on Aug. 7, 2016 :
I don't even know where to start. The stories were beautifully fantastical, yet realistic. It's the real deal beneath the fasçade that society portrays. It turns the readers attention to the problems of the world, and shows the protagonists tastefully attempting to survive and overcome the troubles in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 'Of Dwarves and Metal' immersed me in the dealings of an honorable thief, illegally trading with the gruff yet notable Dwarves.
'Hanna' took me to the law, where I was shown that the badges, so to speak, of the guards are embellished to the middle and upper class. Yet, Hanna, shows the reader that her dealings with Chloe and Piper are unlawful and crooked, yet meant to help the children and herself alike. Hanna seems to be the, "What's in it for me?" people in the world.
'Missing' takes a fearful stroll down the black alleys of sexual deprivation and desperation. The reader is shown the fears of what stalks the streets in the city at night, and not only THE streets, but WHICH streets. Chloe and Piper dread the thought of the street Lowll as disappeared, as it's a known place for kidnapping for multiple reasons; that shows the reader the normality of fear, and heart wrenching thoughts, of a child in this city. As children living in the impoverished areas of the city, they know at a meager age of 6, or perhaps younger yet, what it means to despise their very existence. The middle and upper don't always turn a blind eye to the poor. They simply don't understand the harsh reality of things; the poor struggle to find their next meal, a warm bed, a dry head. They struggle to survive oppression due to looks, race, or simply social status or finances. They know where to avoid and what to expect from certain areas, as the unknown fear of abduction into child labor of the corrupt church, and the unshakable dreading of the possibility of child abuse lurks at the backs of their minds.
'Men and Magic' was interesting to me. It reminds me of something in my own life I've come across. The reader is shown Chloe's unfaithful demeanor towards the gods, and Piper's devout demeanor. Chloe insists it's not a miracle, since mages can do the same tasks. It displayed an interesting look on religion. Some would say certain things are of God, and some would say It was simply luck or human intelligence that brought it to be.
'The Early Days and Life Lessons' set the scene, showing that real life isn't as polished as the upper classes have come to believe. I liked how the villains of the city were painted. The corrupt church hadn't shown the children kindness, and as for Chloe and Piper, even as Chloe was blindsided, they were shown more life lessons from a thief than the corrupt church.
All in all, this collection of short stories is a must buy. R.F. DeAngelis has masterfully crafted the world of M'Diro to submerge the reader in the wonders of fantasy, yet, it opens the readers eyes to situations we find in real life. DeAngelis, I applaud you. Bravo!
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)