Kyell Gold – Black Angel

Meg‘s always thought that love and ghosts are fantasies for gullible people, but her skepticism is about to be tested. As her roommates Sol and Alexei move on with her lives, the otter remains stuck in her rut, unsure what to do about her future or about her best friend Athos. He wants more than friendship from her, but she isn’t sure whether she’s straight or gay, let alone in love with him. Not helping are the strange trances that show her the lives of two other young girls, one who wants to be a voodoo priestess and the other who wants to escape a Christian cult. Athos sticks by her as the trances take over her life, and Meg will have to figure out her true feelings or lose him along with everything else.

Black Angel is Kyell Gold’s third and final novel in the Dangerous Spirits series which began with Green Fairy and continued in Red Devil. The books contain characters that are involved in a variety of relationships and deal heavily with sexuality, but there are no explicit depictions of sexual acts.

Cover and interior illustrations by Rukis.

Published by Sofawolf Press

Black Angel is a wonderful final installment in the Dangerous Spirits series, that I absolutely loved reading. This review will contain quite some spoilers, so if you prefer to read the book without knowing anything beforehand, you should probably stop reading now.

What made this book so enjoyable to me, was that it followed my favourite character in the series, Meg, and we find her life getting awfully complicated when two other stories are forced into her head. One being of a spirit that lived a hundred years ago, and one that consists of dreams about an otter somewhere in the future. This gives Meg’s story a very refreshing twist, instead of following a similar path as the previous two novels.

What I loved about this particular thing, was that Gold plays around with time, showing us that it is all interwoven and the past can influence the future, as well as the other way around. Marie-Belle influences Meg’s life up to the point where she pretty much screws everything up, making her life a lot harder, while she is also trying to deal with own strange love life and the fact that she is no longer taking antidepressants. While dealing with this, Meg struggles with dreams of Hannah, an otter in the future. She quickly finds out that Hannah has dreams about her as well, strongly linking the two together. Meg even influences Hannah’s life directly at one point, making Meg Hannah’s “spirit”, just as Marie-Belle is Meg’s. This was a very interesting turn of events, which amused me greatly. It was even better because of Meg being a very skeptical person, who keeps trying to explain things rationally.

Aside from all the spiritual things going on, Meg is struggling with her sexuality, making enough money to pay rent, Athos, and her parents, throwing her into a maelstrom of emotions and drama that was very interesting to read about. I personally believe that Meg is the deepest and most well-rounded character in the series, and I am glad she got her own novel to star in.

The revelation at the end was mind-blowing, as it links the previous two books with this one even stronger. Suddenly, everything made sense, giving the book a very nice ending, instead of leaving the reader with a lot of questions. Sure, her life isn’t over at the end of the book, but at least we know why certain things happened.

It is very difficult to try to talk about this book without revealing a lot, and it is not really a book to be reviewed like this, and I don’t think I did a good job at it. In order to fully grasp how amazing this story is, it should be discussed in a group. So grab some friends, get them to read the novels, and discuss the series!

Gold did an amazing job on this final installment, and very competently laid these spirits to rest. I would recommend the series to anyone looking for a thrilling storyline and at least a hint of interest in the paranormal.

-Faolan

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Kyell Gold – Black Angel

Fragments of Life’s Heart: Vol. 1 – Laura “Munchkin” Lewis and Stefano “Mando” Zocchi

They say Love is the oldest story on Earth, but we don’t have to tell it the same way every time. How many ways are there to explore our feelings that we may have never even considered? Countless fragments of different worlds, all held together by the greatest force of all.

Join us as we explore the many different forms of love—family love, forbidden love, love that embraces what society always taught was wrong. Seasoned veterans and brand new talents bring you seventeen anthropomorphic stories with all different forms of sexuality and relationships, in a journey across genres, worlds, and time.

Love can bloom, thrive, and end. Love can heal, mesh, and blend. We’re all Fragments trying to stick together.

Tending the Fires – Jess E Owen

Transitions – Mog Moogle

The Mistress of Tidwell Manor – Renee Carter Hall

Yet Time and Distance – Kris Carver

Polynomials – Fever Low

Raise Your Voice – Stefano “Mando” Zocchi

Going Out – T C Powell

Harvest Home – Altivo Overo

The Foreigner – Dwale

Trade All the Stars – Watts Martin

Draw to the Heart – Ocean Tigrox

Paint the Square-Cut Sky – Slip-Wolf

Hearth Soup – Laura “Munchkin” Lewis

Brass Candy Girl – M C A Hogarth

Footsteps – Televassi

Rain Check – Field T Mouse

The Soul of Wit – Daniel Lowd

Edited by Laura “Munchkin” Lewis and Stefano “Mando” Zocchi

Cover art by Darkomi

Published by Weasel Press

I was really looking forward to reading this book, mostly because I tried getting a story in as well, but unfortunately didn’t make the cut. After reading this anthology, I can easily tell why. However, it’s not about me at this moment, so allow me to stop right there.

When we hear the word “love” we all know what to expect in stories, but Fragments takes it to a way deeper level by showing us different kinds of love, most of which are by no means cliché in any way, when it comes to books. It sheds new light on the old concept, by showing facets that by no means get the attention they deserve.

My favourite stories in this anthology have to be Tending the Fires by Jess E. Owen (author of the Summer King Chronicles), Raise Your Voice by Stefano “Mando” Zocchi, Draw to the Heart by Ocean Tigrox, and Paint the Square Cut Sky by Slip-Wolf. These stories all touched my heart in different ways. Slip-Wolf actually managed to catch me off guard with his story. What these four stories have in common, is that they all managed to rope me in with their enjoyable characters and wonderful narrative. I wanted to fight with Nara’s mother, take Treyo home with me, throw Chad down a long flight of stairs, and run away with Leida.

Fragments is a pretty good anthology all-in-all. I was actually quite surprised by the big number stories featuring humans as the norm, and having anthropomorphic animals either as an alien species or a human creation. It definitely added a little extra to a few of the stories, where it did nothing for other stories that had this concept as well.

I would like to suggest that the stories get to be a little longer in the next volume. A lot of the stories were simply too short to actually grab me, or ended way too quickly and left me dissatisfied and wanting more. I also regret saying that there were two stories that left me quite cold. They just didn’t manage to grab me at all.

I will definitely buy the next volume when it comes out, which the words “volume 1” kind of promise, as I have enjoyed reading most of this anthology. Thank you for shedding much-needed light on the different aspects of love.

Also, to Daniel Lowd:

Well played, good sir. Well played.

– Faolan

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Fragments of Life’s Heart: Vol. 1 – Laura “Munchkin” Lewis and Stefano “Mando” Zocchi