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Tag Archives: Teresa Frohock

Manifesto: UF, edited by Tim Marquitz & Tyson Mauermann

Manifesto UFPremise: Strange creatures lurk in the shadows in shady back alleys and street corners, waiting to ensnare and devour unsuspecting victims. Battles between good and evil are being fought by angels and demons out of sight of humans. What we see every day is far from what is actually happening in this world and beyond.

The dangerous and illicit activities of inhuman things are ripe for these fantastical stories. With vampires, were-creatures, ghosts, angels, demons, dragons, wizards, trolls, goblins, and more, the imagination is free to run wild. These are the things that make up the tales told in Manifesto: UF.

Themes: Redemption plays a huge role in this anthology, since many of the main characters have fallen from grace or are making up for shortcomings from times past. In order to regain balance of power or to redeem their previous mistakes, it means helping others who cannot help themselves.

Many characters are also seeking justice for themselves or for the innocent. With enduring conflicts and forsaken people, making up for this becomes possible by conquering the evil at the root of the turmoil. Even if it means sacrificing a piece of themselves, the tradeoff for is sometimes worth the price.

Pros: Strangely, I felt pretty strongly about most of the stories in this collection on both sides of the spectrum of liking and not liking them. There were a few that make me want to go find more from the author, such as RL Treadway’s “That Old Tree” that gives personality into a tree long past its reasonable age, intertwined with the lives of those around it in order to give it an ultimate purpose. I loved the emotion of “Green Grow the Rashes” by William Meikle brought out by a haunting song and the discovery of the joys of existence. Teresa Frohock manages to impart soul into song through a frantic search for a lost thread from the tapestry of Armageddon. There is something in here for most readers, at least if you are willing to winnow through the broad variety of styles and subjects.

Cons: With a few exceptions, most of the stories contain profanity, gory violence, drug use, or explicit sex, with at least one containing all of the above. A few of the stories have an anti-religion slant that is not just indifference toward religions, but intentionally and relentlessly inflammatory that highlights this view in a way is unnecessary, especially since in at least one case I think it actually takes away from the story itself. There were a couple of stories that also felt incomplete, leaving me questioning what was supposed to happen next.

Recommendations: With so many urban fantasy books being written for a younger audience, this set of short stories especially targets adult readers. Manifesto: UF is not for the faint of heart or the thin-skinned. There are several gems in here, such as Teresa Frohock’s enchanting “Naked the Night Sings” and Nikolas Sharps’ humorous “Toejam and Shrapnel” that help to redefine the sub-genre as more than just young adult. While not as seamlessly compiled and unified in voice as Marquitz’s previous Fading Light anthology, Manifesto UF does a better job than most anthologies in showcasing each author’s writing style and will more likely leave you with the knowledge of whether you will love or hate an author’s work. Rest assured this collection contains work from some talented writers. You’ll just have to read through it to find the ones you like.

Tim Marquitz’s website
Manifesto UF on Goodreads
Buy Manifesto: UF on Amazon
Download Manifesto UF for your Kindle
I received a copy from one of the authors to write this honest review.

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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Fantasy, Short Story

 

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Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock

Miserere: An Autumn TalePremise: There is a place that separates Earth from Hell, and that place is called Woerld. The Katharoi are knights who come from various religions and are imbued with special powers used to protect Woerld and Earth from the powers of Hell. The Fallen want nothing more than to take over Woerld, break into Earth, and eventually storm the gates of Heaven itself.

Lucian is a former Katharos in exile after saving his twin sister Catarina out of Hell in exchange for his lover Rachael. The problem is that Catarina doesn’t want to be saved. Catarina has been making deals with Mastema and the Fallen Angels and Lucian is accused of joining in her evil work. After being left in Hell but rejecting Mastema, Rachael has been disfigured and possessed by a demon. She is doing everything she can to keep the demon at bay, but her Katharoi powers are starting to show weaknesses that make those around her question her loyalties.

Then foundlings Peter and Lindsay Richardson come through the Crimson Veil from Earth to Woerld, though too close to a Hell Gate. These kids will become new Katharoi if they can be found before the Fallen get to them. Peter is found by Rachael but has been attacked, and Lucian goes after Lindsay in Hell, breaking his covenant with the Citadel to not open the Hell Gates ever again. He saves Lindsay but opens himself up to more troubles, including complicit Katharoi wrapped up in the schemes of Mastema and the Fallen. They soon find out that they can trust no one and Lucian, Rachael, and Lindsay must rely on each other. Is there anyone they can trust?

Themes: Love is what gets Lucian into his situation in the first place. What is the difference love and loyalty? He loves Rachael and his twin Catarina, but because of his promise to his father he protects Cate by bringing her out of Hell instead of Rachael. He might have assumed that Rachael was strong enough to make it out alive, but his loyalty and love for his sister made his decision difficult and ultimately led to his exile.

After fleeing from his sister, Lucian has a chance for redemption. He finds an old Katharos, Matthew, who gives Lucian his sword and helps him escape Hadra in order to go help Rachael overcome the demon inside her. In Lindsay he has a chance at redemption, but in order to do so he has to break his promises to not open the Hell Gates. He also must do what is right, even if it means his own death, in order to find redemption with Rachael, who is given the task of bringing Lucian back to the Citadel to be judged.

Lucian may be running from Catarina, but he does not run from his fate. In order to gain mercy along with Rachael’s trust he gives himself up to her and John, his Elder, to be judged. He speaks the truth and his side of the story is finally told. Will he die for his past and current crimes and broken promises or will Rachael say “Miserere, Have Mercy” and will mercy be given?

Pros: The imperfect characters had real depth with inner turmoil that made them all believable. The magic system is interesting, with religious tones that were engaging without going down the easy roads of being blasphemous or preachy. I don’t know if it was intended, but to have real power invoked through prayer made me think about the real life application for the religious. There was a real care for people making mistakes and whether or not they are willing to be held accountable for them or for others to hold them accountable. The bad guys turn out to be really bad guys who are willing to do horrible things to people for what they want. The imagery for some of these were just plain creepy, in a good way.

Cons: Lindsay seemed to fade into the background near the end of the story. I don’t know if she is being set up for another book because there are paths here to be explored more in future books. I am ready for more books in this universe. I just wish we could have learned more about Lindsay’s fate before the end. I guess we’ll have to wait for book two.

Recommendations: Miserere is a fascinating read full of religious symbols and character interactions that are realistic and gripping. The scenes were intense, from magic and swordplay battles to intimate meetings between scarred souls. I went into Miserere not knowing what it was about and with no expectations and was surprised by a deep and stirring look at redemption for the past mistakes of people entrusted with great power. If all fantasy had this much hope for redemption, then I want more fantasy from Teresa Frohock.

Teresa Frohock’s website
Miserere: An Autumn Tale on Goodreads
Buy Miserere: An Autumn Tale on Amazon
Buy ebook of Miserere: An Autumn Tale for your Kindle

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Fantasy

 

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