Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved) [Based on part one only.]
In a way, this book bugged me. Chronology is a collection of short stories with the theme of "time". Stories about time travel? Nope. Stories set in the past/future? Nope. To be included in this book, the story had to be set in a period of time. If your story cannot meet that bar, I'd be curious to see it!
So these stories had no central theme at all. Some were set in the past, some future, some in the current RL world, some in a fantasy world. With the exception of one author (Piers Anthony), every author in this book was a Curiosity Quills (publisher) author. So this book felt more like an advertisement for the publisher and its authors than anything else.
A YA book takes me about 4 hours to read. A normal book 6-8. This book will take me almost 12 hours to finish, so I'm going to break the review up into two parts. Stories 1-13 are reviewed below. Stories 14-24 will be in a later post.
1) Draconic King, by James Wymore
Turns out I read a book by Wymore before: Back in 2014, Salvation. (My review here.) I'm glad I didn't realize that until I was nearly at the end of this story, because while I strongly disliked his writing in that book, I enjoyed this short story a lot. I enjoyed it enough that I went to track down more things written by him, and thus discovered my previous history with him.
Draconic King was a simple, straight forward story, but it worked. A king of a small, weak kingdom was about to lose a war, and thus his kingdom. He worked with a dragon to save it. The king was interesting and flawed (something his main character in Salvation sorely lacked), and the world and storyline were logical (again, something Salvation lacked). I really enjoyed how he handled the dragon and the way the partnership between the two worked. All in all, a really enjoyable story and a great start to this book.
2) Wind-Up Hearts, by Stan Swanson
Abandoned. Too slow. Seemed to be about a couple whose hearts were replaced with cogwork.
3) Flight of the Pegasus, by Darin Kennedy
Abandoned. Generic, uninteresting steampunk.
4) That Which Is Hidden, by Julie Frost
Very cute! A love story between a werewolf and a ghost, set in the old west.
5) Whitechapel, by Andrew Buckley
Abandoned. The humor was just such a bad match for me. For example, there was a talking horse in the story, it solved all the mysteries... but because it was a talking horse no one could understand it.
6) The Lair by, Tony Healey
I think this was supposed to be a horror story. Man steals idol from a a tribe, escapes into the jungle. ~Spooky~ things happen, tribe gets idol back, lost jungle remains lost. Yawn.
7) Signs Unseen, by J.P. Moynahan
This was an interesting story, I loved the writer's (character's) voice. Told first person sometime in the 60s, during the time of racial tension. The ending wasn't realistic at all (man has shootout with the KKK, kills a bunch of cops, escapes to Mexico), but the rest of the story was good enough to make up for it.
8) In The Clutches of the Mummy Prince, by B.C. Johnson
The humor of this one tickled me so much! The writer did everything bad on purpose -- the main character was perfect (better than perfect!) everything was just so over the top "bad" and funny. Some examples of the writing:
Rage bloomed like a flower too angry to just be a bud anymore.
The village people, wait, no, that's not right. The villagers were...
In a cleft of the cliffs, Hog made out the mouth of a clay pipe, jutting from an outcropping of rock. (In that last sentence, it kind of looks like "made out with the mouth" doesn't it? Crazy. Hog wouldn't do that, though. That's incredibly unsanitary...)
9) Bait and Witch, by J.P. Sloan
Other than Harry Potter, I've never read a "witches are real and living in the current world with us" story before this one. I really liked it! I love how the witchcraft stuff was meshed into our world.
The story had a great, fun switch at the end, too. The author's name is so familiar, I feel like I've read something from him before, but nope. Maybe I saw a post about him from someone else. I'm going to have to pick up one of his other books. (Thus this book being advertisement for the authors works. Grr!)
10) Inmate # 85298, by Andrew J. Rausch
Ugh. This was the worst story in the book. In it a mobster got "cursed" by a woman. How was he cursed? To live forever. (OH NOS, what a curse!) He was arrested and ended up on death row. First they put him in the electric chair, but he couldn't die. So they tried to hang him. Couldn't die. So they decided to burn him to death. I'm sorry, but what? Seriously, even the worst US state wouldn't try to kill someone by cremating them. And since that didn't kill him, a prison guard who liked ren fairs brought in a sword from home to behead him. And he still didn't die.
So they buried him. Alive. Seriously. Apparently no scientist on Earth was curious as to why this person couldn't be killed? And the government of whatever state it took place in was okay with burying him alive?
11) Lava, by Piers Anthony
This story didn't really work for me at all (A bored man's wish for his dream woman comes true). The writing seemed really weak, there were jumps in logic, and there would have been big plot holes if not for the jumps in storyline covering them -- were were just supposed to assume something reasonable happened in them. As this was the biggest name author in the book, I expected a lot more.
12) Strange Flesh, by Katie Young
Ugh. Another one that didn't work for me. Followers of some secret Charles Darwin "Gluttony Club" were trying to eat every meat in the world. They finally track down one especially exotic one from the sea... So very predictable. (Spoiler: It was mermaid.)
13) Wampus Cat, by Scott Nicholson
Another "I suppose this was supposed to be horror?" stories. Stupid, stupid, stupid and not scary at all. Plus the grandmother was called "mamaw" and I couldn't figure out how the hell one would pronounce that (ma-mawaaah?). A problem, as it was used in nearly every single sentence in this darned story.
Stories liked: 5
Stories disliked: 8
Worst thing is, I'm finishing most of the stories even when I dislike them (since they're so short and they might get better), so that's wasted reading time. I'm tempted to stop reading the book, but I might find another author/story I like, so I guess I'll continue.
Stories 14-24 will be posted when I finish the book. Edit: Link to part two.