An Elemental Conversation (Tales from the Eternal Archives #2)

0886778573-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_An Elemental Conversation by Donald J. Bingle
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reverend Frank and his friend Randy have weekly Thursday night chess game and discussion, the topic is news from SETI that they’ve detected an intelligent signals from deep underground, in the middle of the ocean, and from inside a Pacific volcano implicating multiple intelligent life-forms that aren’t human. Then as they play their game, they have a philosophical discussion about the implication on religion (namely Christianity) and science with the new of non-human intelligent life. The game ends in a draw and Randy leaves, but afterwards the chess pieces then devour the last donut thus showing that Frank already knew non-human intelligent life existed.

Although I disagree with some of the theological things Reverend Frank proposed, the discussion is still a nice one. The game, even though I don’t understand the lingo, and the talk are well constructed creating a very good story with a nice twist ending.

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Dvergertal (Tales from the Eternal Archives #2)

0886778573-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Dvergertal by Nancy Varian Berberick
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Herthe Amunddatter is angry at her brother Burgen and sister-in-law for ruining the reputation of her late father’s homestead for fair-handed to niggardly. One evening a stranger comes to the homestead and Herthe welcomes him as is right, but her brother and sister-in-law are ill hosts and the stranger turns out to be a dwarf named Motsognir. The dwarf offended by the treatment begins causing ill events to hit the house in quick succession, but Herthe stops him from harming her unborn niece/nephew which leads to Burgen giving her to the dwarf. Herthe is suddenly transported away into a dark area and over the ages is taught by Motsognir about the magic inside her and the dwarves, or spirits. Once she is ready Motsognir returns Herthe to her abandoned home where that night she meets a stranger who turns out to be Odin and she reveals to him Ragnarok and the two survivors.

Honestly I originally was going to give this a better rating, but unfortunately after thinking about it I downgraded it a lot. The first half of my review covered the first 7 pages and the last half the next 22, which should tell you all you need to know.

Family Secrets (Tales from the Eternal Archives #2)

0886778573-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Family Secrets by Robyn McGrew
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Shalazar, the daughter of Lord Sargon the Priest-King of Babylon, is about to be initiated into Temple of the Winged God but wants to find out what’s behind a sealed down in an old temple. After breaking through the seal of the Winged God, she enters a dank vault with crumbling steps to find a man with a head of the bull who is living in filth. Shalazar brings food, drink, and candles to the prisoner while hiding the fact from her father only to learn that soon the old temple will soon been deserted meaning the man-bull would basically be dead. Shalazar helps the man-bull escape and learns his name is Minoa and the next day is initiated into the Temple of the Winged God, who turns out to be Minoa who was testing her.

My little write up doesn’t do the story justice, but it was a good story that was only hurt because of the incorrect historical and mythological facts laid out.

The Giant’s Love (Tales from the Eternal Archives #2)

0886778573-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_The Giant’s Love by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Stig, the titular Giant who lives underground in a time before the giants diminished into the dwarves, finds a massive emerald in an old mining tunnel then seeing a bright sapphire and begins digging it out. However the “sapphire” is the pale blue sky, something Stig has never seen and is marveled with it. For weeks he journeys to the hole and ventures out, one day he doesn’t return to the tunnel. Stig begins journeying around, finally meeting people and settling down every now and then. Over the years he travels with many people but loves only upper world. Finally Stig mines a huge vain of silver and with other giants creates a massive mirror that is raised into the sky by a wizard friend of his. After Stig dies, the mirror turns gray to create the moon we see today.

A nice story, nothing fancy or anything.

How Golf Shaped Scotland (Tales from the Eternal Archives #2)

0886778573-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_How Golf Shaped Scotland by Bruce Holland Rogers
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Father Iain plays a lot of golf on the flat coast land around St. Andrews and is so good that his parishioners say he is the best in all of Scotland. Iain always admonishes them for this, but they continue saying it that the King and Queen of Faery challenge him to a game and curse the surrounding area to make him play. During the game, the two Faery begin magically changing the ground to create hillocks, bunkers, and uneven putting surfaces. Iain doesn’t complain because besides himself, the two monarchs also hurt each other. On the last hole, Iain breaks his putt to create the first club which he uses to hit the ball into the air above the shifting ground to fall into hole to win the game. The King and Queen begin arguing and battle one another around all the coasts of Scotland making it as we see today.

Through short, this story was straightforward and had no unnecessary words except for the “Chekhov’s Gun” that was repeated a little more than needed.

The Forge of Creation (Tales from the Eternal Archives #2)

0886778573-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_The Forge of Creation by Carrie Channell
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Thien gets a letter on magic parchment from her brother Hakan that describes a discovery on his dig that he doesn’t want the Mages like their father to hideaway and invites Thien to come see. Thien goes to the dig site and no one is there, her father isn’t concerned but she organizes a dig and finds a natural spell surrounding a salamander that’s connected to the moon and barely survives the encounter but knows her brother was captured by it. Their father doesn’t seem concerned, but when Thien goes to rescue her brother he offers help if she will be come the family’s next mage instead of Hakan and she does. Using her father’s spell, in which he takes his son’s place, Thien saves Hakan.

The magic system is interesting but not fleshed out enough, but the societal background is the same. The best thing is the family drama, but this story could have been better.

The Fire of a Found Heart (Tales from the Eternal Archives #2)

0886778573-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_The Fire of a Found Heart by Linda P. Baker
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Asha is deciding whether to take up his father’s spear of leadership after falling in battle at the hands of elves, before going on a spirit walk at night which is somewhat taboo to their fire oriented religion. As he walks it begins raining earlier in the year than usual and he gets lost before getting knocked out. Asha wakes up in the morning and is captured by elves and taken to their camp where he attempts to bluff his way out but is sentenced to death. However the son of the elf chieftain saves his life then escorts him to their border. Asha and the elf talk about the events leading to his father’s death then Asha learns why the elf saved him, as they have the same birthmark which makes them soulmates. Asha claims his tribe’s leadership and says there will be no war.

The magic systems and religions of the humans and elves were unique, the narrative had potential but things just didn’t seem to jell.