Today is the release date of TALES AND MIST AND MAGIC by Marya Miller! I met Marya through the incredible Tomi Adeyemi’s online writing group, so I was lucky to receive an ARC!
Flash fiction, if you’re not familiar with it, is a genre consisting of very short stories. The digital ARC helpfully came with a definition:
Flash Fiction is a particular genre consisting of super-short stories–usually around or under 1,000 words–containing the barest bones of a story…Flash Fiction is a wonderful tool for giving you snapshots of a complex, richly-woven world.
This collection of stories all take place in the same fantasy universe, the World of Ydon, and are set on the isle of Dragonish. Some recurring characters make multiple appearances. The most prominent of these characters is Granny Maberly of the title story. As a very old woman, Granny Maberly is definitely an unconventional fantasy heroine, but she’s practical, experienced, and wily–it’s not for nothing that she’s survived so long. As a life-long fan of what my creative writing professor once called “tough old biddies”–you can thank my own granny for that–I really dug that the toughest character in a universe populated by warring tribes and terrifying monsters is an elderly woman.
I haven’t read much flash fiction, or high fantasy for that matter, but I’ve always enjoyed fairy tales and myths and I enjoyed the almost folkloric Old World feel of these short tales. Though the tales are not interconnected per se, you do manage to get a feel for the mythology and the characters across many flashes over the years, which I liked. As fitting the flash fiction format, the stories are told in a simple but economical prose style that allows them to fly by. Some of my favorites were “The Prophecy” and the pair of stories about Ushguk and Morwen, a mixed-blood outcast and the abandoned child he discovers in a hollow tree, but I also enjoyed “Judgment from Above”, a charming tale about a healer who goes up against an unscrupulous newspaperman.