There is rarely an author who affects me so deeply in the middle of my life just when I seem to need it the most. In the last year that author has been Jeff Wheeler.
If you will give me a moment, I want to tell you about my experience with Mr. Wheeler's books before I move on to the anthology. I'm hoping you're going to want to read everything he has written by the time I'm done - which is why I read The Best of Deep Magic in the first place.
If you know me in real life, you know my Mom passed away in July. For those who have lost a parent or have taken care of a loved one through the awful effects of cancer, you know how incredibly difficult it is to focus, to think, to remember your name, or to even put a sentence together sometimes. I started reading Mr. Wheeler's Harbinger series over the summer and immediately fell in love with the characters and the story, but it was the Muirwood Trilogy that got me. I mean... really got me. It's the one that prompted me to find Mr. Wheeler on Twitter, on his web site, on Good Reads - on every social media outlet on which he exists.
(I quickly learned there is an order in which you should read his books so I will provide a link to that at the end in hopes you will be ready to dive in.)
Muirwood is another world but not in the sense I felt overly immersed in sci-fi or fantasy, but it brought me exactly where I needed to be - a different place, a different time, a different mindset. It gave me a heroine to follow and remind me that I'm strong too. I needed that. If you need a boost, something to look forward to in your quiet moments, then I hope you will look to Jeff Wheeler's books to get you through. I promise you will not be disappointed. I found myself reading passages over and over again like the one below, because his writing is not just comprised of plot lines and characters - there are life lessons woven throughout all of these books that will stick with me for a very long time.
“It will be no greater miracle that brings us into another world to live forever with our dearest friends than that which has brought us into this one to live a lifetime with them. Or almost a lifetime. Therefore, we weep when they depart. But we will see them again in another world.” -- The Wretched of Muirwood
So when Deep Magic came to my attention, I knew immediately I wanted to read it. I do like some sci-fi, some fantasy, but only some; so I was a bit worried that all of these stories together would be too much. I was wrong. It was a journey from the very first page and brought me to places I certainly could have never imagined. It is because of Wheeler that I trusted this book, these authors, and their stories. You should too.
There are 23 stories in this anthology and my favorites are:
The Apothecant by Brendon Taylor
The Most Reasonable House in Faerie by Dafydd McKimm
Her Glimmering Façade by Eleanor R. Wood
Metamorphistry by Jeff Wheeler
In truth I enjoyed all of them, but the four above stood out the most. In the past, the only anthologies I would read were poetry or horror but this one has opened my eyes to a whole new world of authors I would have never picked up otherwise. There are dragons, time-travel, faeries, mermaids, and other worlds (of course) - which tend to be my favorite type of fantasy stories. If an author can make me feel like I'm no longer in my own space, in my own world, then that is a success to me. The perfect escape.
What I also like about this book is that as a reader, I didn't have to stick to any particular order. If a title tickled my fancy - I read it. There is no wrong way to read this anthology. Keep it on your nightstand and savor a story now and then, or devour the whole thing in a week. There is something for everyone here.
Please let me know if you decide to pick it up and which stories are your favorite but do it soon. The Best of Deep Magic is titled 'Anthology One' so I'm already excited for the second volume.
Here are some things for you to explore:
See you on the other side of the Apse Vail.