I decided that instead of rating this book overall, it would be better to rate each individual story, so that’s what I’ve done. Obviously I had to rate the overall book so I actually calculated the average of all the ratings lol.
Shallaballah by Mark Samuels
Not a good start to the book for me. I was over the stitched up face appearance, creepy hospital, shady operations kind of horror story long ago, so this did pretty much nothing for me. Yes there were creepy elements to it but not enough. I also get what it was trying to do with the whole vanity, television thing, but it didn’t really work and so for me, added nothing to the overall plot.
Sob in the Silence by Gene Wolfe
This was a pretty good creepy story, I much prefer stories that don’t really have any paranormal elements to them and are more about the madness of the human brain. This short story had a bit of both to it so it was much preferable to the last! Didn’t like the weird abrupt ending though, it felt like the story had been cut short.
Our Turn Too Will One Day Come by Brian Hodge
This definitely had my skin crawling a bit. I love this kind of horror story that incorporates creatures and family secrets, kind of gave me The Village vibes… Is that the name of that film? Anyway, yes, great short!
Dead Sea Fruit by Kaaron Warren
This short was pretty good, the Ash Mouth Man was pretty freaky but the writing was a bit all over the place and I felt too much was squeezed into such a small story. I’d love to read a full length story about this Ash Man, that would definitely be disturbing to read!
Closet Dreams by Lisa Tuttle
Really well written and completely terrifying! I hate abduction stories so much because it could happen to anyone. It’s not like the demonic ghost stories that you choose to believe or not believe, men who rape and steal little girls are real. The ending was… Predictable… Done before… Boring… But the rest of it was good enough to warrant it 4 stars!
Spectral Evidence by Gemma Files
I didn’t like the way this was set out, very frustrating to read on a Kindle! Also, I didn’t really get it, it was so all over the place I forgot what was happening previously.
Hushabye by Simon Bestwick
I wanted to like this one but there was too much missing from the story, maybe it was meant to be mysterious but in my eyes it just felt unfinished. Like what was the man sucking out of the children? And what really happened to Hardiman? Also I thought the narrator was a woman until we finally learnt his name was Paul, don’t know why, I just imagined him that way.
Very Low-Flying Aircraft by Nicholas Royle
I’m not really a big fan of war based novels / stories so from the get go I knew I wasn’t going to get on that well with this story but it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t feel like this story explained itself enough or maybe it did and I just didn’t get it? Like why did it matter that Frankie looked like Victoria and why did Flynn go to the clinic? Also, I didn’t think it of a horror story really, though it was scary and horrible, it didn’t give me the heeby-jeebys like some of the others have done.
The Goosle by Margo Lanagan
Seriously, seriously grotesque. If you have a weak stomach, avoid this.A very peculiar branch off the traditional Hansel and Gretel story we all know. This isn’t my kind of horror at all. I much prefer scary, mysterious human crime and occasionally a paranormal story. Torture porn is not at all my thing. This was very well written though, so props to Lanagan for that.
The Clay Party by Steve Duffy
Again, not exactly what I’d classify as a horror story, but a great read nonetheless. Excellently written and enjoyable the whole way through, up until the end… the ending definitely wasn’t my kind of style so that was disappointing for me personally, but I’m sure others would love it!
Strappado by Laird Barron
Definitely one of the strangest of the shorts in this novel. I thought it was excellently written but I didn’t quite get it? Maybe I was just having an off day when I read this but it didn’t really do anything for me.
Lonegan’s Luck by Stephen Graham Jones
This is one of those stories I don’t know why I like. I never used to be into these kinds of rural town, religious apocalyptic kind of books, but ever since reading Mammoth, I’ve begun to enjoy reading them. Admittedly this had me a little confused to begin with, there were what felt like a lot of characters, but in the end none of the mattered anyway, they were just there to set the scene.
Mr Pigsny by Reggie Oliver
I feel like I’ve read this book a million times. It’s one of those stories that’s been redone time and time again with just slight changes here and there. It isn’t a bad plot per say, I certainly enjoyed it, it just had nothing unique about it.
At Night, When the Demons Come by by Ray Cluley
One of the longer stories in this book but also one of the best. It had a pleasing twist to it and some interesting characters. I guess I quite like the whole apocalyptic feel when it comes to stories. I personally don’t feel this one was a horror story, more like a fantasy thriller.
Was She Wicked? Was She Good? by Mary Rickert
This was a sad horror story, but in a way, it was also quite beautiful. I really liked the plot, it was something quite different to all the others in this collection and I thought the way it was written flowed well. Enjoyable short story!
The Shallows by John Langan
I liked how this was written but I didn’t get it? I got bored halfway through it too, it was a half an hour read and I just couldn’t understand it so I skimmed the last 10 minutes or so. Yawn.
Little Pig by Anna Taborska
Meh. This was well written and very different to the rest of the stories in this collection but was it a horror story? No. It was tragic, but not scary. Disappointing because whenever I see the word “pig” in relation to something “scary” I think of AHS.
Omphalos by Livia Llewellyn
TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ABUSE
This story was definitely very unique to the rest of the stories in this collection in the terms that this was a horror story that focused more on the real life horrors of families rather than made up monsters and ghouls. This story isn’t for the faint-hearted, it was horrific and gruesome and very upsetting. It wasn’t the best story in the collection when it came to plot or writing style, but it did bring out strong emotions in me, which other stories have been unable to do.
How We Escaped Our Certain Fate by Dan Chaon
I liked how this was a different take on a classic zombie story – ”It wasn’t the end of the world… of course, a bite would infect you, but they weren’t terribly aggressive, in general.” This was by far my favourite story in the entire book, it was so sad and emotional. It was beautiful.
That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love by Robert Shearman
Creepy, creepy, creepy. Dolls terrify me thanks to modern horror, although, really, I’ve always felt unsettled by them. Enjoyable story though. Poor Julian.
(This story almost had my name in it! “Suki” is close enough to Zuky.)
Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No.8) by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Hmm, why did the shorts at the end of this book get all meaningful and loved up? I think that kinda ruined this for me. Granted it was disturbed and pretty grotesque at times but sadness of the ending ruined that creepy effect of the book and just left this kind of hanging in the space between horror and tragedy.
Shay Corsham Worsted by Garth Nix
This was an interesting story and I liked our harsh but caring main character, Sir David. I wish this story was a little longer so we could find out more about Shay because I feel the missing backstory left this plot wide open. Enjoyable nonetheless.
The Atlas of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud
I really enjoyed this to begin with though I thought it had a little David Wong influence, a writing style I’m not into. All was going well for this story until I got towards the end of it, where it completely lost me. Whether this is down to the annoying man sat on the train next to me, speaking into his phone at 32596 decibels, or just because the plot went AWOL, we’ll never know.
Ambitious Boys Like You by Richard Kadrey
I like these kinds of creepy stories! They’re not particularly unique anymore, because they’ve been done so many different times in so many different, but similar ways, but they’re still fun to read. The old man was especially disturbing just because he was so witty and chilled out. I liked that this story had elements of humour to it, it made a nice change to the more recent emotion filled stories.
Thanks to Netgalley and Tachyon Publications for giving me the opportunity to read this in an exchange for an honest review.