ARC Review: Touchstones by Stephanie Burgis

ARC Review: Touchstones by Stephanie BurgisTouchstones: A Collection by Stephanie Burgis

Published by Five Fathoms Press on July 11th 2022
Also by this author: Snowspelled, Thornbound, Scales and Sensibility, Good Neighbors: The Full Collection
Pages: 372

The glass molded to my foot as neatly—and as chillingly—as if it had been made for me.

“This,” I said, “is a most unfortunate coincidence…”

From tongue-in-cheek fairy tale reframings to forbidden Victorian-era romance and contemporary ghosts, dive into an immersive world of magic. Touchstones is a collection of sparkling short fantasy fiction from Stephanie Burgis, including two new stories as well as fourteen short stories and novelettes that have been previously published in magazines and anthologies.

This collection includes The Wrong Foot, Undead Philosophy 101, A Cup of Comfort, Dreaming Harry, Offerings, Dancing in the Dark, The Disastrous Début of Agatha Tremain, The Wildness Inside, The Art of Deception, Midnight, Clasp Hands, Crow, True Names, Good Neighbors, Love, Your Flatmate, and House of Secrets.

Thank you to Stephanie for sending me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

These last few years have been hard. Some of us cope by writing, others by reading, and there are those who do both. We all have our way to get the day. Stephanie Burgis has written and collected short stories to bring some comfort, hope, and light to the readers’ lives. The collection has fourteen short stories, and I’d already read two of them before. Good Neighbors is included in the full collection I reviewed before. And I got The Disastrous Début of Agatha Tremain through a promo once. The rest of the stories were new to me.

What I like in short story collections and anthologies is when the stories have different lengths. You don’t have to read them in order so you can pick whichever story you’re in the mood for or pick one based on how much time you have. The shortest one was only two pages on my phone and can easily be read while waiting for the barista to make your coffee. The longest story is novella length, which I also appreciate because some stories just need a little bit more.

It’s hard to pick a favourite. I love Mia and Leander from Good Neighbors but The Art of Deception and House of Secrets are equally good. Some of them are based or reference to fairytales and the fae, but all have their own magic. You’ll find wonder and escapism in these stories.

I give Touchstones 4,5 stars. Overall, it’s a well-balanced collection and people who are familiar with Stephanie’s work will have much more to enjoy while other who aren’t get a good taste of what they can expect. Stephanie Burgis is a masterful storyteller and this collection shows that no matter the subject or length, her stories touch your heart.

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