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When the Hero Comes Home Paperback – Jun 16 2011
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About the Author
Carmel Greenwood, born in Australia, visited Hong Kong for a two-week holiday and stayed for thirty years. She has studied, practised and taught metaphysics for many years in the Far East, San Francisco and London, where she now lives.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There's such a wonderful diversity in these stories. Sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy, it's definitely a new experience with every story. And there are some real flashes of brilliance in here.
Keeping Time by Gabrielle Harbowy I read first, because she's my editor and I idolize her but I'd never read anything by her. I was so pleasantly surprised, both by the compelling storytelling and by the ending. The Once and Now-ish King by JM Frey I jumped to next, since I already love her debut novel, Triptych. That. One. Rocks. So insanely clever and funny.
There's such raw, real humanity--and inhumanity--in The Evil that Remains by Erik Buchanan. Brine Magic by Tony Pi was unique, fascinating, and moving. One and Twenty Summers by Brian Cortijo left me gasping for more--and those were not tears, really they weren't. But, Brian, when you write more of this one, I want first dibs.
The imagery and emotion of Ashes of the Bonfire Queen by Rosemary Jones was so real that I find myself still thinking of it, feeling it, more than a week later. Mirror Mirror by Phil Rossi was such a creepy-realistic look at the human psyche and the things we do and are capable of. And if I'm ever capable of writing the rich prose Erik Scott de Bie does in Oathbreaker, a Tale of the World of Ruin, I'll die a happy writer. The best part of that one wasn't just the beautiful drapery, but the way it revealed a fascinating story set in a world far more well-imagined than you usually expect in a short.
Full Circle, by Steve Bornstein, may well be my secret favorite. I'm a sucker for a well-told second person POV and this one is pitch perfect. Steve also builds an great story from very little real info to start on, letting the surprise unfurl with the story, without leaving you scratching your head wondering what's going on. Just the delicious thrill of I-know-I'm-going-to-love-this-as-soon-as-I-figure-it-out.
Those aren't all the great things about this anthology, or even the best, simply the ones that stick out to me over a week later when I finally had a chance to write this review. Don't do yourself the disservice of missing this one. It's an amazing experience.
When The Hero Comes Home looks at the aftermath of various heroic battles and daring deeds, something that contemporary fantasy rarely does. In doing so the authors use the fantasy setting to examine some very real world issues like PTSD and the ways that trauma can change us.
Moving as the anthology was, don't think that it's all doom and gloom, some of the stories are pure fun, and even the more serious tales manage to find a glimmer of hope for the protagonists. I think this is a big part of what makes When The Hero Comes Home so good; it would have been easy to make every one of the stories inside an angst fest, or to write off the traumas the characters have gone through as trivial but all of the stories handle the fine line well.
The stories all have a fantasy setting, but within that catch all term there are a wide variety of settings and themes. Whether it's the dragon with a penchant for rescuing damsels in Full Circle by Steve Bornstein (which has a fantastically well crafted twist to it) or the "just this side of real life" tale The Evil That Remains by Erik Buchanan; When The Hero Comes Home has something for everyone. There's even a goblins and zombies tale that really does not play out the way you'd expect (The Blue Corpse Corps by Jim C Hines).
There's a sentence I never thought I'd type.
There's also a story in there called The Legend Of Gluck by Marie Bilodeau. If a title that awesome doesn't interest you then you're dead to me.*
I struggled with this review, because there really is nothing bad to say about When The Hero Comes Home, except that I wish I'd written some of these stories, and that I wish there were more of them. I also wish I could go into detail about all the stories contained within; rest assured that they are all excellent. Dragon Moon Pres has outdone themselves with this one.
* OK, dead might be a little harsh. Badly injured at least
N.B This review was originally posted on [...]
Thus, when I noticed this book (as well as its companion 'When The Villain Comes Home'), I decided to buy and read it.
Interesting stories all, some humorous, some not. I most enjoyed the story of the knight who returns home to his farm family,
only to find that his father wants to turn the knight's valiant steed into a plow horse while his mother uses his finely honed
sword to chop turnips......and the only being to whom he can blurt out his frustrations, is the kindly, neighborhood, green tea
sipping dragon! Hilarious!
I'd have to say Brine Magic was my favorite (beautifully written, fascinating magic system, and ties together in a way I didn't quite expect), but there are so many good stories within the pages that it's hard to pick.