Tag Archives: publisher: book smugglers

Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang

23289443Title: Hunting Monsters
Author: S.L. Huang
Published: October 7, 2014
Pages: 50
Publisher: Book Smugglers Publishing
Author Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

“Happy birthday, child. Careful not to shoot any grundwirgen.”

Ever since she was a small girl, she has learned to be careful on the hunt, to recognize the signs that separate regular animals from human-cursed grundwirgen. To harm a grundwirgen is a crime punishable by death by the King’s decree – a fatal mistake that her Auntie Rosa and mother have carefully prepared her to avoid.

On her fifteenth birthday, when her mother is arrested and made to stand trial for grundwirgen murder, everything she thought she knew about her family and her past comes crashing down.

Auntie Rosa has always warned her about monsters. Now, she must find and confront them to save her mother, no matter the cost.

To say this is a beautifully-written and intriguing tale is true, but it hardly does this story justice. As a reader, I was taken on an adventure and an emotional journey that one might not think is possible in a story of this length.  Short fiction is often a challenge – to fully develop characters and create a rich world in just a few pages is not easy. But with this story, S.L. Huang proves it’s more than possible while also providing a thrilling fantasy story that will leave you thinking about it long after you finish the last page.

This is one I was definitely sad to see miss the Hugo ballot…

The Ninety-Ninth Bride by Catherine F. King

23725228Title: The Ninety-Ninth Bride
Author: Catherine F. King
Published: December 16, 2014
Pages: 37
Publisher: Book Smugglers Publishing
Publisher Link: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Dunya is in a bit of a predicament. The fifteen-year-old has been given to the Sultan as a bride by her father. Ninety-eight Sultanas have come before her, all suffering the same fate: execution at dawn. But when a mysterious woman shows up while Dunya is waiting for the Sultan, there’s a chance that everything could be different this time around.

I’m all about well-written retellings of popular stories, especially when they’re different enough to have a new layer of meaning or a different message. That’s exactly what Catherine F. King has done here. There are some great messages in here about family and gender and empowerment and human existence in general. The characters have real dimension to them and I absolutely enjoyed the journey King took me on as a reader. I look forward to reading more of her work.

In Her Head, In Her Eyes by Yukimi Ogawa

23360811Title: In Her Head, In Her Eyes
Author: Yukimi Ogawa
Published: October 21, 2014
Pages: 30
Publisher: Book Smugglers Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

As this is a piece of short fiction, and I find it difficult to provide a synopsis that doesn’t inadvertently spoil some of the key elements of this story, I’m going to post the book blurb:

Trills of silver, quiver of gold.

Pot Head, they called her. Heavy-head, they teased her. In a noble house of dye masters, Island-born Hase is an outcast, ridiculed by her fellow servants and employers – all because of the smooth, reflective sphere that covers her head. Little does the household know that Hase has a mission and a purpose, carried behind her pot-covered head, in her impenetrable eyes.

Talk about intriguing, this one.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Yukimi Ogawa has created a very rich and dynamic work here that comes to life in a short amount of space.  There are some unexpected twists that keep the reader engaged and allow one to get a better understanding of the characters based on their actions and intent.  This one has secured itself a place on my Hugo nominations ballot.