Cathleen Townsend discovered fairy tales as a child and never outgrew them. She lives in California gold country with her husband and two dogs, as well as a horse who’s firmly convinced that he’s the real top dog and a cat who’s sure he can take on any dog, anytime.
Cathleen can be contacted at cathleentownsend.com, and she tweets @CathleenTowns.
on Dec. 11, 2015 :
If you're into twisted fairy tales, contemporary fantasy, and mythology, this short-story collection is for you. If not, you'll probably still enjoy it.
The author's writing is addictive. It flows like an undercurrent and pulls you along until you're sucked into the story with no chance of escape. "Dragon Hoard," the cover story, features a financially-savvy dragon and is a refreshingly-funny take on the well-trod path of dragon lore. "Troll" deals with the existential crisis of, well, a troll. And "Teenage Driver" had me glad I had passed my driver's test quite some time ago.
If you're familiar with fairy tales and mythology, this collection is brimming with Easter eggs. If you're not, you might find one or two of the story-endings rather elusive. And the stories are so immersive, that the somewhat abrupt ending of a couple of the tales left me feeling rather dismayed. I wanted more, and these stories felt unresolved and more like the beginnings of novels than complete short stories. Hence I subtracted one star from my review.
If I had to pick a favourite, it would be "Gargoyle," which showcases the author's expert handling of mythic fiction. This touching tale follows the life of a girl through to adulthood, and all the small tragedies that accompany modern life, from the point-of-view of a church gargoyle.
The final story, "Fair Exchange," is a longer piece--a twisted fairy tale that had me rooting for Lottie, the heroine, and wanting to put her father through a meat grinder. Being a fairy-tale ignoramus, it took me almost to the end to realize which tale it was based on. I much prefer this author's ending to the original.
The author includes a bonus prologue and chapter to a novel, Bellerophon. I'm not much into mythology, and I tend to snooze during fight scenes, but the author really shines in both these areas. I would have read on eagerly, had there been more. Alas, I will have to wait for the novel's release.
(review of free book)