A well crafted introduction
C. Borden’s Short Stories from Mythnium is the perfect hors d’oeuvre to wet the appetite and left me hungry for more.
I freely confess that this was a first for me, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading an anthology of short fantasy stories before. The closest I’ve come is the Silmarillion by J.R.R.Tolkien, but that is more of a long form prologue detailing the history of middle earth, whereas in this book of Mythnium tales, Borden treats us to an introductory smorgasboard of characters and locations that will no doubt feature within her as of yet published novel(s)
A first glance at the cover didn’t give me much of an impression as to what to expect from the book, so in that sense I was greatly surprised and happy to discover such a fantastical and carefully constructed world in its pages. Although, one thing the cover does evoke, with its pale tones and misty landscape, is the sense of the ethereal, like the mists of Avalon, bearing King Arthur to his eternal rest, hiding him from the rest of the world. I got the impression that there was much more to Mythnium behind this misty cover, much like the legend of Arthur and his knights, I thought to expect, swords and magic and even darkness.
For me, the first two stories were lacking in much content, hardly anything seemed to happen, but even the first story titled ‘Valero’, although the shortest of all of them, ended on an intriguing note that suggested much more exciting and darker things to come, which enticed me to read on, which of course a good story should do. However, I did feel that certain descriptions were lacking in this story and that it was assumed the reader should already know what a goblin looks like. I know what Tolkien says a goblin looks like, but should I use this as the standard by which to measure all fantasy goblins? I would have liked to know what the goblins in C.Borden’s head look like, for our concepts may be entirely different. I like my goblins the way I like my chocolate, no not smooth and dark, in all manner of varieties.
The second story titled ‘Colna’ again didn’t offer much until the end when a tantalising tidbit of information was given that I believe has set up the plot for a full novel.
Having said this, as the stories progressed Borden’s world came into its own with a host of characters waiting to be discovered. My favourite stories were that of ‘Aldrina’ ‘Estryl’ and ‘Orinus’, there were some dark and upsetting themes in some of these stories, which were described with equal bluntness and sincerity which I liked, as it added depth, grit and realism to the fantasy world. These stories in particular I felt, really developed well and gave an insight into the contrasting human and magical beings and certain aspects of these stories teased a much bigger arc.
Although these stories are set within the same world, I also got the impression that they were happening simultaneously in different parts of the land. I don’t know if this was the author’s intention, but I liked that, to me at least it read that way, because I can imagine the characters banding together to save Mythnium in the future.
There were a few miniscule errors which hardly bears mentioning other than transparency and honesty, but these were so minor they did not detract from the story one bit.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author. I want to know more of Mythnium, more history, more of the landscape, I want to be able to see it as clearly in my mind as the author does in hers. There were shades of LotR and The Witcher, which for fans of either, I’m sure you will enjoy this.
I rated this book
Blurb from Amazon
Enter the world of Mythnium through these tales of heroism, discovery, and realization. Meet Elves, Dwarves, and Humans who play significant roles in the continual battle between good and evil. Each of these short stories introduces you to Mythnium’s races, creatures, magic, and hints at something dark on the horizon. This anthology paves the way for C. Borden’s upcoming novels about Mythnium and her heroes and villains. This anthology takes you on eight journeys into the lives of different characters who come from different backgrounds, different cultures, and different races. These snapshots into the world of Mythnium open the doors to place of magic, danger, intrigue, romance, and adventure.