Short Story Review: The Black Dagger by Alesha Escobar

The Black Dagger (Magic Unveiled: An Anthology) by Alesha Escobar

Publisher: Smashwords Edition

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Edition: ebook,

Genre: Fantasy, Short-Story

Rating: 3.5/5

I love a good murder mystery; I also love Greek mythology.


There is Another World Alongside Ours. We Dare You to Step Into It…

Miranda had been making wishes all her life–and they’ve been coming true. From a boyfriend, to a prom dress, even to having a baby boy and girl, her wishing has never failed her. Some took more time than others, but they always came her way.

Until one day, a friend who picks up on it wants her to wish for a million dollars. And then a neighbor comes with another request. Miranda soon realizes that the power to make wishes come true can be less of a blessing and more of a curse.

Justin is a practical guy. He doesn’t believe in life after death–or he might, after stumbling into a tattoo shop owned by Gypsum Jane. Her subtle magic drops the veil between our world and another, giving him one last emotional goodbye with his mother’s ghost.

From police detectives chasing the supernatural and uncovering a frightening world, to mythical gods walking among us and trying not to fade out of existence, Magic Unveiled has a stunning collection of magical realism and paranormal fantasy tales that will keep you reading all night.

This anthology is brought to you by USA Today bestselling author Samantha LaFantasie, Seattle Times bestselling author Raven Oak, Amazon bestselling authors Alesha Escobar and Devorah Fox, NIEA finalist H.M. Jones, Jayme Beddingfield, Alice Marks, Ronovan Hester, and Keith Goodno.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story from the author in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Thanks to school, it has been quite sometime since I’ve had the time to read anything for fun! I did, however, just have my first exam this morning; which means that I had the whole rest of the day off – with no classes or work to study! So, what better way to celebrate than to read a story?

Lu, whose real name Babalu Aye (a Greek God), runs a natural herbal remedies shop in the city where he mainly cares for women and sick children. He is in the form of a human here, and helps to heal people so they will keep their faith and continue to believe – and is doing this, it helps him keep his strength and life. You see, without the people believing, a Greek God will die.

One morning, he receives a visit from a man in a business suit… a man whom Lu is not familiar with. It turns out to be Raven (another Greek God). He has come to seek Lu’s help and wants him to join their group. A week ago, the Goddess Vesta was found dead because people had stopped believing in her – or so it had seemed. The truth is she was actually killed by a black dagger, that produce malice results by merely cutting a God. Raven had found this weapon, but when he went to retrieve the Council and show them, all evidence of a murder gone.

Raven has come here to ask Lu, to join himself, Dionysus, Hermes, and Freya, to bring this murder… whom they believe to be Zeus… and they believe that Lu is next target…

I love a good murder mystery; I also live Greek mythology. So naturally this should be a win-win story me. And you know what? It was.

The story started off fast with a scene where Vesta gets murder, there is talking about gods, and dying, and then this mysterious black dagger. We next jump to Lu; he is walking into his shop as he is being heckled by the local junior high punks. He talks about sending those kids to another third-world demission (which I thought was him being a cranky old man) but then one of the kids approaches him and Lu gives him the old evil-eye… except Lu’s face literally turned to look like death. That was when I realized this was not some old man. And then Raven shows up, and starts talking about muderers, the black dagger, and the cover up… What I’m getting at (and what you should have realized by now) is that the start of this novel is great stuff!

The second and third part of this story, while still a great and compelling read, I felt, did loose some that action, suspense, and mystery that was present to start. That are certain situations that brought that captivating feeling from the start (like when we find out who they think the murder is; after they meet Dicolyes at the club; and the ending… what a twist!), but those in-between times, did feel like they were missing a little something something.

One aspect I felt came short was the relationship between Lu and Freya. When Lu meets Raven, Raven tell him that Lu will have to be the one to talk to Freya and convince her to join. Then when they are about to first meet, his internal thoughts were somewhere along the lines of, “she either going to punch my face or give me hug.” A nice love quarrel to go on the side murder mystery will be fun – but that did not happened. If it wasn’t for that being mentioned at the start, I don’t think I would have noticed anything. And the only reason I think I noticed anything, was because it was supposed to be there… I was told they had a past history, but I have no idea why that is important or what happened?

It could be that is part of Greek mythology, but that brings me another point: tell me more about the Gods. I know Dioclyes, Hermes, and Zeus, but to be honest, Babalu Aye? Did not know much about him. Also did not know that Cronos is also called Raven. (And I’m pretty sure that Vesta is Roman mythology… it would be Hestia for Greek). Now, the knowledge of the mythology is not needed to enjoy of understand the story, but for the type of reader that I am, I prefer to know a little background about stuff like this.

There is some cool world building that happens here though. Mainly in the form of how the Gods stay alive: they need to have people’s faith. No faith = no life = death. That is why Lu runs a health shop and Dicolyes runs a club. This is what the Gods must do now with humans in order to survive. Lu is a healer, and because of that, he has a few special abilities that other Gods do not, and is also why they believe that he may be the next target.

If you take away my personal want of more mythology, my only gripe with the story was I didn’t understand this supposed past quarrel between Lu and Freya.

This was a very good story, and I meant that. I am a term 1 medical student, and today was my first exam, and thus the first free afternoon I’ve had to read in a month! Thus, if the one and only story I got to read was not good – oh boy, you can bet I would be bashing it right now 😛

While I can only speak about this one story (school makes it impossible for me to read this whole anthology) I believe the I can confidently recommend this collection. Alesha Escobar, H.M. Jones, Samantha LaFantasie, and Devorah Fox are all authors who wrote stores for Masters of Time: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Time Travel Anthology (my review) and I believe I gave all of these stories a 3.5 rating or higher… I know for a FACT that at least two received a 4 star and one, the rare and coveted, 5 star!

Long story short, having read half of these authors – and if the rest of these story are of the same calibre as Alesha’s – I believe this should a very enjoyable anthology to pick up.

And totally forgot! The ending! Hell-of-a-twist! Did not see that coming.

3.5/5 Rating


Date Read: 09/05/2016 - 09/05/2016
Review Written: 09/05/2016
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