Title: Magic & Mischief
Author: Megan Derr
Published: August 2010
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I typically enjoy Megan Derr’s work and am all about m/m romance fantasy stories, so this anthology of stories sounded like it would be right up my alley. And while it was okay overall, I feel like it fell short of my expectations. Several of the stories take place in the same universe – separated by other stories in between – but there wasn’t any clear way this was indicated so it was confusing at times to go “oh that’s the same name – wait, this is the guy who was mentioned in the background three stories ago”. I also was thrown by some obvious typos and one of the stories where the name of a character was used interchangeably causing further confusion about who was who.
The Dragon’s Treasure
Tate is a dragon who works for Mad Finnegan, a magician. When the demon Tate is pining over, Macklin, asks Tate to help him track down a treasure, he, of course, agrees. I didn’t really have strong feelings about this story, one way or the other.
The Seklie No One Wanted
Kelp is a Selkie who is very unlike any of his kind. He doesn’t see himself as appealing because he’s never had someone let him know they thought him so. When he stumbles across a fisherman in need of assistance and helps him, they become fast friends. But the fisherman doesn’t know Kelp is a Selkie, and Kelp doesn’t know what will happen if he finds out. This one was really confusing to me – I felt like there wasn’t enough set up for this world to make sense.
Amenico is a demon who comes across a baby in his lands. Delwyn is a knight who comes to rescue the child and Amenico tries to convince him that he didn’t kidnap the baby. While I think the setup here definitely limits what can be done, there just wasn’t much in terms of the relationship between the two by the end.
The story of Mad Finnegan finding his love – and be forewarned, it’s with a family member. I didn’t think the way it’s presented here was particularly gratuitous, but even so I felt like the chemistry was lacking.
This one was also very confusing at first, but once I got a handle on what was happening, it was one of the most enjoyable stories in the anthology. There was a build to the relationship, the characters were dynamic and had great chemistry, and there was a little twist at the end to keep it all the more interesting.
The Innkeeper’s Story
This was another highlight. It probably had the best dynamic between the characters and I felt a strong connection to each of them. I’d love to see more of the characters in this one.
Here we get a story involving Becket, the brother of Macklin from the story that opened the anthology. While the concept is interesting, it’s another one where there is little development of one of the characters in the couple and basically no development of the relationship.
Talis steals things for Hex, a magician that he has a bit of a crush on. Hex has no idea until it ends up coming out right in their faces. This one did hold my interest a bit more than a few of the other stories.
As I finish the review, I’m wondering why I gave this three stars, but I think the two that were really good were just so good that they balance the others out.