I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.
As with most of Cross Genres collections, this was a solid set of short stories with a few stand out brilliant ones. Unlike some of their other collections, I think the determination to include as many diverse stories as possible has weakened the collection as a whole, with more than one that dragged and some repetitive themes. If a few had been held back for a second volume it might have made for a tighter anthology. It would also have allowed for space to include the usual author biographies at the end of each story, which I sorely missed in terms of contextualising some of the works. I did appreciate the addition of illustrations, though I suspect they have more impact in colour.
This is a fascinating and wide ranging collection. The stories draw on folklore and horror more than sci fi or fantasy and have settings round the globe and over several centuries. The Ottoman Empire, colonial India, post WW1 Wales are just some of the places visited. Demons, witches, shape-shifters and ogres are among the creatures met. The human characters are musicians, seamstresses, miners, ex-slaves, refugees and others on the margins of the societies they live in. Their lives are vividly imagined and well described; the stories are well constructed. My only criticism of the collection is that many of the stories, although written by different people, have very similar voices. This is, presumably, a reflection of the editor's preferences. I found some of the stories required work on the part of the reader to understand fully what was going on – but this is not a criticism, there's no reason short stories should be easy to read. I recommend this book to anyone who likes something different.
I didn't know what to expect of this when I bought it, but I'm glad that I did! This book gave me that old fairy tale feeling I had growing up when my dad read me stories, except that these stories star characters in lead roles that normally don't even make it in and the narratives are different from what I'm used to as well. I love how it's got stories from non-European and non-(Western)classical perspectives. It's fresh and it's magical, and the world needs more of these.