Review: WolfSongs Vol.1, edited by M.H. Bonham
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
WolfSongs Volume 1
edited by M.H. Bonham
WolfSinger Publications, 2008
Paperback, 208 pages (a .pdf was reviewed)
ISBN: 0615262341 (Amazon.com)
$14.45 (paperback) / $2.67 (download)
The first WolfSongs anthology arguably contains every wolf story you'll ever need. There are love stories, stories of magic and enchantment, scary stories, heart-warming stories, and, most important of all, wolves. Human wolves and wolfy humans. Snow and blood.
Editor M.H. Bonham has brought together no fewer than twenty-two stories of wolves who are human and humans who are wolves. There are werewolves, to be sure--the collection wouldn't be complete without them--but what's on offer here is far more varied than that. Shapeshifters, enchanted beings (or maybe they're cursed) and even people for whom a wolf's life is simply better.
In 'What Large Teeth', S.N. Arly (and isn't that a lovely...pseudonym?) brings us a rewrite of the Little Red Riding Hood story that puts a whole new slant on who's the villain and who's innocent. After all, wolves don't eat people--or do they? Maybe when the conditions are right.
The lovely 'Moonsong and Shadow', by Laura J. Underwood, brings us two eponymous characters who only want to be together. Unfortunately, a curse means one is human by day and wolf by night, and the other, vice versa. Can a solution be found?
The stories in this anthology are to a high standard, with only a few duds, although the editing slips on occasion. Two stand-outs for me were J. Kathleen Cheney's gentle coming-of-age story 'The Bear Girl', which eschews the obvious for a highly-satisfying conclusion, and 'Wolf Dream' by Laura K. Deal. The reluctant Len is called to duty by a white wolf--but is she real or spirit? And does she know his inner heart? The limitations of the short-story form mean the resolution of 'Wolf Dream' is slightly rushed, but it's a story that lingers in the memory.
Anthologies are particularly well-suited to the e-format as the conclusion of each story forms a natural break. I found WolfSongs comfortable and enjoyable reading, and I'm prepared to give the editor a pass on the errors in later stories, egregious though some of them are.
And hey, who could resist that cover art?
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