A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends


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Sixteen extraordinary authors—including New York Times bestsellers Melissa de la Cruz, Renée Ahdieh, and Julie Kagawa—reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate. This exquisite paperback anthology includes an original bonus story from Ellen Oh. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called A Thousand Beginnings and Endings a “must-read.” 

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place.

Bestselling and award-winning authors explore the timeless themes of East and South Asian lore in sixteen original stories that will appeal to every reader. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. Edited by We Need Diverse Books co-founder Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, this anthology contains stories from sixteen Asian and South Asian authors, including New York Times bestsellers and award-winners. In a starred review, Kirkus called it an “incredible anthology that will keep readers on the edges of their seats, wanting more.”


Renée Ahdieh, Elsie Chapman, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, Alyssa Wong, and a new original story by Ellen Oh.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062671165
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/14/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 731,375
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ellen Oh is the cofounder of We Need Diverse Books and author of the award-winning Spirit Hunters series for middle grade readers and the Prophecy trilogy (Prophecy, Warrior, and King) for young adults. Originally from New York City, Ellen is a former adjunct college instructor and lawyer with an insatiable curiosity for ancient Asian history. Ellen lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and three children and has yet to satisfy her quest for a decent bagel. You can visit her online at www.ellenoh.com.

Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton met while attending the New School’s acclaimed Writing for Children MFA program. Sona is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, People, Parade, Cosmopolitan, and other major media. Dhonielle is a librarian at a middle school in Harlem, and taught English at a cutthroat ballet academy. Together, the pair cofounded CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent. Find them online at www.cakeliterary.com.

Melissa de la Cruz grew up in Manila and San Francisco. She is the author of the novels Cat's Meow (Scribner, 2001) and The Au Pairs (Simon & Schuster, 2004). She coauthored the nonfiction books How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less (Ballantine, 2003) and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-Inch Heels and Faux Pas (Ballantine, 2004). Her work has been translated into many languages. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Rahul Kanakia's novels include We Are Totally Normal and Enter Title Here. Additionally, Rahul's stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Indiana Review, and Nature. Rahul has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Lambda Literary Foundation. Originally from Washington, DC, Rahul now lives in San Francisco. 

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix, named one of the top ten fantasy novels for youth by Booklist. She lives with her husband and two children in San Diego, California.

Aisha Saeed is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed novel Amal Unbound; the Bank Street Books Best Book Written in the Stars; Aladdin: Far from Agrabah; and Bilal Cooks Daal. Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and sons. You can find her online at www.aishasaeed.com.

Shveta Thakrar’s debut novel, Star Daughter, is a standalone YA fantasy perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, and Margaret Rogerson. Shveta's work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Enchanted Living, Uncanny Magazine, and Toil & Trouble. You can find her online at www.shvetathakrar.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @ShvetaThakrar.

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A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 9 days ago
Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi: 3.5/5 - stunning word choice and loved the beginning and ending - felt less like a "retelling" and more like a "telling" Olivia's Table by Alyssa Wong: 5/5 - probably my favorite story in the anthology - about ghosts (literal and figurative) and grief and offerings - i teared up Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee: 3/5 - I'm going to be honest, this felt like Detroit: Become Human fanfiction - interesting twist but the first half was amazingly slow for a short story Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra: 4/5 - a little creepy but beautifully written - loved the reimagining explained in the author's note The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette De Bodard: 4/5 - lovely world building - sisters being loving and not hateful! - felt like a fairy tale - the author's name is stunning The Land of the Morning Calm by E. C. Myers: 3.5/5 - about grief and video games and ghosts - kinda creepy ngl. made me a bit uncomfortable. The Smile by Aisha Saeed: 5/5 - girls calling out an unfair power balance!!! girls forging their own paths!!! also pretty descriptions of dresses!!! hey yeah!! - (also it felt like a fairy tale, which is what I wanted out of this anthology) Girls Who Twirl and Other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber: 4/5 - kids plotting revenge + realizing they can grow from their mistakes - Dandiya!!!!!!!!! Nothing Into All by Renée Ahdieh: 3.5/5 - amazing premise but didn't love the last couple pages - (view spoiler) Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia: 2/5 - I just... didn't like it. At all. I didn't like the main character. I didn't like the setting. I didn't like that the main character befriends a crab-man from the future. - It was just confusing and too many different fantasy things thrown together for me (giants and a literal god and princes at war and picking random people from all across time to fight in a war and crab-man and it was all a bit too much.) Code of Honor by Melissa de la Cruz: 3/5 - I like the premise but think it could have been more fleshed out. - Plot twist got me though. Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman: 2.5/5 - mediocre world building - could have done something really interesting with gender but instead didn't - i felt no attachment to the characters Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar: 4.5/5 - tricking the gods! heart magic! people turning into swans! - felt like a fairy tale (in case that first bulled didn't make that clear enough) The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon: 4/5 - felt like a fairy tale - girl takes power over her own story - adoption featured in a myth retelling! Eyes Like Candle Light by Julie Kagawa: 4/5 - kitsune - mortal boy willing to give his life to save his village On average, this anthology got a 3.7 from me. But I'm going to round that up to a 4 because it helped me discover some new authors.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
This anthology of tales derived from Asian cultures, is a treat for those who have been waiting for something like this. There are some wonderful stories – some presenting the folklore in a modern setting, some exploring nuances of the old stories with a feminist view, some expanding the stories in its original setting – but they all make a good collection, and each of them beautifully written. For my own culture, the stories were all inspired from the Mahabharata/Hindu folklore and explored different stories in different aspects. There was a time-spanning retelling of the battle in Mahabharata, a Dusshera story inspired by the goddess’ fight against a demon (that one didn’t feel as good a retelling, though), and a reincarnation story that was equal parts chilling and intriguing. The other, non-Indian stories included a wonderful tale about two sisters, a tale of a mountain deity with her own agency, and two stories about fox deities – tricksters in a futuristic game setting, with a daughter seeking out the remnants of her mother in a digital world (which was such a hopeful and positive exploration of a digital landscape instead of a regular ‘the robots will kill us’ story), and another a historical fiction about the origin of kitsune stories. There was even an aswang story that Cruz manages to link to her existing Blue Bloods series! My only little complaint was that the background/author’s notes about which story inspired the particular retelling would come after the story – which takes away half the joy of looking at the parallels of the story, particularly if you’re not familiar with the story. After the first two stories, I started going ahead and reading the author’s notes first and then the story. Overall, this is a wonderful collection of stories, and a delight for Asian and diaspora readers specifically!