ARC Review | A Thousand Beginnings and Endings ed. by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

A Thousand Beginnings and EndingsTitle: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Editors: Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

Rating:  ★★★★☆

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 26, 2018

“I finally know how it ends.”

 


I love anthologies and mythology-based stories, so when I heard of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – an anthology filled with own voices mythology retellings by South and East Asian Authors – it became on of my most anticipated releases of the year. These stories were all so beautifully crafted and utterly captivating. It confirmed my love for a few authors, and introduced me to some who I desperately want to read more from. This is a can’t miss 2018 release.

Average rating 3.67 stars

Most Excited forForbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi; Nothing Into All by Renée Ahdieh; Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa

Favorite StoriesForbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi; The Smile by Aisha Saeed; Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar; The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon

Least Favorite StoriesStill Star-Crossed by Sonia Charaipotra; Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia; Code of Honor by Melissa de la Cruz


Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi (Filipino) | ★★★★★
I love when an anthology has a strong start and this was such a beautiful story and was one of my favorites. Roshani’s writing is fluid and lovely and fits perfectly with the story. I love personified nature in mythology stories and this was no exception. It’s all about forbidden love and protecting your heart and it’s such a wonderful start to this anthology!


Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong (Chinese) | ★★★☆☆
Olivia has taken over her mom’s job working at a Arizona ghost festival, serving a feast to sooth the spirit’s souls so they can move on. I liked the focus on family and respecting those who have come before us, but I didn’t really care about the flachbacks to younger Olivia and didn’t connect to any of the side characters.


Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee (Hmong) | ★★★★☆
This was a cool science fiction story about life after the robotics revolution where all androids were decommissioned as dangerous. Yer’s father, Meng, is an engineer and has grown distant since his job has become obsolete. I really liked this story – there were some great relationships explored that pulled me in.


Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra (Punjabi) | ★★☆☆☆
I really loved the destined feel that this story had, but I just didn’t love the execution. Taara is at a club celebrating Holi with her friends, when she meets Nick who is certain that he knows her and they belong together. The romance was a no for me and I felt like the story was really short. I could have been on board if there was more time to explore the delicate nature of the relationship.


The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette de Bodard (Vietnamese) | ★★★☆☆
This is a fantasy story about two sisters who are taken after their mother’s death to be census girls for the Everlasting Emperor. Tam is older and bolder and wants to escape, while Cam is determined to work her way out. This was a beautiful story that showed the complexities of sibling relationships and rivalry and how that doesn’t define the relationship.


The Land of the Morning Calm by E.C. Myers (Korean) | ★★★★☆
This was a great heartfelt story. I love the connection between the main character and her mom – and how she’s determined to save her mom’s gaming legacy by getting her game character to the Underworld. I like that the mythology and the story fit together so seamlessly.


The Smile by Aisha Saeed (South Asian) | ★★★★★
I was just completely taken in by this story. Yasmine is a courtesan of Prince Kareem and she’s a very talented dancer who’s supposed to help secure a deal with a merchant. Kareem grows jealous and imprisons Yasmine and Yasmine begins to learn about the freedom in love and loving yourself. It was just so empowering and lovely.


The Girl Who Twirls and Other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber (Gujarati) | ★★★★☆
I’m not going to lie, this one was a little confusing, but I still really liked it. Jaya’s favorite holiday is Navrātri and she goes to a dance with friends. But at the party a guy is mean and rude, so Jaya and friends decide to pull a little prank to even the score. The myth was weaved into the story beautifully and showed the morals clearly.


Nothing Into All by Renée Ahdieh (Korean) | ★★★★☆
This was a great goblin fantasy story that was filled with Renée’s beautiful writing. It was a story about siblings and respect and the duality that resides in all of us. It further cemented my need to read more from Renée Ahdieh.


Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia (South Asian) | ★★☆☆☆
This story was all about heroism and their legacy. It also brought up some interesting questions about what makes a hero and if a person is only a hero is they “win.” I liked the inspiration for the story and not only the questions it posed but the challenges to heroism as well – like recognizing that you’re story is only a small piece of the larger universe. It’s not to demean or diminish, but to humble. But I didn’t love the writing style and was a little confused about the timeline through the story as well.


Code of Honor by Melissa de la Cruz (Filipino) | ★★☆☆☆
This is so lowly rated because it was one of the most forgettable stories to me, I didn’t really dislike it, I just didn’t remember it. It’s a story about a vampire, Aida, who loses her spelled journal no human can open. I didn’t particularly care about Aida or anyone else in the story.


Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman (Chinese) | ★★★☆☆
This was a story about the difficulties of following your heart or following your duties. It’s a classic dilemma that was tackled beautifully within a war-torn country and the possibility of finding your true love or creating a lasting peace.


 

Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar (South Asian) | ★★★★★
This was another absolutely beautiful story about following your heart and the power of destiny and sacrifice. It was about putting other above yourself and the selflessness and power that you from it.

 


The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon (Chinese) | ★★★★★
This was just such a magically captivating story and I was moved by it. It was a powerful story that gave a voice and truth to a young girl and allowed her to be to voice of her own story. It was so lyrical and I need to read more from Cindy Pon ASAP.

 


Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa (Japanese) | ★★★★☆
This was a bittersweet story that highlighted the importance of kindness. It was such a beautiful story and a perfect closer.


A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is a standout anthology filled with rich stories and captivating characters about the complexities of life, love, and family. I loved the author’s notes at the end of each story and it made everything seem so much more personable and easier to connect with the stories. Getting to experience these different cultures from such incredibly talented authors was a gift and made this a must read.

I received a copy of the book from the Harper Collins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 

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