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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Tales of the Lost Horizon by Michael Eging is a collection of original poetry and short stories in a convergence of fantasy and yesteryear, each piece of varied length and independent of the others. In total Eging has compiled eighteen pieces, ranging from the moral-infused Procession of the Ants and its Hindu deities to the rhythmic poem Splendor, which succinctly depicts the glorified death of a knight in battle. Each work is accompanied by illustrations that have been contributed by multiple artists, such as Benjamin Fountain Butcher's fantastic metallic-themed toiling dwarf, his sinewy strength at one with the iron as he plies away at the anvil. This completely bucks the stereotypical trope of dwarves with axes, finally. There's also Jarod Krupp's portrayal of a windswept Ellie as she takes stock of a landscape dotted with the silhouettes of approaching danger, a hauntingly beautiful Mignola-esque design for the story GI Sights.
There's a lot to unpack after reading Tales of the Lost Horizon, which is a credit to author Michael Eging since fantasy fiction tends to color within the lines and it's infrequent that someone tries to reinvent the glaive. This is well and truly a mixed bag, but everything I was able to pluck from it was actually really good. My favorite was the science fiction mini space opera called Stardusted, which ended with what could arguably be the first successful pun finale in the history of pun finales. Eging is a master of his craft and is a real treat to read. If there was one thing I'd have preferred to see different it would have definitely been crediting the contributing illustrators at the presentation of their individual artwork as opposed to a list in the front matter. Still, I loved every page of this work and am looking forward to seeing what Eging puts out next.