Title: Anyplace Else (Bah Humbug: Advent Calendar 2016)
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 33 Pages
Category: Holiday Romance, Mythology, Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: While I think thirty-three pages may have not been enough for Kim Fielding to satisfactorily cover what she wanted to cover here, I did enjoy the book.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Grant Beaudoin should be thrilled to escape Minneapolis at Christmastime and grateful to lounge on a Hawaiian beach. Instead he is mired in self-pity and drowning in too much tequila. His twin is marrying the perfect man, while Grant is stuck in middle management with no love life in sight. A walk into the rain forest leads to a meeting with a doomed man who has a story about a holiday that predates Christmas. Grant comes to realize that difficult endings can lead to new beginnings—and perhaps a brighter future.
Review: Anyplace Else is a modern-world-meets-myth mashup of sorts that has Grant Beaudoin running into a Croatian god while attending his brother’s wedding in Hawaii. You know…as one does. Heh. This story has such an interesting set up. Grant has a soul-sucking job and an unsatisfactory love life, so he’s pretty much a mopey, grumpy Gus when we meet him. He has a cute waiter on his side, though, and is soon being given advice and possibly magical drinks. It’s never explicitly stated that the drink is magical, but it’s certainly alluded to. I liked the little hints of magic sprinkled throughout the story: the green drink, after which Grant feels a sudden need to take a nature hike; and then later in the book, his inexplicable urge to start digging at the base of a tree certainly makes it seem like there is something else at work there.
The passage in the beginning, where Grant first ventures into the rainforest, and ends up meeting Parun/Hors/Dazhbog/Predimir (I know…it’s confusing…you gotta read the book) is really mesmerizing and beautifully written. I could perfectly picture the lush jungle with the huge oak tree appearing out of nowhere. And, the second half of the book, in which Grant goes to Croatia on an extended trip, has some wonderful descriptions of parts of the country, and the people and customs there. In fact, the writing overall was very good and engaging. The story itself, though, had me puzzled more than a few times. The Hawaii connection was unclear to me. The entire story is centered around a Croatian myth. So, why Hawaii? And, how were the locals there so familiar with this Croatian legend of the solstice and their gods? I also couldn’t get past how Grant had no issue telling people about the wild things he saw, or how most of them were all, ‘Oh…yeah…that,’ like it was not at all out of the ordinary to run into a Slavic god in the jungle of Hawaii.
It helped when I decided to just frame it in terms of being a work of fantasy, a mythological story, and quit trying to logically fit it into a modern day box. Once I did that, I was better able to apply it to just Grant and his situation. Anyplace Else is a story of rebirth; which Grant desperately needs in his life. It’s a story of being there for someone, and believing strongly in something. I had to read this one twice, you guys. You might have to also—there is a lot going on in these thirty-three pages! And, while I think thirty-three pages may have not been enough for Kim Fielding to satisfactorily cover what she wanted to cover here, I did enjoy the book. It was a very cool premise, and a fun mix of fantasy and reality.
You can buy Anyplace Else here:
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