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Beyond Magic    by Susan Kearney, Elaine Cunningham & Kassandra Sims order for
Beyond Magic
by Susan Kearney
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

This collection of novellas kicks off with Kearney's The Shimmering where Earthbound reporter Sandra Lowell agrees to subject herself to astral projection to debunk the creator's assurances that it actually works. She soon finds herself, or rather her consciousness, trapped in the body of a princess whose forced betrothal to warrior Daveck Goriat leaves her terrified and willing to do anything to escape her horrible fate. Sandra on the other hand, finds Daveck and his political agenda fascinating and eventually must make a hard choice - return to her life on Earth or turn the page to a brand new life with Daveck?

Beyond Dreams is a well-written and intriguing murder mystery that finds medium Nick Romano experiencing vivid dreams about murdered women. As the dreams persist in frequency and clarity, his only recourse is to reconnect with psychic Cassie O'Malley. Neither wants to revisit their turbulent past, let alone work together, but as the murders escalate, they realize that investigating them and addressing their failed relationship is vital to both their futures.

And in Sims' Hill and Sky, apathetic witch Annika Madsen has moved halfway across the country to escape her family's expectations. The more Annika refuses to accept her gift, the more forceful her mother becomes in trying to bring her daughter back into the fold - especially once she realizes that their magic is dying and that Annika is the key to restoring it.

Kearney's and Cunningham's stories are both well told and intriguing. Cunningham's in particular will leave readers hoping that she'll expand her characters and their fascinating mythology into a full-length novel. Sims' story, unfortunately, is a lacklustre tale that never really displays a sense of plot or character and does little to capture readers' imagination. This shouldn't put readers off from adding Beyond Magic to their Fall reading list, however.

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