Much like its predecessor Mythic, Mythic 2 feels compact and precise. Both the prose and poetry (and everything else in between) are easy to read and have a lyrical tonality. The anthology is even and consistent, with no sudden drops or spikes in the quality. Editor Mike Allen also continues the format of alternating between both mediums, which makes the book work.
For the most part, I found the poems to be decent and the fiction enjoyable. Mythic 2 continues the tradition of weaving or re-inventing fairy tales, legends, and myths and infusing them with the sensibilities of the various authors. This isn’t a long anthology, but the quality more than makes up for the brevity. I really liked all of the prose and appreciated the poetry but I think the former wins out overall, at least in this volume of Mythic.
Particularly striking is Catherynne M. Valente‘s “Temnaya and the House of Books,” an amalgam of well-known fairy tales appropriated by the author and transformed into a modern narrative, all the while retaining its fairy tale tone and sensibilities. The ending is to be applauded as it is open enough for the reader to wonder at its implications.
Jo Walton‘s “Post-Colonial Literature of the Elves” is an appropriately-titled poem and makes great use of rhyme without sounding childish, especially considering the subject matter.
Richard Parks‘s “A Pinch of Salt” is a narrative that strikes an emotional chord as it deals with all too human predicaments and a web of relationships. Characterization and dialogue are easily the author’s strengths, and the story is filled with conflict. The final line of the story is perfect as it leaves enough room for ambiguity.
Mythic 2 is another fascinating anthology that combines speculative fiction prose with poetry. This is certainly easy to pick up and recommendable to anyone.
FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.