Whispers from Before: Tales of Myth and Legend is an anthology inspired by mythology and legend. The collection features 5 stories, all of which I sincerely enjoyed. Keep reading to see a snapshot of each story!
- “It was very different to fight a monster when it was someone you loved…”
The first story, “The Gumiho of Dragon River” by Rosie Grymm, follows Choi Minjun who accidentally allows a dangerous fox spirit to possess the body of someone close to him. Minjun is faced with denial when he reveals the identity of the Gumiho to his father. It is up to him to save his loved one as well as the entire village.
I enjoyed this story, and found myself wanting more of this world and these characters. I’m looking forward to reading more work by Grymm!
2. “If society is ever going to collapse, I’d probably be the Underwood to blame.”
The second story, “Of Underwoods and Underworlds” by Hannah Carter, is a gender-bent Hades and Persephone retelling. When Haddie Underwood lets a spell go awry, her classmate and the headmistress’ son Percy is sent to the Underworld. Haddie is sent after him and must face temptations and herself to get him back home safely.
I loved loved loved this story! Haddie is absolutely hysterical, but oh so relatable. And I really liked that this was a story about friendship rather than a romance which one might expect from a Hades and Persephone retelling. Carter did a wonderful job – I will read anything and everything she writes!
3. “The sky was clear, moonlight washing the town in silver. It was a beautiful night to chase a monster.”
Next, “Breakriver Banshee” by Abigail McKenna, follows Zeke Taylor in the Arizona Territory. The new deputy sheriff Zeke is thrown into the deep end as people are dying in the mining town of Breakriver. His childhood friend, and the girl who holds his heart, uncovers information that points to someone corrupted and altered by abusing magic; however, things aren’t what they seem.
I absolutely adored the love between Zeke and Annie, and I loved how this story ends…no spoilers here!
4. “I asked her once if she feared Qati. She said, ghosts do not leave footprints.”
The fourth story, “Namakaokahai’s Treasure” by Mariella Taylor, is my absolute favorite story from this collection. Kai is thrown into the river by his mother for being empty, but the Great River raises him as her own. Kai, known as Qati by the villagers, must find a way to heal his new mother’s heart, or lose the only thing that fills his emptiness.
Taylor’s writing is exquisite – she makes me want to write more and be a better writer. Her story resonated with me as someone who has found love and protection after being abandoned. Tears prickled my eyes at several points during the story and that’s a win in my book.
5. “‘The stars,’ Dysis said. ‘Were they for me?’ Cepheus looked up. ‘All of them.'”
The final story, “When the Night Left” by Savannah Roberts,” is an enemies-to-lovers story that follows Dysis, the girl who paints sunsets, and Cepheus, the man who brings the night. For centuries the two despise one another, but as loneliness impacts them both, Fate intervenes.
I have found that often enemies-to-lovers can be problematic, but this one is done eloquently! I enjoyed the love story that also reminds us that we can often take what others do for granted.
Overall, I give this anthology 5 stars easy! I HIGHLY recommend this clean, YA friendly book to lovers of mythological retellings and stories born of lore and legend. You can order your copy here from Amazon or request a copy at your local library!