Omnibus was like stepping into a different world where magic is real and enchantment is an everyday occurrence. Each story delves into the world of myth and magic but in slightly different directions.
“The Birth of Spring” is an ambitious undertaking that simply sparkles with life. Ms. McGathy did an exceptional job of creating a story of how spring came into being. The descriptions of the land of Summer and the land of Winter are so real that you feel like you are there. You hope that our heroine Astara, the daughter of the Summer Queen, will be able to convince the Winter King to allow the wheel of the seasons to turn back to summer. There is even a little romance as the new Summer King harbors love for Astara in his heart. This love turns out to be pivotal in not only changing his vengeful heart but also in the turning of the wheel from winter to the newfound season of spring.
“Thief of Dreams” is more overtly romantic as Nerys and Cody face serious challenges in order for them to be together, including an avaricious suitor Gerard and the Unseelie Queen, who has claimed a soul of which she does not want to let go. This story delves into the darker aspects of the Fae folklore, such as the fact that if one enters a faery ring, one could end up stuck in the land of Fae. I enjoyed the description of the Seelie and Unseelie lands, and a cameo by Cernu, the horned god of Celtic myths. He helps Nerys to reclaim her lost love in Cody. I also liked the fact that the unprincipled Gerard received his comeuppance in the perfect manner.
“The Ancient One” was a difficult story to get into. At first, I couldn’t figure out where the story was leading. McGathy referred to the characters as Golden ones who were periodically reborn, but I didn’t understand what the Golden were. To be honest, I still don’t clearly understand. It was clear that they were an ancient race who communicated with the non-human spirits on the earth but had little to do with humans. It was also clear that they cared for the ancient trees and wanted to keep them safe. That’s where the story leads, with the heroine, Talwyn, who chooses to stay behind to protect the trees from the threat of humanity. This was definitely my least favorite, although I enjoyed the dragons in the story.
My favorite story was “Where Beauty Lies”. It is a story in which the heroine, Tanner, is a seeker. She has the ability to find lost places, and makes a living with it, along with her brother, Conn. This ability ties into her lost heritage, which includes a painful past. She takes a spoiled lord on a journey to the mythical city Sha-da-nay, along with her brother and Manny, the lord’s hideously scarred slave. Immediately, Tanner has a connection with Manny that starts as an inner knowledge that his soul is familiar to her. She extends kindness to him, and a friendship develops, which ends up as a deep love. This story was very profound and made me tear up as it showed the fact that beauty is only skin deep. This is evidenced by the cold, selfish lord, Faylon, who is outwardly beautiful, whereas the gentle, loving Manny is short and stubby with a deformed and scarred face yet has a loving, giving soul. I really adored Manny and I loved that Tanner could see past the surface to the good heart inside. I also liked the fact that this story brings in elven folklore and involves a quest to a lost city.
Although Omnibus could be a slow read at times, it was a beautifully-written collection of short stories that I truly enjoyed reading. I adore folklore, and so any story that innovatively and interestingly incorporates folklore attracts my attention. Ms. McGathy is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading more by her.
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing (October 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 155404507X
- ISBN-13: 978-1554045075
To purchase a print copy of Omnibus click here.