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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
Tales from the Aether by Matthew Woodruff, a collection of 14 bizarre and thought-provoking short stories, will make you question your conditioned reality. What if the world is not how you have always perceived it to be? Imagine waking up in a strange, darkened room. You have no idea how you arrived there but now you are imprisoned with no means of escape, then you hear an unfamiliar voice. A girl faces the worse kind of betrayal and takes drastic action against those who have wronged her. A woman enters the afterlife and discovers it was not what she expected it to be. Or a grieving mother who encounters a mysterious stranger holding a Valentine’s Day gift with a horrifying surprise inside. The stories pose such questions as what happens to our souls when our lives have ended; do destiny and fate exist? Are our lives mapped out or do we have the ability to control our futures? If you could go back in time, what decisions would you make differently, and would one different decision cause a chain of events that would dramatically change the course of your life? Is there a higher power watching our every move and what will happen if we try to change the rules of the game of life?
Tales from the Aether by Matthew Woodruff is another fantastic collection of short stories which take everyday situations such as relationships, human emotions, and fears and transform them into obscure and compelling tales. From a grieving mother about to receive a shocking surprise from beyond the grave, a tale of horrifying revenge, to a journey into the after-life. Every story has a fantastic twist and a powerful sting in its tail. The characters were imaginative and realistic. The stories relayed the powerful emotions man faces throughout his life; uncertainty, fear, shock, anger, and greed. My particular favorites were Lenny the Dijinn, which highlights the importance to be careful what you wish for. This quote by Lenny was extremely profound, “Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.” Plus the dark but incredibly humorous My After Life with its brilliant ending and Destiny’s End. Expect the unexpected with every turn of the page, from mermaids to the enslavement of dwarves and cats eating human body parts. This collection is not for the faint-hearted but will make you think outside the box and spark your curiosity and awareness.