Review: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Sixteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman—who both contributed stories to this edition, as well—the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renée Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place.

From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me. 

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This was a very interesting collection of short stories geared toward the young-adult category. Based off of different Asian legends, these stories retell those legends with interesting spins to make them a little more modern. These are legends we don’t see in the mainstream, and I can honestly say that I had never heard of any of these legends/tales before reading this book.

As with anthologies, I rate it story-by-story, and then my overall rating is if I enjoyed most of the stories or not. I can say that I did enjoy most of them, which for an anthology is amazing. I didn’t hate any of the stories, but there two stories that I just couldn’t get into all that much, and more or less skimmed them. So, overall, I enjoyed over half the stories – seven of them being five stars in my book.

The tales I enjoyed the most are as follows:

  • Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong
  • The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette De Bodard
  • The Land of the Morning Calm by E.C. Myers
  • The Smile by Aisha Saeed
  • Nothing Into All by Renee Ahdieh
  • Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman
  • Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa

Just these stories alone make the anthology worth reading. The ones that I enjoyed, but not as much as these were good too… they just didn’t stick with me much after reading them like these seven did.

So, if you’re looking for something different to read and perhaps aren’t ready to dive into a full novel, I suggest this collection of interesting, modernized tales that are based off some very interesting legends.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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