Soul of the Universe
An Anthology of Music-Inspired Stories.
by Michael Wombat, Michael S. Manz, Marissa Ames & Michael A. Walker.
Edited by Michael Wombat
Plato said “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything”. In this book you will find a varied selection of haunting, thrilling, surprising tales from some of the most talented independent authors around. Although the tales differ wildly, they do have one thing in common: music. Each story was inspired by a particular song, which is explained briefly in each instance by the author.
Enjoy these tales. They will leave you with a song in your heart and a smile on your face.
Book Review ~ ‘Soul of the Universe’
If you are looking for a great anthology on a day where you want to escape into a fictional world, well then ‘Soul of the Universe’ is perfect for you. A collection of six unique short stories by four equally talented writers, ‘Soul of the Universe’ was one of those anthologies that will always make me smile. The range of genres that these stories encompassed, and the way that they were all tied together into this collection by the powerful inspiration of music, was so clever.
Each story holds a special place in my heart, as in some cases, it is the first time that I have delved into that genre of fiction, and I can think of no better way to have entered these universe than through the talent of these four authors.
To Ride the Wind Dancing by Michael S. Manz, was a really intriguing read that introduced me to a new style of writing that I’m already hungering to read more of. At first the style surprised me, but as I continued on I adored the way that the author only spent words on the necessities which made my imagination work all the harder. It also made me feel as though I was part of the story, as I wasn’t constantly bombarded by scientific terms (which my A-Level Biology teacher will tell you would have me running in the opposite direction), and felt as though the setting of the story was my own, and not altered by too much description. I loved the two main characters, and was excited to read that this may not be the end for these two amazing individuals (and that hint of romance? Perfect. Subtle, but grin inducing!)
Having read Michael Wombat’s works in previous anthologies, I knew that the two stories he composed for this collection was worth getting excited about. ‘Blood on the Ground’ is my first forage into an almost Country and Western style of genre, and with the way that the prose just flowed so naturally, I was hooked immediately. I really admire how this author is able to bring me to feel for characters that I have only known for a few pages. My heart was stolen by Rence’s horse Red, and I loved the adventure they took, and am not ashamed to admit that I sobbed for Red at the end of the story (He was just so lovely, OK?)
Michael Wombat’s second addition was the amazing ‘Moth Girl vs. The Bats’. Wow, just wow! I sped through this story, so engrossed in it that I forgot about the outside world. I’ve heard of the growing Steampunk genre, and love the whole concept, but had yet to delve into reading it. I can safely say I am now addicted! This story was so clever, and Michael so wonderfully entwined all the components of the story, leaving me desperate for more. It was honestly a masterpiece, and Michael Wombat should be known as a Literary Genius!
The more emotional of this collection came in the form of Michael A. Walker and Marissa Ames’ stories. I had read ‘Darrion’ by Marissa Ames previously, but this didn’t stop me from re-reading this story again. I just adore everything about it. The meaning behind the story, the heartbreak, the fear, the fantasy element woven throughout subtly, yet meaningful is just stunning. To see the review I wrote for Darrion previously, see here.
Michael A. Walker’s talent with words had me sobbing through his stories. In the shortest of stories, he is able to have me so connected to his characters that I feel bereft to leave them as I finish the story. Michael’s devotion to his characters just seeps through the page with how he presents them and tells their stories. In ‘Stella’ we see an old woman who cannot remember who the man dying in the room by her is, despite them having been married for over sixty years. Her story managed to be heart-warming, even as my heart ached for the couple who had so many years together and were finally being pulled apart by age and illness. The flashback to Stella’s life growing up, and her courtship and marriage to Walter, the dedication they showed throughout their life was so beautiful, and made the realisation that Stella was suffering from Alzheimer’s all the more heartbreaking. Fans of ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks would love this story with the same intensity that I did.
Lastly, but by no means least, Michael A. Walker presented another absolutely beautiful, poignant, heart-breaking piece called ‘Light On’. Laura was an absolute inspiration. The devotion she showed for her husband who had been named ‘Missing in Action’ for a year after fighting in Afghanistan. This story shows the harsh reality of the pain that those who are left behind feel when their loved ones are named casualties of war. ‘Light On’ just set alight every emotion in me, and I wished more than anything for a happy ending that I knew in my heart could never be. The fantasy elements interwoven in the final scenes was perfectly done, and had my heart beating hard and tears growing in my eyes. This story holds a very special place in my heart, and I know that this will be one that I will re-read again and again.
This collection was absolutely breathtaking, and has introduced me to some new genres I wasn’t overly familiar with, and showed the extraordinary range of writing styles that all bring their own meaning to a story. I’ve also discovered some new songs and artists and reminds me of the power of music as inspiration.