Let it be known that 2019 was the year I fell in love with horror anthologies and began hoarding them on my shelves. In 2020, have no plans to slow my roll when it comes to this type of book—each time I open an anthology I’m not quite sure what I’m going to get, and I enjoy the anticipation. I love not only the fact that it means new stories from some of my favorites, but I also tend to discover new authors in the process. Before I can finish the book, I’m often so enamored with a new-to-me author that I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of looking up all of their work and adding it to my TBR list (or online shopping cart, if I’m honest).
One thing I enjoyed about MISCREATIONS is that it’s unique and unlike other anthologies I’ve read so far. The foreword by Alma Katsu is an excellent introduction, and I love the illustrations featured prior to each story. All of the little touches that might go unnoticed come together to add something special to this one—the layout and title font were other characteristics I enjoyed, and having read two other anthologies co-edited by Doug Murano, when I see his name on the cover, I know I can expect a well-edited and polished book. That brings me to a side-note: the more I grow as a reader and reviewer, the more I notice all of the factors that go into making a great book, and solid editing is one of them. I think Doug Murano and Michael Bailey did an excellent job with this one.
In keeping with my typical trend for anthologies/collections, I narrowed my favorite stories down to a Top 5 (listed here in the order with which they appear in the book):
-MATRYOSHKA by Joanna Parypinski: a haunting tale with a unique concept; I’d love to read more from this author.
-YOU ARE MY NEIGHBOR by Max Booth III: my first and definitely not my last read from this author. This was creeptastic and a bit heartbreaking at times.
-SPECTRAL EVIDENCE by Victor LaValle: Sorry to say this was my first read from this author; this was another haunting tale that pulled on the heartstrings. Adding more of his work to my list.
-MY KNOWING GLANCE by Lucy A. Snyder: I loved this story—the whole concept was great, and I just got a great vibe from Snyder’s writing style. I immediately went to my bookshelf after this, as I realized I have her short fiction collection, SOFT APOCALYPSES. I added it to my TBR cart and will likely read it this month.
-RESURRECTION POINTS by Usman T. Malik: another new-to-me author, and I’ll definitely seek out more of his work. This one was hauntingly heartbreaking as well (notice a trend here? Can’t help what I love).
I’d also like to give some honorable mentions to other favorites. These stories made it tough to narrow down my top 5:
-A HEART ARRYTHMIA CREEPING INTO A DARK ROOM by Michael Wehunt
–OPERATIONS OTHER THAN WAR by Nadia Bulkin
–IMPERFECT CLAY by Lisa Morton
–NOT ERADICATED IN YOU by Bracken MacLeod
–THE MAKING OF ASYLUM OPHELIA by Mercedes M. Yardley
This was overall a very solid collection of stories, and the only thing keeping me from a full 5-star review was honestly that there were 2 or 3 in the bunch that fell flat for me. I found myself skimming a couple of the stories, and did not finish one of them. I think it was just my personal lack of interest in the subject matter and style of those particular stories—it does not mean that they were poorly written.
I eagerly anticipate reading more from the new authors I’ve discovered through this anthology. Many of the names were familiar, but had I not picked up this book, it would’ve taken me much longer to get to their work. My shelves and book piles will continue to grow thanks to this mix of stories, and that warms this book lover’s heart.
Publisher: Written Backwards
Release Date: February 18, 2020