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Stars: 3 out of 5.
The problem with anthologies is that the stories in them are usually very uneven. You can find some hidden gems, but you will also find stories that are uninspiring to say the least.
In this particular case, the idea behind the anthology was great. The tired trope of the Chosen One has been done into oblivion over the years, but most of the Chosen Ones are children or young adults. It’s like your membership to this club automatically expires once you turn twenty, or something. It’s refreshing to see stories about Chosen Ones who are middle-aged, and have a wealth of experience behind them. Who have lived their lives, had their teenage rebellions, have settled into their lives, and pretty much know who they are and what they want.
In theory, this premise, this should make for wonderful stories, where the Chosen One doesn’t need prophets or kings to tell them what to do or how to act, and have a strong moral compass on their own. The execution, however, is rather disappointing.
I think the only story I really liked was A Legacy of Ghosts. It felt like a fully fleshed out story with a sympathetic protagonist and some stakes you could feel. The Jackalope Wives was okay as well, but I felt that I liked it more due to the author’s writing style than due to the story itself. Another one I truly enjoyed was Once A Queen. It had that Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire series vibe, and I enjoyed at least the first 2-3 books in that series.
The rest of the stories ranged from meh to frankly mediocre. I went back to re-read the titles of the stories before I sat down to write this review, and I was sad to discover that I couldn’t even remember what some of the stories were about. Yes, they were that unmemorable.
I would say that this is an anthology that you can pick up from your library just to read a few select stories, and don’t feel guilty returning it having skipped the rest.
PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.