Tangle: Edition XY

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Title and Link: Tangle: Edition XY
Editor: Nicole Kimberling
Publisher: Blind Eye Books

Genre: GLBT Fantasy, M/M

Length: 381 pages
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 Stars

Guest Reviewer: Kris

The Blurb:

Eleven stories of magic, mystery and the fantastic future, all featuring gay heroes. Swordsmen, cyborgs, magicians, ghosts, psychic lovers and enchanted lords fill this anthology with adventure, laughter and passion.

Authors – Steven Adamson, Astrid Amara, Mark Allan Gunnells, Ginn Hale, Tenea D. Johnson, Jeremiah Job Levine, Erin MacKay, Gene Mederos, Jesse Sandoval and Lawrence Schimel.

The Review:

Honesty from the outset (and what will become my standard line for anthologies)~

I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies. Love because I really enjoy the diversity of voices and styles contained within a single volume and hate because inevitably with so many stories there will be a couple I’m unable to connect with. It is always disappointing when that happens because it can colour your view of the work as a whole and perhaps even the stories which come after.

First things first~

This is not a review of all eleven stories (nine novellettes and two novellas) included in Tangle. Instead, I have selected several which resonated with me as well as a couple that didn’t hit as many of my reader’s buttons. I hope this approach will give you a ‘real’ taste of the anthology without boring you to death with my crap prose. (You better like it cos I doing the same for the next one too! :) )

Lord Ronan’s Shoes by Astrid Amara Rating 4.5 out of 5 Stars

This is a terrific story about a young servant, who starts to work for a cruel and critical Lord with something of a foot fetish. *g* Magical boots sweeten the Lord up to kindness and love, but at what cost?! This has all the entertaining earmarks of fairy tales of old complete with gloomy, bramble covered mansions in the middle of a forest, magical garments, servants and masters, a beauty and the beast-type moral, an old crone, and an HEA; albeit a little rushed. I think this author shows what a very fine storyteller she is in Lord Ronan’s Shoes.

Feral Machines by Ginn Hale Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

In Feral Machines, Ginn Hale offers up more flawed characters to much enjoyment. This futuristic story features Andrew; one of the two last remaining inhabitants of a wildlife sanctuary, and his desperate attempts to save this habitat from the greedy powers that be. What I liked the most about this novella is the way the characters grow as the plot – paced beautifully – progresses, especially how Andrew comes to understand his actions are not as benevolent as he thinks.

Monument by Steven Adamson Rating 3.75 out of 5 Stars

This ghost story with a message won’t be to everyone’s taste (and I’ve read a couple of reviews along this vein), however I thought Monument was a good story about a horny teenager dealing with issues associated with his sexuality and his first relationship. I loved the irony in this; the contrast between the main character’s criticism of his boyfriend’s effeminate mannerisms and behaviour and his own desire for a ‘candlelight and music’ romance. God love teenage angst. :)

A couple of issues/warnings~

A few of the stories were very short (only a few pages long) to varying degrees of success.
Tenea D. Johnson’s Release in A Minor warrants particular mention because of the sensuality of her writing. The imagery conjured up by Clyde’s, the main character’s, trumpet playing is very lush. However, I was left feeling vaguely unsatisfied because I didn’t really learn anything substantial about Clyde. I would have liked to get to know him more in a longer story.

In The Lost Gentleman by Mark Allan Gunnells’ story, a stranded traveller becomes infatuated with a man he discovers in a nearby home. Whilst an okay read, this is a familiar ghost story, which did not offer anything really new to me as a reader and I found the ending a little contrived.

My recommendation~

Although a couple of the stories in Tangle didn’t work for me as much as others, the majority of them did and I would suggest this anthology to those readers looking for a variety of unusual m/m fantasy tales.

BTW, I also recommend you go check out the Blind Eye Books website for some great original art associated with Tangle. I particularly like the work for Lord Ronan’s Shoes. *g*

7 thoughts on “Tangle: Edition XY

  1. Tam

    Wow, 11 stores in one book, that’s a biggie. Great review and your process worked wonderfully. Reviewing 11 would have been pretty overwhelming for you and the reader. :-)

  2. Jenre

    Great review, Kris. You’ve managed to select the highlights as well as clearly explain why the anthology as a whole worked for you (and the bits that didn’t). Very thoughtful and interesting.

  3. Tam

    I looked at the pics and that’s a very cool idea, it kind of gives you a sense of each story rather than just a giant overview. I liked the ones for Monument and Crossing the Distance.

  4. K. Z. Snow

    My favorite story in this wonderful anthology was “Los Conversos” by Jesse Sandoval. Absolutely transporting, in part due to the exquisite prose. I wish more of this author’s work would appear somewhere.

    Blind Eye’s illustrations and cover art are always fabulous! They invariably add an extra and very special dimension to each work.

    It’s just a nifty little pub all around.

  5. Kris

    Hi Tam, and thanks! I’d seen two other approaches to reviewing Tangle; one which reviewed all 11 and one that really didn’t say much at all. Being Libran, I thought I’d take the middle road and attempt to hit the highs and lows in something a bit more accessible to you guys. :)

    Isn’t the artwork terrific?? I was very tempted to contact BEB and ask permission to post some of the images with this review, but it was too hard for me to choose which ones I wanted to use. LOL. Plus Wave’s blogger hates my guts so I try to avoid upseting it as much as possible.

  6. Kris

    Thanks Jen. *Phew!*

    As I said to Tam, what I hoped to do was give you guys a big enough mouthful of this anthology to enable you to decide for yourself whether you were interested enough to have a taste. I’m very glad this approach worked for you, especially as I will be using it for the next one too. *g*

  7. Kris

    K Z, “Los Conversos” was wonderful, wasn’t it. When I was writing this review I got caught up in this story again and HAD to re-read it. The author’s writing style is beautiful and very evocative.

    I am also a huge fan of BEB in particular their courage taking on such a niche market. I now have 3 of their 5 publications and have added Astrid Amara’s The Archer’s Heart to my wish list. :)

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