The Unchosen by Trece Angulo is set in a fantasy world but looks at real world problems. It looks at loosing your faith and what choices you have to make when the things you believed in we’re a lie. In this world everyone worships a queen that is like a dragon. Before the queen dies it lays eggs and only certain young people are chosen to look after the eggs. In their society this is looked at as a huge honor and leads to some big responsibilities, though nothing is as it seems. I loved the ending of this story and would love to see more with these characters. The end felt like a beginning to an epic fantasy adventure.
The Burnings by Michael D. Burnside is a Science Fiction tale that looks at androids and religion. This may be set on another planet but it deals with problems we’ve had in our history. On this planet androids are used to do a lot of the work that is too dangerous for humans, but some androids have been programmed to be too much like humans. A group of religious fanatics have interpreted the bible to mean that androids should be destroyed because they’re in God’s image. What happens when the only one that can save the planet is an android and the religious zealots want to destroy it? This story brings up some great questions on the meaning of existence.
The Tally Bone by Lauren Marrero is about a woman whose husband has just died, leaving her in debt and having to live with all the lies that he told her. One day a strange man shows up at her door wanting the Tally bone back that her husband took from him. this man is not human and he has the power to help the woman or make her life even more miserable. What I really loved about this story is even when the woman sees that her marriage was not what she thought it was she still isn’t willing to part with certain things that bring back memories. I also love the line that the strange man uses on her to get what he wants. Love isn’t always perfect or beautiful. .
Another story in this book which is also about love is My Forever Love by Donna J. Munro. In this tale a man marries his true love but unknown to him the woman is from a cursed bloodline and becomes a ghoul on their wedding day. I loved how even when the woman looses her intellect she still won’t harm her husband and her husband is left with the decision to let his wife bite and infect him or follow her family’s wishes and wait for the cure. In this story true love may not be perfect but it’s still more important than anything else.
Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths Volume 2 is not quite as good as Volume 1 but there are enough good stories here to make this book a must read. You have to love an anthology that can give you well written stories no matter what the genre is and it looks at important issues in addition to death such as love, religion and redemption. Don’t let the idea that this anthology is about death keep you from reading it, there are some great stories here that will really make you think.