Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review: A Surfeit of Mandrake

A Surfeit of Mandrake is an anthology of short fiction and poetry put together by Chaz Wood and several other authors. There are several illustrations by Chaz Wood and Frang McHardy throughout the collection as well. Chaz Wood was gracious enough to send me a review copy.

I won't go through each story here, as there are twenty-nine in all, but I'll talk about a few of them and comment on the common theme in them all. The first story, "The Toebone of St. Giles," is a take on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which I appreciated a lot. Right after the story there's a great illustration. The story "Leper Messiah" starts off as a graphic novel and then tells a short story in prose. The pictures were well-drawn and added a lot to the story. Perhaps my favorite is "Clan Clash," in which a story is told through illustrations and poetry being spewed from the mouths of barbarians.

Throughout the collection there is talk of the Mandrake. The Mandrake isn't in every story or poem, but in enough to create a common feeling when reading through. To me, the creature was elusive and appeared only when reality was bent either by drugs or some other reason.

It's hard to judge an anthology, with so many authors and styles. I liked some more than others, but each had their own quality. I felt the illustrations helped tie the stories together even more and helped make A Surfeit of Mandrake an enjoyable read. I especially liked some of the Scottish lingo and U.K. feel of the writing.

Bookophile Rating: Good

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