Saturday, September 28, 2013

Irony of Survival (Zharmae Anthology Series #2) - Ashley's Review (Book I)

*I received this anthology from The Zharmae Publishing Press in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Irony of Survival

Edited by: Anna McDermott
Year Published: 2013

Synopsis: Futures teetering between fate and chance unravel in fantastical realities spanning time and space; each bringing us face-to-face with the unexpected in Irony of Survival – a dynamic collection that explores how life’s ironic twists and turns challenge and, at times, ensure mankind’s survival. 

Never before has the role of irony in challenging our perspective, questioning consequence, and disrupting equilibrium been more distinctly illuminated than in this artfully spellbinding work that provides readers a looking-glass through which to view their own tales of survival. 

Experience firsthand how an unlikely instance, in an instant, can be the turning point of destiny.


Review: Since this anthology is split into three different books, I think I'll review each story, with the reviews separated by Book. Anthologies are always so weird for me to review.

1. Of Dogs and Vomit by Kevin Bennett: This is a story about a cop and an escaped slave and involves theft, drugs, and a secret plot involving government officials. I think it had some potential, but felt really awkward as a short story. There were chapters and it kept going back and forth between characters and perspectives and didn't really work. I think it would have been better as a full-length novel. 2.5/5

2. Catalogue Phantasma by Frances Pauli: What would you do if you found a catalogue that could make your dreams come true and then had to choose just one? I actually really enjoyed this story, although it did get a little confusing at times with the jumps between dreams and reality. I thought the ending was actually interesting and well done, and I'm not surprised that the MC made the choice she did. 4/5.

3. Shall You Know Me When You See Me? by Johanna Lipford: After 15 years of marriage to an older woman, Henry has an affair with his secretary and considers divorce. I'm not really sure how I felt about this story. The only character I really liked was the wife, Cynthia, and we don't really see much of her. I have absolutely no idea what happened at the end, and it felt like the whole story just came to a screeching halt. I wish there was more to the ending and more of a plot. 1.5/5

4. Knackerman by Malachi King: In this story, a man - the Knackerman - goes to a farm to pick up dead cows that have strange cuts and things on them. This story was pretty far out there and was a little slow at times, but for the most part it kept me entertained. The ending was very abrupt and open, but it wasn't terrible. 3/5

5. Station 17-B by Brandon Steenbock: The crew of Station 17-B have severe cases of PTSD, but no one knows what happened to them because the only thing they can say concerning the incident is "Station 17-B." So of course, we get to find out! The set-up is very slow, and then the reveal is not at all what I expected, so props on that. I think if there had been a little more action and it had been explained more clearly, this story would have been better. 3/5

6. The Green Shadow by Nyla Nox: I honestly have no idea what happened in this story. There's a girl who sees another girl who is pretty much "the green shadow" and a King who has many wives and many babies by these wives... but I could not figure out what in the world this story was trying to do. I think it's too long and doesn't really fit in this anthology with stories that are 20 pages or less, and it did not hold my attention at all. 1/5

Overall, Book I would be a 2.5/5. Some stories are interesting and along the lines of what I expect from a short story, but others just fall short. I hope Book II and III are better! 


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