Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 
Title: Collected Veinglory: M/M Short Stories
Author: Emily Veinglory
Genre: Fantasy/speculative
URL: Smashwords See ETA
Price: US $2.99
Other Information/warnings: Violence, explicit sexual content
Summary [from the publisher]:
Emily Veinglory brings you fourteen tales steaming with her signature blend of dark fantasy and man-on-man romance. Starring princes of Elfland, creatures of myth, and all-too-human hunks, each story offers a window to a richly imagined world where two men strive for their elusive happily ever after.

My review: Emily Veinglory is one of the most imaginative and elegant writers in the m/m genre, and would give some of the literary greats a run for their money in the stylistic stakes. Purely from the story-telling/emotional point of view, these stories are masterpieces. The amount of world-building and intensity she packs into even the briefest of these stories is simply staggering. Though there is a certain sameness to the themes – lovers (often of perceived disparate attractiveness) brought together yet separated by curses or cruel circumstance, managing to find the loophole which will let them be united, even if almost too late, or in an incomplete manner, are the dominant trope – there is nothing remotely similar about the worlds, or the relationships.  Elves, vampires, princes, interplanetary soldiers, seilkies, pirates, bankrobbers, and lawmen populate these 12 stories, and their lives are laid before us in all their painful, limited splendour. Veinglory knows how to give us all the background without ever infodumping, using a spare but masterful prose to build rich miniatures and compelling interactions. If I had to single out one story – and it’s difficult to do – I would choose “Bisclavaret” as a perfect example of her craft.

So why haven’t I given this a ten star rating? I wondered what to do, honestly, but in the end, I had to downrate this as a total experience because the line editing is thoroughly horrible, and the formatting inferior. I read this partly on an iPod and I kid you not, for many stories there were two to three errors per iPod screen (which is only about twenty lines or so). Missing, misspelled or mis-selected words, even mistaken character names were too common to ignore. A handful of errors could be overlooked, but not this number. These simply haven’t been edited, and given the beauty of the prose, it’s like throwing mud on a Monet. Equally, the author (for this is self-published and so she must take the blame) hasn’t made sure the word is properly formatted in .epub, so the style changes from paragraph to paragraph, hyphenation is crap, and there is no table of contents, let alone hyperlinks to and back to it from the titles, as is now the style requested by Smashwords. It made it very difficult to navigate and generally a less than pleasing experience on my chosen ereader.

If you want my rating of the stories ignoring these issues, it would have to be 9 or 10 stars. But even for the low price of $2.99, it’s not good enough to present customers with unedited work. Perhaps the author will revise and reissue, and thus introduce new readers to her decidedly superior writing.

ETA: The author writes:

Hi there,

Thanks for letting me know my anthology isn’t up to snuff technically.
I have pulled it and will send you a revised version when it is
ready.

Emily

ETA2: A revised version is now up at Smashwords. I haven’t checked it to see if the errors I mention were fixed but one assumes the author made an attempt to address them.

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