this story. But the ending revealed what actually happened, and yet some parts just doesn’t make any sense. When I found out Evelyn is actually a vampire, there is no denying why I couldn’t get into the story. Any stories about vampires aren’t my thing, honestly. No wonder this one was confusing to me. I appreciate the small amount of actions which made the story a little intense, but sadly I just can’t bring myself to enjoy it. Evelyn as a main character doesn’t have a great aura like many female characters I’ve known, and definitely doesn’t have a strong personality either. As much as I want to like the story, I just couldn’t.
CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?
I hope there will be a continuation, maybe a full-length novel. I was so frustrated with how the story ended. Overall, the story was beautifully written and amazing. I enjoyed the little magic action in the story and also I loved that the author explained the reason why supernatural beings stray away from the humans. Mia and Alina are both strong and fierce women, I just loved how these two shared a deep sisterly bond. Both of them are great characters, especially Alina. She was too kind while Mia was too aggressive, these two are literally the opposite of one another, and yet they can blend in together so well. The matter with Michael was a bit complicated. Michael is a human, and when he cross path with Alina and Mia, he was too stunned to even speak properly after witnessing what they did in order to save his life. It was nice to see how conflicted he was later on, and whether he should report what he saw or not. I do want to believe that Michael is very different than other humans, I hope he is kind enough to keep a secret. I truly enjoyed this one, it was a nice story.
This one is very depressing. Too many deaths, and an unexpected betrayal. The author did a great job writing this story; short and yet so intriguing. So many mysteries, and I’m still curious about the book of portents. The story focus on the spirits of the dead. Torr who lost his wife was still grieving and the sadness he felt was heavy. I feel sad that he lost everything and the only family he had left. It was the saddest and depressing story. The ending was unpredictable and I’m happy Torr found his happiness, just not like what I expected.
THE SULFUR NIGHT
I felt so emotional reading this one. It was sad seeing what happened to Stea, Teplo, and Haber. Three children who shared the same fate, and they only have each other to rely on. I feel like this is the story of The Four Horsemen, since there was a mention of pestilence, war, and famine…but not in the way most think. It was a unique concept, but the storyline was very emotional. I just feel like the three characters in the story deserve to be free. I liked how the three of them slowly bonded together and worked together to free themselves. The ending was a little badass, the way Stea handled the guard was awesome. This story was dark, sad, and yet there was a little bit of fun in it. The whole story does explained the reason why Stea, Teplo, and Haber are different from the other children, and why they are so important. It was a very short story and I enjoyed it. The plot was a little intriguing, honestly!
What a nice and intriguing story this one is. I loved the incredible magical action in the story. Rylan, Cara, and Zifran, these three are great and well-written characters. I loved how they work together to find out some answers, and honestly, they are simply the best. I liked how the author show Cara’s skill as a locksmith, and I find her ability to be so admirable. Rylan and his secret identity wasn’t too shocking for me, I knew who he was the first time Cara found out about the secret box. He was amazing and his magic amazed me. Zifran doesn’t make much appearance but he was still important to the story. This is the cleanest and nicest story in the book, and I really loved the fun and intense things that happened here. The story ended so well, and I had a huge smile on my face reading the ending. Overall, it has been done so well, the plot was very intriguing and the storyline was nicely written.
Can I just say that this one is on the same level as The Locksmith, because this is also a nicely and beautifully written story. I’m all in when it comes to anything that has to do with fae. The plot was a little intriguing, and there was some unexpected twists that made the story become more interesting. I knew Bren wasn’t just a normal human, but what surprised me the most is learning about Izzy’s real identity. Who she really is, and why she’s so important. I loved seeing the strong bond that Izzy family has, and her relationship with Bren. When Bren confessed his feelings to Izzy, my heart melted. The ending was beautiful, and so satisfying. The story are full of surprises that won’t disappoint the readers, and the little magic action was honestly the best. Overall, it was a very enjoyable story.
I didn’t expect to make a long review for each of the stories above. Anyway, the stories are fun, enjoyable, and easy to read. I hope other readers will love it as much as I do. And if you want to have a quick fantasy reads, I’ll suggest you to pick this one up. It isn’t just easy to read, but also easy to understand too. Although all the stories are pretty simple, I still enjoyed it.