Equus by Rhonda Parrish (editor)


Equus by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (331 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

What it means to be a horse, unicorn, or other horse-like creature is about to be redefined.

In “A Complete Mare,” a girl named Vez discovered that she was part Norse deity after that part of her bloodline activated and her body began to change. What I liked the most about her transformation was her reaction to it. There was so much time spent developing Vez’s personality that her reaction to her previously unknown lineage made perfect sense. I wouldn’t have expected her to behave in any other way.

While I enjoyed all of the tales in this anthology, some of them could have used some more development. For example, the main character in “Different” travelled a long distance and spent a great deal of money to ask a unicorn to heal her disabled daughter. The unicorn’s response wasn’t anything like she had expected it to be. While I loved the premise, I couldn’t help but to wonder why the main character hadn’t spent more time researching how unicorn healings work. It’s one of the first things I would have done in that situation, so it struck me as odd that someone would go through all of that effort without figuring out in advance what to expect from such a journey.

One of my favorite stories was “Rue the Day.” Gaylene, the main character, was a unicorn trainer who regularly rode into battle with her unicorns. When something threatened to end her career forever, she had to decide how to respond to it. While I figured out what was going on in Gaylene’s life pretty quickly, but that only made me more curious to see how her dilemma would be resolved. This could have easily been expanded into a full-length novel. With that being said, I was satisfied with how it ended.

Equus should be read by anyone who loves everything equestrian.

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