Tag Archives: anthology

Good vs. Evil in Anthology

urban_enemiesHere the emphasis is on the evil part of the Good vs. Evil. Seventeen stories from diverse urban fantasy series showcase their villains. There are stories from the following authors: Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (The Cainsville and Otherworld series), Seanan McGuire (InCryptid), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), C.E. Murphy (Walker Papers), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (the Hellhound Chronicles and the Black London series), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches).

Most of the stories are told from the villain’s point of view rather than just being about the villain. Some of them are written in such a way that you can actually feel a moment of empathy for them. Others showcase just how evil they really are. My favorite story was probably the one from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I found myself empathizing with the main character. Also well written, but definitely falling into the catagory of scarier villains was the story about beings that are like cuckoos from Seanan McGuire.

I wasn’t expecting to empathize with any of the villains. I was not familiar with all of the series. In fact, I was hoping to gain some idea of other urban fantasy series I might enjoy. It was a success in that regard. All of the stories were well written no matter the angle they took. In truth, I would reread this whole anthology in addition to seeking out other works by the authors. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Urban Enemies is due out August 1, 2017 from Gallery Books. If you enjoy urban fantasy, definitely check this book out.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and freely given.

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Varied Nightmares

nightmares_datlowThings that go bump in the night? Sure, but so much more than that. The stories are varied and run the gamut from horrifying to creepy to don’t turn your lights off scary. There was even a retelling of sorts of Hansel and Gretel. And don’t forget the zombies.

Ellen Datlow is an excellent editor. I believe she is a sort of expert in short story quality and in horror from her many years of editing the Best Horror of the Year series among other things. Authors included in the anthology are (in order of appearance): Mark Samuels, Gene Wolfe, Brian Hodge, Kaaron Warren, Lisa Tuttle, Gemma Files, Simon Bestwick, Nicholas Royle, Margo Lanagan, Steve Duffy, Laird Barron, Stephen Graham Jones, Reggie Oliver, Ray Cluely, M. Rickert, John Langan, Anna Taborska, Livia Llewellyn, Dan Chaon, Robert Shearman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Garth Nix, Nathan Ballingrud, and Richard Kadrey.

As with most anthologies, I didn’t like all the stories equally. Some were better than others for me. A few I was puzzled as to why they were included. There was one story that used incest as an important part of the story. That one I could have done without entirely. It just wasn’t for me.

My favorites were: How We Escaped Our Certain Fate by Don Chaon, and the last 3 stories in the anthology. It was almost as though the best were saved for last, but the stories were arranged chronologically in order of year of publication. Datlow says of the stories included: “Consider them a guide to some of the best short story writers currently working in the field of horror fiction. And in this volume specifically, a good representation of the excellent horror that was published between 2005 and 2015.”

Overall, enough of the stories were satisfying for me to give the anthology a 4 out of 5 stars rating.

Nightmares: a New Decade of Modern Horror was released November 1, 2016 by Tachyon Publications.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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