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Idiosyncratic & delightful

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Jan 1, 2015: The line in the blurb "This is Fantasy, as you know it, but yet unfamiliar, and fantasy stranger still than that" is a pretty accurate description of the contents of Fabled Hearts. The stories take place in a shared world, actually a series of worlds, and range in length from a few pages to multiple chapters. My impression of these worlds is that magic is the very essence of their composition, the way atoms are of ours. The inhabitants, humanoid to varying degrees or not at all, vary in power but it seems at least some familiarity with magic comes as naturally as breathing. The stories are also described as ranging "from silly to serious"; in general the mood is playful and whimsical, with quips of light humour, and a few tense moments.

My first impression was it has some charm but mainly on a childish level. There are a significant number of grammar mistakes/typo’s which contribute to an amateurish effect. But there was something there. I then tried a couple of the later, longer pieces and my patience was rewarded. There is a lot I like about these stories. The writing structure could flow better, but the stories have a freshness and originality that seems to just bubble up naturally. I run into passages like this:

"The water sprites dancing on the froth were not nearly as solemn, laughing little figures, they stole away pebbles and other things that broke from the cliff, tossing them amongst themselves. They spent every day like this, never remembering the previous day."

..and get this lovely shiver of awe. While the general outline of the stories may reflect familiar tropes, the details decidedly inform you that you are in an unknown universe.

All in all, it is a bit amateurish (though improving), but there’s something special and intriguing here. It’s a fun and wondrous world to visit a couple times a week, and believe me, you’ll never guess what you will encounter next.

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