Ellen Klages’ fresh and surprising WICKED WONDERS shifts paradigms

A trio of fresh reviews for Ellen Klages’ recommended WICKED WONDERS.

At B&N SCI-FI & FANTASY BLOG, Shana DuBois lavishes praise upon the collection.

Reading WICKED WONDERS, Ellen Klages’ new short story collection, is like watching a meteor shower in the heart of the desert. Your head echoes a reminder of the reality you are merely seeing rocks burning up in the atmosphere, but your heart whispers: magic is afoot. As the narrator in one of the later stories, “Woodsmoke,” tells us, “There are many kinds of magic.” Nowhere is that truer than in the pages of this book.


Many of the stories push against the paradigms we form as adults, taking us back to the forgotten or misremembered days of youth, days when we found joy in the sound of a train whistle or the feel of grass under bare feet, a time we saw the potential for whole new worlds beyond the safety of our thresholds. Klages is deft at conjuring up wistful memories of childhood, and the effect can cause your breath to catch. These are tales to make you question your adult assumptions about reality, top ponder what ifs? you long thought left behind. What if magic really does exist?

Still, there is a lightness to this collection: moments to make you laugh out loud, moments to make you smile without realizing it, moments in which you delight in the characters’ successes. In these 14 tales, Ellen Klages managed to shift my paradigms, to help me regain some of the magic lost in my passage out of childhood. Such is the power of the short story, when told by one skilled in the magic of words.

Photo: Scott R. Kline

PERPETUALLY BOOKED enjoys their first Ellen Klages experience.

WICKED WONDERS is my first experience with Klages’ writing. Although I now realize that she is well-known and award-winning, I had not heard of her prior to this collection. I have added all of her books to my wishlist = must read more now! WICKED WONDERS is marvelous. Klages has a unique world-view and her stories are both fresh and surprising. While reading this collection, I felt a range of emotions, from laughing to crying and everything in-between.

I loved that Klages included background info on all of her stories, explaining her inspiration for each. As a fellow writer, I felt relieved to find a kindred spirit in Klages with regard to how she becomes fixated on certain things, especially during research, and that her writing process is a little scattered. She’s an amazing writer and hearing about her process gives me hope!


RECOMMEND– Yes, yes, yes!!!! Klages is the best “new-to-me” author discovery that I’ve made in a long time. I have a serious crush on her writing style. I enjoyed the diversity of the stories included in Wicked Wonders. I don’t often read fantasy or science-fiction, so it was great to step out of my reading comfort zone.

SHE TREADS SOFTLY reviews the book.

WICKED WONDERS by Ellen Klages is a very highly recommended collection of fourteen short stories. I enjoyed almost all of the stories in this collection immensely, with just a couple I was slightly less enthusiastic about. Those are pretty impressive odds. 

For more info on WICKED WONDERS, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover design by Elizabeth Story