Forbidden Magic: The Cellar Door Issue #2 is a collection of captivating tales of magic that ranges from fun magic to some very real-world terror where magic is involved.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Forbidden Magic: The Cellar Door Issue #2 edited by Aric Sundquist
I had such a blast with this collection! There is such a fun variety here. With each one, I couldn’t wait to see how strong the magical elements would be and what the overall topic was.
I really loved every single story here, but my top favorites were All The Other Toys Faced The Walls by Patrick Barb and Born In A Tomb by Ville Meriläinen.
Per usual, here are my thoughts on each tale!
Hear, Hearth, Heartbeat by Gwendolyn Kiste –
Unsure if she wanted to go to her school reunion, she can’t help but be drawn in by her old best friend’s request to join. Once in town, she remembers a spell that her friend had promised to share with her later.
I could relate to this main character’s dread so much. I was also the kid that couldn’t wait to get out of their hometown. I got out during college and didn’t look back. Visiting now certainly feels strange.
This tale was so eerie. I kept expecting something wild to happen, but the slow-burn dread was so much more fun! I loved the path this one took.
All The Other Toys Faced The Walls by Patrick Barb –
As the girl’s favorite toy, this teddy bear is there for her through everything. Most recently, it’s there for her while she goes through a stage of being terrified of other toys that look at her. Even while other major events occur, it’s still the toys she’s afraid of.
I loved that that story was told from the perspective of the teddy bear! It was so unsettling when the toy explained being stuck and only getting glimpses of things as the girl moved it around. The other terrifying elements are added in here quietly, which makes them so much more unnerving.
Fire Dance by Lynne M. MacLean –
When two young women go into her shop, this woman knows what she needs to do immediately following an interaction between them and her boyfriend. But will she be able to convince them to listen to her?
Oh gosh, the tension that builds under the surface here was intense! I was so nervous to see what was going to happen.
Love Potion by Jaye Nasir –
Discovering a vial of mysterious liquid, this woman is enchanted by what happens when she smells it. But her curiosity doesn’t rest there; she’s determined to figure out what it is. But will she like the answer?
My gosh, this is the perfect example of such a sweet tale that suddenly takes a dark turn! I loved how unsettled I felt while reading this one!
On Pins And Needles by Serena Jayne –
Pushed too far when her coworker steals yet another idea, this woman has a plan to get back at her. But her mental state is quickly deteriorating as she keeps getting pushed further and further.
Who hasn’t had a toxic coworker like this?! My goodness, I can relate to the rage. And that ending!
Born In A Tomb by Ville Meriläinen –
Working to lay lost souls to rest, this man asks them to tell him a story of who they were and who they wanted to be. The dead rise one time to share their stories as they are led to their final resting place. But this isn’t the only power this man has.
I was so nervous to see where this would go, as we all know that “sometimes dead is better,” but when grief rears its ugly head, we’ll do anything to see our loved ones again. What a great grief-horror tale with a twist!
Buna’s Pattern by Ryan Marie Ketterer –
While people in this town keep being murdered, this family continues to participate in the annual tradition of tossing easter egg shells in the river. Fed up by losing another loved one, this young woman decides she needs to go to the place where they bring the dead.
A classic tale of a quest for revenge gone sideways. I felt so bad for this poor girl who just wanted things to be better.
Hex And Sandy by Michelle Tang –
A woman obsessed with her looks and her followers has made deals that she cannot take back. And these beings she has made deals with want payment.
What a twisted tale filled with so many turns. When this one started I was so nervous. Then things took their first turn and I was intrigued. Things just kept getting more and more intense! The scene with the photo made me shudder!
The Glory Of Our Flesh by Michael Harris Cohen –
Stuck watching as people come and go, following tour guides that tell the same stories over and over again. But this day, they are shocked that one tourist can actually see them.
I love any tale about the Salem Witch Trials. This was a fun and heartbreaking take. And that last line!
My Church Is Black by Scotty Milder –
Determined to do a ritual to try to call to a lost brother, these young women go to a church to take part.
Split between the events leading up to the ritual as well as the ritual itself and an interview discussing a very old ritual and everything that can go wrong, the tension here slowly builds until things get bloody!
My Favorite Passages from Forbidden Magic: The Cellar Door Issue #2
Sometimes, it astounds me how much towns like these never change for the better.
— Hear, Hearth, Heartbeat by Gwendolyn Kiste
What happens to the things we leave behind? And what about the things we take with us, even if we don’t mean to? We were just two strange girls, pretending to believe in witchcraft. Until the day came, and the witchcraft believed in us.
–Hear, Hearth, Heartbeat by Gwendolyn Kiste
To acknowledge my terror would have dismantled the architecture of my life, so I kept it tucked away in the pit of my stomach.
— Love Potion by Jaye Nasir
Demi shook her head and bit down on her lower lip. Years of practiced speeches and an ocean of emotion threatened to submerge her, but now that they’d reached this moment, she didn’t waste the words. Nothing Sandrine could do would fix the past, or restore their souls, or save the relationship she’d discarded.
— Hex And Sandy by Michelle Tang
Magic is everywhere, though none seem punished for it. Not as we were. Not as we are. We are strangers to this earth, unchanged as stone, chained here as the world around alters and bewilders us.
— The Glory Of Our Flesh by Michael Harris Cohen
My Final Thoughts on Forbidden Magic: The Cellar Door Issue #2
Fantasy and horror fans, this collection is definitely one you’re going to want to pick up! This one gave me a wicked book hankering. All I’m craving is more stories with magic now!
Thanks for reading!