It is a close call between “Echoes from the Consort Box” - the story that lends itself to the anthology’s gorgeous cover - and “Shreddy and the Silver Egg” for my top picks in this collection. Both are worthy of five stars, mindful of the limitations that apply to short fiction. Whereas “Echoes from the Consort Box” is very clever, original and well written, “Shreddy and the silver Egg” is the one that really tugged at my heart strings. Kudos to the author for managing to shoehorn a story about a cat raising a griffin into a music theme of the anthology. I really felt a connection to Shreddy there.
“Deep Down Among the Dagger Dancers” and “Night of a Thousand Songs” add a mythological flavour to the anthology, whilst “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” is anchored squarely in our familiar world (albeit with anthropomorphic animals). I enjoyed reading these, though they did not grab me like the prior.
“Melody of a Street Corner” is well written, though a tad predictable and at times sentimental. I managed to figure out where the story was heading about half-way through and was spot-on.
Not much happens in “Sugar Pill”. I would have liked to get a bit more intimate with the protagonist to truly understand the transition that takes places in the course of the story. Having gone through a similar mind-shift about noisy clubs (albeit over a much longer period of time) I think there is a lot of lost potential here. The “It’s hard” joke made me chuckle.
“Nocturne” I found hardest to get into. Darker and edgier than the other stories, it almost feels like this piece would have done better in longer format, or perhaps with a different themed anthology. There are many unanswered questions in this one. Most pertinent - what is vampire-bat blood used for, and why is it so expensive? A bit more context of the world in which the story takes place would greatly add to my enjoyment thereof.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this anthology. Bonus points for it’s proceeds going towards a good cause.