Into the mystic is an anthology of fantastic short histories that is already on its second volume. Sadly it’s not translated to Spanish (my native language), so alongside my Spanish review I thought about giving it another in English. I started reading in English to improve in the “universal” language, and I am willing to convince anybody about giving a try to read in other than their native language.
So here’s my review in English.
Ten lesbian/bisexual paranormal short stories…
Diez historias paranormales cortas de lesbianas/bisexuales…
This is the whole synopsis.
I have never before read an anthology, so I don’t know is synopsis are supposed to be extensive, but I believe it resumes quite what it is about. And specially, it wouldn’t be fair to generalize, since each story has a different mythology, and form of telling.
I am going to give my opinion on each different short history, since I believe it wouldn’t be fair to judge all of them as a whole.
Green Love by Elna Holst
Have you heard about the aspen clone in the heart of Blackwood forest? Some say it’s enchanted, while others…
An ecologist decides to go investigate the wild region of Blackwood forest where hundreds of aspens live, magically connected through their roots.
The author is basing herself on the trees abilities to use bipartition. Where you can cut a branch, plant it, and it will grow a new tree, genetically identical to the original.
I found very interesting that she mixed a scientific concept like that with the mythology of tree nymphs. That, in case you don’t know, are tree’s souls. And on the same time, it makes for a very interesting ecological message. The forest is a huge living being constituted of thousands of souls that feel, suffer and love as one.
My only problem with it is the apparent erotica turn that the story takes, over the romance. Being the romantic development scarce and the description of the encounters to explicit for my taste.
Dead Letter by Valentine Wheeler
Signed, sealed, delivered…or was it?
It’s a very beautiful love story about a mailwoman and a ghost girl who died while sending a letter. To which she became locked.
There is not much mystery about it, but I loved the details the author put in developing a romance between to people who cannot see each other. Wow with the platonic love.
Dead letter is a sweet history, full of nostalgia, and with a spirit who wants to live again in a much more open world that the one she lived in.
Seaside escape by A. Fae
Just because it’s been done for generations doesn’t mean it should be.
This history gives a littler turn around to the selkie legend. For those who don’t know it. One selkie is a seal who when losing its skin, transforms in a beautiful woman. It’s a common legend, for a man to steal the seals skin stranding the woman inland and forcing her to be his bride.
In this story Fiona, the sea witch, founds herself with the great dilemma of keeping on the family business after she falls in love with a selkie who she is supposed to sell to a man. It’s a nice love story that talks about consent and makes you ponder over the risks of taking someone from their home.
What I didn’t like is that, since it’s a very interesting moral dilemma, the easily it is solved and brushed out. I would have loved that the author gave more strength to the discussion, even though being a short story, maybe she didn’t had the chance.
Dressed in wolf skin by Sita Bethel
She was never particularly fond of werewolves, but she hated skinwalkers.
And that’s what Damiana thinks when she founds a she-wolf trapped in a silver snare put up by a skin-walker. That’s how the story begins, through which the witch and that furious changer, would found themselves trapped in a small cottage in the middle of nowhere, forced to know each other better.
It’s a beautiful story with both POC (person of color) characters. Damiana is, at least, from Mexican origins while her hairy friend is from the original habitants of America.
There’s a very intense chemistry between the two that can be felt during the lecture, to the point of becoming a little bit explicit (I’m blushing). But it would caught you in its reflection of freedom and the dangers of embracing ones true nature.
Unraveled by CC Bridges
Summer can hack their magic, but she can’t hack her own heart.
What do witches have? How many we got in a row? Three? And we are not getting bored. Would it be because each world has a whole different magic system?
Summer is a novice witch with a serious allergy to education that earns a living hacking to others witches spells and turning them in different thinks. But everything will get complicated when the girls she is in love with gets her magical luck token confiscated.
It’s refreshing to see a preexisting emotional relation instead of the girl meets girl telling we’ve been seeing. I love that the characters have a previous ongoing relationship before the typical romantic explosion of the genre. Especially because you can remark other qualities than the physic, more like the personality of the subject of desire.
The Holy Company by Laura Bailo
On an ancient holy path, they will come face to face with one of the local legends.
Here we explore another sexuality with a demisexual protagonist. And this demisexual is in love, as it should be, with her best friend Anna.
But not only that, while doing Saint Jacques walk they will come across with a local legend, which will catalyze their relationship.
Its greatest part is that it has been written by a Spanish woman, happens in Spain and talks about a mysterious Gallegan legend. You can see it when she speaks about gastronomy or architecture. Laura knows well her country, as she knows humans relations. The relation between Sophie and Anna is pure, full of sentiment.
It only saddens me that they haven’t given more protagonism to the ghosts that announce a near death.
Vampire Hours by Jacqueline Rohrbach
One’s a vampire. The other is human. One wants forever. The other wants everything to end.
The history where Stay gets turned into a vampire by her ex-girlfriend to ward her off of committing a craziness. A meditation on depression and the fear of forever, by the view of two immortal beings.
I liked it because it’s different from the rest. For starters the romantic relation is preexisting. Girl meets vampire and falls in love. Vampire turns her when she dumps her. (Sounds bad right? You’ll see the turn).
I don’t have much experience with depression, but I liked it reading about it. I think it would be important to see how you deal with, how it can sabotage your happiness and, most importantly, how you can help other to get through it.
To the sea by MK Hardy
Sometimes you just have to hold your breath and dive in.
Kay falls in love with a mysterious girl while she helps clean the oils spills. She would give her unconditional love, in exchange of letting her go.
When I started reading it I suspected that Rose might have been a mermaid, it would make sense. Nevertheless, it’s again a kind creature that doesn’t wish to see herself trapped inland.
It’s probably up to the date one of my favorites love stories, because it talks about the expression: If you love it, set it free. ¿Would you force someone you love to stay with you?
Holy water by Lina Langley
She might be the most dangerous being in the world, but Clara is still in love with her.
It’s a very sad love story, and I cannot stop thinking about the song from Coco (Llorona, ay de mi llorona, llorona de azul celeste…). The way she falls in loves is very fast and simple, but it feels like it has been a long way.
It has a similar end to Dead Letter but it has left me emptier, like they took something from me. It has a lot of vibes from Twilight in the sense that the Llorona doesn’t stop reminding us that she is dangerous to Clara. But instead of getting angsty about it; Clara learns when she need to give her space and when to come to her call.
Lighthouse Five by T.S. Porter
Is it possible for a mermaid and a human to build a relationship?
Love it. A beautiful story centered on the relationship between a lighthouse guard and a merperson.
The creature called merperson reminds me a lot to The Shape of Water, being a more animal self than person. And therefore, their beauty is based on the character, innocence and curiosity, more than the looks, even though they have a very soft skin. And since the story doesn’t have an adjacent problem like others, the history concentrates exclusively in the friendship and love, developing in more depth.
I also find very interesting the qualities of the merperson, very similar to many marine animals. For example: the change sexes as they grow old, like some fishes; she hears like dolphins (through her forehead); and her skin changes colors with her emotions, similar to squids. All the time they are referred as an androgynous character, in consequence, I had some problems at the start trying to understand if there were many of them, but it ended being interesting.