by Rhonda Parrish
I like the idea of theme anthologies and the concept of this one really appealed to me. All the stories involve some sort of creatures of fire.
I hadn't heard of any of the authors so it was a bit of a gamble, and like most anthologies with a collection of unfamiliar authors, some stories appealed to me more than others.
We had an Ifrit, a fire sprite, demons, including one who fought an Angel, dragons, gryphons, genies, an elemental magician, a tribute to Jim Morrison (though the author didn't seem aware that he didn't write Light My Fire), a host of mythological fire gods, Phoenixes and an Aitvara.
Unfortunately five and a half of the twenty-one stories were written in present tense, which I detest and find difficult to read (one kept switching between past and present tense).
Four of the stories stood out as particularly good. These were:
The Second Great Fire by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Breath of the Caldera by Wendy Nikel, The Midwife and the Phoenix by J.G. Formato and especially Double or Nothing by Mara Malins, which involved a game of cards that brought to mind Magic the Gathering, but with real creatures. This one made the book worthwhile on its own.
While I can only give the collection as a whole three stars, these authors I'll be looking to see what else they've written.