Friends, Phoenix Fiction Writers’ Antihero anthology came out two days ago! It’s been a weekend full of celebration: Livestream parties on Facebook and Youtube, sweet roll baking, boba tea, and The Crimes of Grindelwald (and, of course, writing, because it’s still NaNoWriMo).
I finished reading all of the short stories in this anthology on Friday, the day before its release, and I am blown away by how incredible every story in this book is. Each of us pushed ourselves to new levels, and the struggles that all of us went through in writing these stories shows in how beautiful they turned out.
I could gush for hours about any one of these stories, but you’d probably enjoy just reading the stories more. In light of that, today I want to talk specifically about the very first short story in the anthology: “The Wolf at the Door,” by Kyle Robert Shultz.
Yes, I know I just talked about Shultz’s stories last week—but that was about his Beaumont and Beasely series, and this is about his contribution to the Antiheroes anthology. All of us PFWs are featuring one of the stories on our blogs.
Hearing that monsters are running amok in the Black Forest, Wilhelmina Grimm sets out to investigate. She finds a small village full of terrorized people. Only the great storyteller Helga seems to know why the village has fallen victim to attacks. But Mina has a dark secret of her own, one that may prevent the villagers from allowing her to help…
What do I love about this story? Let me keep it simple and spoiler-free:
Just joking ;) While I really do love everything, let me be more specific:
The story starts as if we, the readers, have opened a confidential file. I love how this is used to draw us into the story before it even begins. “The Wolf at the Door” has completely new characters whom I have not seen before in the Afterverse (Shultz’s fairy tale universe), and each of them was lovely. Mina Grimm in particular fascinated me in all aspects.
This short story has heavy associations with Little Red Riding Hood, but it’s a take on the story that I’ve never encountered before. If you’re familiar with Shultz’s other stories, you’ll enjoy the connections to “The Last Days of Lady Cordelia” and “Horseman.” I’m always blown away by the creative, unexpected links between stories that Shultz weaves.
What I enjoyed most about this story, though, was the subtle way its themes were woven in. Who determines whether a character is a hero or a villain? What actions are excusable for the good of the majority? And what is a story—is it just words woven together, or does it take on its own life?
Perfect for lovers of fairy tales, of mind-bending plot twists, and of just plain fun, “The Wolf at the Door” will suck you in and blow you away.
To hear more about the other stories, check out what readers have been saying on Goodreads. Which story in the anthology are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments :)