B is for Burned/Every Broken Creature

Twin half-elves endeavour to help a little boy suffering from a lung ailment while his cruel father plots against the boy's only human friend in "B is for Burned/Every Broken Creature." Available now in the F is for Fairy anthology. 

Published In: 
F is for Fairy
Bibliographic Entry: 

MacCath, C.S. 2019. "B Is for Burned/Every Broken Creature." In F Is for Fairy, edited by Rhonda Parrish, 29–54. Edmonton: Poise and Pen.


As with any compilation, there are stories and then there are stories that shine. In this collection, all of the stories are good and well-written, and some of them are standouts.

My favorites? L.S. Johnson sets the pace with an opening story that mixed a familiar childhood tale with an intriguing twist, and C.S. MacCath followed by filling in the unknown pieces in an actual event that happened centuries ago. Andrew Bourelle’s story blended the fairy world with a touch of horror and dread. BD Wilson’s tale borrowed from many sources to create something that could only be cast as an apocalyptical world where the laws of the Fae reign supreme, twisting everything and allowing the nightmares to creep in and take root.

As always, editor Rhonda Parrish does an outstanding job. The 26 story headings (one for each letter of the alphabet) served as a fun game (I kept trying to guess what word she would assign to each letter when revealed at the end of the stories). Whether intended or not, the mixture of stories was quite good. Even when a story struck me as okay but not outstanding, I knew the next one or the one after that would catch me unawares with either a surprise ending or a masterful recital of a tale that the author would not allow to become mundane. Extremely entertaining, highly recommended. Four-and-a-half stars.

Dee Arr

This is the sixth Alphabet Anthology book, where each story is titled with a word starting with each subsequent letter of the alphabet. I wouldn't mind finding the first few (though they have different themes, so I don't feel like I missed anything). Overall this was a fun read, and I truly enjoyed trying to figure out what word each story was representing. Most of the time I was wrong ;)

The stories span genres--you'll find traditional fairy tales reminiscent of A Midsummer Night's Dream, urban fantasy, light horror, even a fae story taking place on a spaceship. Stories that stood out for me: a tale of Nordic fae by C.S. MacCath; Stephanie A. Cain's story of unusual ancestry; Rachel M. Thompson's royal romance; Megan Engelhardt's World War I tale; Michael M Jones' story of a club where love can be lost, and found; the reveal of a most unexpected facet of an ogre by Michael Fosburg; and the completely unexpected juxtaposition of hockey and imminent apocalypse by Beth Cato (the author who informed me of this anthology's existence).

Not a problem, just an observation: some of the stories are very short. It was a surprise when I tapped through the book on my iPad and suddenly a story was done. More power to authors who can tell a complete story in few words. As with any anthology, be prepared for swings in author style, which can be jarring.

If you like short stories with fantastical bents, this anthology is for you.

I received this book as a complimentary e-ARC from Booksprout in exchange for an honest review.

Jennifer Shew