Our group voting had a clear winner for our September read: Unlocking the Past: How Archaeologists Are Rewriting Human History with Ancient DNA - Martin Jones but we've run into a sticky issue with sourcing this edition (which is apparently a new, expanded/updated edition of an older title). Most everyone who has shown interest in participating in the read is unable to find a copy to read.
So - I need group feedback. Do we:
1. Have a whole new vote?
2. Just replace this September read with the second place book? (Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees)
3. Just persevere with this book and those that can't source it sit out?
4. Other suggestions??
Group participation has been a bit thready as of late; summertime and busy lives, no doubt, but any ideas would be welcome.
I've got the Lonely Lonesome Blues...
War is here.
Full-scale war has erupted between the Crusaders and demons and even Chi has to admit isn’t going well. Like any sensible rat, Meda’s eager to abandon the sinking ship but, unfortunately, her friends aren't nearly as pragmatic. Instead, Meda’s forced to try to keep them all alive until the dust settles.
As the Crusaders take more and more drastic measures, the tables turn and Meda suddenly finds herself in the role of voice of sanity. No one is more horrified than she is. When old enemies reappear as new allies and old friends become new enemies Meda has to decide—again—whose side she’s really on.
And then the Crusaders decide that Meda should go to Hell. Literally.
Can’t a monster ever catch a break?
~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~
A completely spoiler free review for all three books in the series. I have a couple of questions for Eliza Crewe…
This series despite those typos is exceptional. It's not only darkly imaginative, it also has one of the best heroines ever. Meda's so unapologetically snarky, and she does so without making my eye's roll…which I've found, lately, can be difficult to do. The rest of the characters round out this ensemble quite nicely. And the interesting dynamics going on this edition of The Soul Eaters Series made this to be a splendid finale.
☆4.7☆STARS - GRADE=A
~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~
Main Characters~ 5/5
Secondary Characters~ 4.7/5
The Feels~ 4.5/5
Theme or Tone~ 5/5
Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5
Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.8/5
Ending~ 4.8/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.
Book Cover~ It's not quite as awesome as the first two covers in this series…but it'll do.
Series~ Soul Eaters #3 Overall Rating for the series☆ 5☆ Stars because it's so worthwhile.
Setting~ Maine and Hell
Source~ I own Kindle eBook
On top of having this super cool cover, within these pages I discovered some of the best short, dark fiction I've read in a long while! Let's talk about it, shall we?
When I was young and couldn't afford bookstores, I often went to the library. (I still do, actually, because I love them, not because I have to.) I developed a love of horror back then, but our library's collection consisted of about two shelves. Once I read those, I started reading all of their anthologies and collections, in the hopes of finding new authors. In this way, I discovered Richard Matheson, Steve Rasnic Tem, Dennis Etchison, Ray Bradbury and other writers that I still love to this day. DARKEST HOURS brought me back to that time of discovery-horror and dark fiction in all of its glorious, different forms. Reading this collection made me feel like a kid again.
This volume begins with the story HAIR. I knew right then that this book was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Coming unapologetically out of left field, Thorn hits you with this tale of unstoppable hair and then moves on to something out of right field, just to keep you off balance.
THE AUTEUR It's important to know who you're talking to when you ask for horror recommendations from people. You may find out a little too much about them otherwise, but by then it might be too late. Hair plays a role in this story too. (P.S. Always feel free to ask me for horror recs. You're safe with me. But employees from Verne's Video? Watch out for them!)
CHOO CHOO This story felt like it came out of one of those early collections that I loved so much. With an ending so unexpected that it felt like I got hit by a train, this tale made me laugh out loud with glee.
LONG MAN I never thought anything could compete against the Long Walker in my imagination. (Thank you to Nick Cutter's Little Heaven for that.) But now, now we have Long Man. He's even scarier-trust me on this.
ECONOMY THESE DAYS Here again is another story, completely different, completely unlike any other story here. How much physical abuse would you be willing to take to pay your bills? What would that abusive job look like? Of what would a promotion consist? This tale proposes answers to all of those things and oddly, I don't think it's that far out of the realm of possibility.
SABBATICAL If I hadn't felt the spirit of Stephen King in this story, the main character's names of Thad and Gage would've put me in mind of him anyway. I cannotdescribe this story, but it was just so much fun it made me want to do some kind of dance-the dance of my dark fiction people. The dance is delightful and it's only brought on by the best and most twisted of tales. This is one of them.
Stars will collapse and new lights will prick through the sky,
and screaming will not help.
SCHLUTER The most disturbing story I've ever read was written by Michael Blumlein who is a doctor. (Trust me when I say I have read some VERY disturbing stories.) I found it disturbing because in some universe it could happen. SCHLUTER has now taken THE MOST DISTURBING STORY EVER medal. What that medal would look like, I don't want to know, but Mike Thorn owns it. Take this one little harmless sentence for instance:
His mind screamed, but his sutured lips twitched noiselessly.
If that sentence doesn't bother you, okay then, to each his own. However, if that sentence makes you want to run out and buy this book, heed your feelings, man! You won't be disappointed.
There are a few themes that became apparent throughout this book, academia being the one that surprised me the most, but also: hair. I don't remember ever reading a collection where simple hair is used in such a menacing, disgusting, or just mentioned in passing but still in a creepy-as-hell- kind of way.
Okay then-to sum up: disturbing tales? Check! A wide-ranging variety of stories? Check!
Extremely well written? Check! It almost seems like this collection was written with me in mind-it was so perfect for me that I don't even know what else to say. Well, other than this: I think Mike Thorn is an author to watch. I think he's going to do great things in the world of horror and dark fiction, and I for one, will be there to watch it. Will you?
My highest recommendation. Period. Get a copy here: DARKEST HOURS
*I was provided an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*