Allysse reviews Hellebore & Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff

Hellebore & Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic
Edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff

This anthology has previously been reviewed by Danika. It is one of the reason that drove me to read it. The other reason, as for Danika, was the cover.

I agree with everything she wrote in her review. The anthology is a collection of really well-written short stories which are able to establish a world and an atmosphere in the short span of pages they have to exist.

I plunged into the anthology with high expectations and I have never been disappointed. All the stories appealed to me and got me hooked from their very first words. There was a nice variety of genres and styles but not of quality. All the stories were good. I would definitely recommend this anthology to anyone and not just to a lesbian audience. Like Danika mentioned the stories are not about being lesbians, they are just fantasy short stories with characters who happens to be lesbians ,and most of the time it isn’t relevant to the story.

If you like fantasy, short stories with an added bonus of lesbians I would highly recommend you read this book. And if you like fantasy and short stories I would also highly recommend it.

JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff did an excellent job with editing the book. I’ve previously read Steam-Powered 2: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories edited by them which was also of very high quality. After reading those two anthologies I am now definitely keeping an eye on whatever they will edit in the future.

Danika reviews Hellebore & Rue edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff

I’m going to be honest: the only thing I was really looking for in Hellebore & Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic was for it to live up to its cover. I mean, look at that cover! It’s definitely one of my  favourites.

The good news is, it does! It seems like every review of an anthology has a disclaimer that all anthologies have varying quality between stories, which is true, but Hellebore & Rue had a much, much higher standard of writing in the stories collected than I am used to in most anthologies. There was only one story where I felt the writing didn’t compare to the other stories, and it turns out that it is the first story published by that author, so that makes sense.

There are all kinds of “magic” the stories, from fabulism to whole fantasy worlds, but they all manage to establish their reality well in a short story.

I think this anthology will especially appeal to readers who are looking for “incidentally” queer stories.

Overall I highly recommend Hellebore & Rue, especially to reader who enjoy the fantasy genre. And since I noticed a higher standard for their stories than I’m used to, I’ll be keeping an eye on the editors (JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff), as well as the publishing company (Lethe Press).