Monday, November 17, 2008

Book/Magazine Review: Mythic 2 edited by Mike Allen

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book/magazine reviews.

Much like its predecessor Mythic, Mythic 2 feels compact and precise. Both the prose and poetry (and everything else in between) are easy to read and have a lyrical tonality. The anthology is even and consistent, with no sudden drops or spikes in the quality. Editor Mike Allen also continues the format of alternating between both mediums which makes the book work.

For the most part, I found the poems to be decent and the fiction enjoyable. Mythic 2 continues the tradition of weaving or re-inventing fairy tales, legends, and myths all the while infusing it with the sensibilities of the various authors. This isn't a long anthology but the quality for than makes up for it. I really liked all of the prose and appreciated the poetry but I think the former wins out overall, at least in this volume of Mythic.

Particularly striking is Catherynne M. Valente's "Temnaya and the House of Books" which seems to be this amalgam of well-known fairy tales that the author appropriates and transforms into a modern narrative all the while retaining its fairy tale tone and sensibilities. The ending is to be applauded as it is open enough for the reader to wonder at its implications.

Jo Walton's "Post-Colonial Literature of the Elves" is an appropriately-titled poem and makes great use of rhyme without sounding childish, especially considering the subject matter.

Richard Parks's "A Pinch of Salt" is this narrative which strikes an emotional chord as it deals with all too human predicaments and a web of relationships. Characterization and dialogue is easily the author's strength, all the while filling the gaps with conflict. The final line of the story is perfect as it leaves enough room for ambiguity.

Mythic 2 is another fascinating anthology that combines speculative fiction prose with poetry. This is certainly easy to pick up and recommendable to anyone.

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