Goodreads Book Blurb:
I’ve learned that the only way I can decide how to rate books like this – either collections of short stories or anthologies – is to rate and review the stories individually. So, here we go…
Sympathy for the Bones ★★★.5
HORROR | WITCHES
Such a dark, creepy vibe. The picture is revealed slowly to keep you hooked and reading, wanting to know what will happen next. I liked the hopefulness of the future shining through the dark disparity of the past (and present) and the plotting to win the freedom that has been denied for a lifetime. The writing is sharp yet haunting with evocative imagery; it feels like it crawled straight out of a nightmare.
Briar and the Rose ★★★.5
FAIRY TALE | QUEER | ROMANCE | WITCHES
This retelling of Sleeping Beauty is much darker than the Disney version but definitely more hopeful than the original Giambattista Basile version. I liked that it took place over years with the protagonists falling in love one day a week, every week. The story itself is shrouded in mystery, and while the details are sparse, it feels like a dreamscape with images flowing one after another to create a narrative rather than a straight line of words. You get to know Rose and Briar without really knowing them at all. This is not a sweet, naive fairy tale, but it has sweet moments – although they are often overshadowed by a horrific loss of agency and freedom. I love that once the story takes a turn, the storytelling begins to feel like legends whispered across lands, and it left me questioning whether the ending was real or just hopeful myths and legends.
Light and the Fury DNF
I didn’t know it was possible to DNF a short story, but this one was mind numbingly dull. I read the first few pages, skimmed the next few, fell asleep, tried continuing the next day, ended up skimming again, and then gave up. So all I can tell you is there’s a war going on, she’s going to murder some dude’s sister, and he’s okay with it, and everyone is going to die anyway because war and she’s some never forgotten hero but doesn’t think she should be but knows she is. Too many details I didn’t care about, and it felt so long I started to worry it was going to take up the rest of the book even though my kindle says I’m only at 30%.
The Last Dignity of Man ★★★★
HARD SCI-FI | QUEER
This story managed to be both disgusting and heartbreakingly sad – I didn’t think it was possible to walk this line successfully, but it was done very well. I’m not a big fan of the ‘unsaid speaking more than anything said‘ trope, so a lot of Richard and Alexander’s conversations were annoying but the rest of the story was wonderful. I liked the idea of Alexander portraying himself as a villain in the hopes this proves there is a hero out in the world looking out for humanity.
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