A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
Published by Greenwillow Books on June 26th, 2018
Genres: Anthology, Fantasy, Short Stories, Young Adult
“It was an ill-fated thing to claim that a heart is safe. Hearts are rebellious. The moment they feel trapped, they will strain against their bindings. And it was so with the Mountain.”
It’s been awhile since I’ve read an anthology! I forgot how much I enjoyed them. This was the fourth book I read for #AsianReadathon in honor of Asian Heritage Month. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings satisfied Challenge #5: Read the group book.
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings contains sixteen short stories as reimagined folklore and mythology from East and South Asia. They are all written by prominent POC Young Adult authors. The stories range from fantasy to science fiction to contemporary and from romance to tales of revenge. They are enchanting, heartbreaking, and captivating.
As with any short story collection, there will always be some stories that are stronger than others. However, this has to be one of my favourite short story collections that I’ve read. I enjoyed most of them and even the ones that didn’t resonate with me were still wonderfully written.
As an Asian woman, it was incredible to see the exploration of mythologies that we never see in the mainstream. And to have them revolve around #OwnVoices. And at the end of each story is a note from the author explaining the folklore its based on and why they chose to write the story they did.
For the stories that I didn’t like as much, I found that the author’s note made me appreciate them more. I could understand where they were coming from and what the story meant to them and their culture.
This anthology is so powerful and beautiful. I’m so happy I read this during Asian Heritage Month. The stories explored women in different time periods and genres. Each story showed a woman in survival, in love, dealing with grief, discovering herself, and being selfless.
It’s hard to discuss the book overall since each story is so different from the next. But overall, the stories are interesting and engaging. I found myself beguiled from the beginning to the end.
Here are the stories I loved:
- Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi
- Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee
- The Land of the Morning Calm by E.C. Myers
- The Smile by Aisha Saeed
- Nothing into All by Renée Ahdieh
- Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman
- The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon
If you’re looking for a collection of short stories that explore a number of genres, I definitely recommend this. Plus, you get to read about kickass women written by badass women! I hope that Oh and Chapman work together to create another anthology like this. I would’ve loved reading this when I was younger!