Touchstones: A Collection

Title: Touchstones: A Collection
Publisher/Author: Stephanie Burgis
Pages: 291pp
Price: $22.99 / $14.99 / $4.99

Cinderella has no wish to marry the prince. A college student is stuck at a university filled with vampires. A daughter of privilege wants to be left alone to study magic — a province traditionally for men only. A magically gifted smith discovers that her neighbor is a necromancer, though a very handsome one. A legendary swordsman accompanies his lover on a dangerous mission to claim her heritage. Reluctant flatmates are trapped together when quarantine locks the borders to Fae.

These and many other stories grace the pages of Burgis’ new collection, Touchstones. It should come as no surprise that I absolutely loved this anthology. Burgis is one of my favorite authors, and Touchstones does not disappoint. The tales vary from romantic urban fantasy to twisted ’round fairy tales to thrillers laced with magic and blood. Some are complete unto themselves, while others could easily be expanded into full novels or a collection of related stories (case in point: “Good Neighbors,” which Burgis has expanded into a whole world of magic and monsters). And while a few of these stories can be purchased as stand-alone ebooks (such as “The Art of Deception”), the rest are scattered among different publications, and can only be otherwise found in this collection.

The stories vary in length from relatively short (“The Wrong Foot'”) to novelettes (“The Disastrous Debut of Agatha Tremain”). Either way, they are the perfect length for reading in a lunch break, on the way to work, or while relaxing just before bed.

Highly recommended to fans of Burgis’ longer novellas and novels, as well as fans of Rosalie Oaks, Tansy Raney Roberts, EB Wheeler, Robin McKinley, T Kingfisher, and Lindsay Buroker.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]