Anthology Review: A Phoenix First Must Burn

Between reading for classes, reading to figure out how other people write great short stories, and reading short stories when I’m too tired or busy for a novel, I read a lot of anthologies. In a conversation with someone on Twitter I realized that I almost never review or recommend the anthologies I read. I think that would be fun as an occasional sweetener to this blog, I’m going to do that starting today.

Kris Rusch assigned A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope for our fantasy workshop. I don’t know how I would have come across it without her and it would have been a shame to miss this one. The stories are incredibly good with fantasy elements I hadn’t come across before. With most anthologies there are always some stories that are not to my taste. It wasn’t the case with this one. I enjoyed all of them.

My favorite: “Gilded,” which is a historical fantasy set in the Caribbean in 1521. At first I thought I might not like it but it drew me in and after a while I couldn’t stop turning pages. There is a tension throughout that just gripped me and it has a very satisfying ending.

Personal Update

Things are going well here. We turned in our latest secret gaming project to the publisher and are almost ready to send in the next one. That will happen tomorrow. After that I’ll be putting in more work on Peak Love and, critically, getting the edits done that the publisher requested for our large secret gaming project. Following that it will be time for Thule edits.

Steve, as it turns out, enjoys writing with me. After we are done with all that’s on our plate, we plan to add a few projects we can collaborate on.

Hope you are also doing well. Be well, friends.

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