All fires eventually burn out. But occasionally, passion reignites the flame and the Phoenix soars once more.
The Flight of the Phoenix brings together seven authors with their individual short stories around the central theme of hope and rebirth from smoldering ashes. Wonder at this transmutation as these authors explore a dragon’s selfish quest for vengeance, the discovery that a captor is sometimes the captive, how far one will go off the beaten path for love, how change could become vital to survival, how nature will restore what it has lost, cheese filled sausage and love in Ireland, and the bleak futures of mankind.
All seven authors hail from Gauteng, South Africa, but none of them adhere to what can be traditionally associated with Africa. These stories range from high fantasy to horror and science fiction.
Rise on fiery wings with The Flight of the Phoenix.
Elmien Grove is a South African writer who started off mainly as a musician and poet before deciding to try her hand at story writing. Figuring she has had enough crazy experiences in her life to fill several lifetimes, she first started a blog where she spoke candidly about the highlights as well as the shadows she has faced before turning 30. After turning 30 she got bored writing the truth and decided to start writing more fiction, which brings us to the present. She currently resides in Pretoria where she spends her days working as a pharmaceutical sales rep. Her hobbies are, amongst others, working in her vegetable garden, playing the piano, cooking, reading, window shopping and above all, day dreaming about interesting concepts for future stories. She has three cats, one dog and a husband, all of which she absolutely adores and spoils rotten. Other work: Elle Poetry (Blogger.com) I’d Rather Be Shopping (Blogger.com)
The reviewer was given an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this anthology in return for an honest review.
South African indie authors are at it again and another gem of an anthology has just been released. Firmly set in fantasy, the seven authors have taken one common theme and have woven their magic into it, producing this very entertaining read. The Phoenix anthology will satisfy readers who enjoy fantasy, escapism, action, humour and even sheer horror. So, if you’re not a fan of any of the above, then The Flight of the Phoenix is not for you. But, if you are, you are certainly in for a treat.
Below I have reviewed a few of my favourite stories from this edition.
It would not be an understatement to say that Elmien Grove, author of Gargoyles, should confidently brand herself as a skilled horror writer. Her story takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and will leave you wondering, in terror: What if this really happened? Being a fan of the horror/thriller genres, I enjoyed every minute of this read.
The Phoenix Syndrome, by HJ Kruger had a good story line. His offering is fast-paced and jam-packed with action. One does, however, get the feeling that this story is actually a novella or novel squeezed into the word count limitation of a short story. It would be interesting to see what this author can do outside of these constraints.
Natalie Rivener offers a buccaneering tale with a difference in Captive. The story is well-written and engaging, though it does feel like only the start of a larger story. Looking forward to seeing what happens next.
The stand-out story for me, though, was The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo by Rhyen E. Knight. With his quirky Douglas-Adams-esque style of writing, Knight made me laugh out loud and cringe on behalf of the awkward protagonist in all the right places. He managed to make Tom a believable and likeable character. The story flowed effortlessly and was an easy read. If this is Knight’s signature style of writing and brand of humour, then I would be eager to read more of his future works.
An impressive example of South African authors taking the indie publishing world by storm once more. The Flight of the Phoenix is a spell-binding, thought-provoking and, at times, deliciously dark read. If you're a fan of the supernatural, paranormal or fantastical, then this is a must to add to your reading list.
I absolutely love the concept of this anthology. It is a brilliant way for South Africa authors to get their names out there, to collaborate, to share feedback and to have something to show for their efforts at the end of the day. These stories, as I understand it, are largely by first-time authors and writers looking for a break. They have certainly put together interesting and in some cases gripping tales. Some tales shone brighter than the others (Gargoyles and Draca are my personal favourites), but it can be touch and go.
My only beef with this anthology is that the editing rather let the authors down. From the acknowledgements it seems that the various writers edited each other's work, and the result is that they weren't quite hard enough on each other. There was some trimming that needed to be done, some author tics that needed to be toned down that an impartial editor would have picked up quickly.
That said, if you enjoy fantasy and short stories, this is a good title to pick up. I do hope there are more of these in future, just with tighter editing.
Some of the stories in this anthology weren't altogether great, and would have benefited from another few rounds of beta reading and editing. Others were simply fantastic, and while most stopped short of being thought-provoking, I feel this was a great effort and an entertaining read.
Special mention to my favourites:
The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo by Ryhen E Knight - a bit of excellent fantasy humour that reminds strongly of authors like Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman.
Ifrit by Caldon Mull - a many layered story set in far futuristic South Africa where water is increasingly scarce, but advanced technology exists that would render it almost redundant for humans. I will defintely watch out for anything else Mull has to offer.
Guardian Angel by Richard T Wheeler - a refreshing take on the zombie apocalypse genre that leaves me wanting to read more of it.
A thoroughly enjoyable collection of seven short stories - four of which I found to be excellent stories that drew me in, kept me in and left me with delicious feelings that lingered longer than the story's end; feelings of more than just reading words: the feelings of experience. What a ride!