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.
Parrish's fifth Magical Menageries anthology (after Sirens) collects 19 competent but unmemorable speculative works about horses. One is a poem Jane Yolen's short, formal, and spare "A Glory of Unicorns" and J.J. Roth's series of somewhat trite aphorisms, "A Mother Unicorn's Advice to Her Daughter," is a prose poem; the rest are stories. The worldbuilding of K.T. Ivanrest's "Lightless," in which star horses provide light for a ruling caste who literally glow in an otherwise dark world, is unusual and pretty. Tamsin Showbrook's "A Complete Mare" explores the implications of its heroine's descent from the four-headed and eight-legged Sleipnir of Norse mythology. Laura VanArendonk Baugh's "Rue the Day" employs a tired rape-and-revenge plot that recalls 1980s fantasy novels, but otherwise Parrish carefully avoids the clich s of the telepathic animal companion genre's heyday. These stories are pleasant enough, but not liable to leave a lasting impression.