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Macabre meetings, sinister excursions, and deadly relationships; uncanny encounters; a classic ghost story featuring an American god; a historical murderer revived in a frightening new iteration; innovative Lovecraftian turns; shadowy fairy tales and weird myths; strange children, the unexpected, the supernatural, the surreal, and the all-too real . . . tales of the dark. Macabre meetings, sinister excursions, and deadly relationships; uncanny encounters; a classic ghost story featuring an American god; a historical murderer revived in a frightening new iteration; innovative Lovecraftian turns; shadowy fairy tales and weird myths; strange children, the unexpected, the supernatural, the surreal, and the all-too real . . . tales of the dark. Such stories have always fascinated us, and modern authors carry on the disquieting traditions of the past while inventing imaginative new ways to unsettle us. Chosen from a wide variety of venues, these stories are as eclectic and varied as shadows. This volume of 2015 s best dark fantasy and horror offers more than five hundred pages of tales from some of today s finest writers of the fantastique sure to delight as well as disturb." Contents The Door • (2015) • by Kelley Armstrong Snow • (2015) • by Dale Bailey Seven Minutes in Heaven • (2015) • by Nadia Bulkin The Glad Hosts • (2015) • by Rebecca Campbell Hairwork • (2015) • by Gemma Files Black Dog (American Gods series) • (2015) • by Neil Gaiman A Shot of Salt Water • (2015) • by Lisa L. Hannett Cassandra • (2015) • by Ken Liu Street of the Dead House • (2015) • by Robert Lopresti The Deepwater Bride • (2015) • by Tamsyn Muir 1UP • (2015) • by Holly Black The Scavenger's Nursery • (2015) • by Maria Dahvana Headley Daniel's Theory About Dolls • (2015) • by Stephen Graham Jones The Cripple and Starfish • (2015) • by Caitlín R. Kiernan The Absence of Words • (2015) • by Swapna Kishore Corpsemouth • (2015) • by John Langan Mary, Mary • (2015) • by Kirstyn McDermott There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold • (2015) • by Seanan McGuire Below the Falls • (2015) • by Daniel Mills The Greyness • (2015) • by Kathryn Ptacek The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill • (2015) • by Kelly Robson Those • (2015) • by Sofia Samatar Fabulous Beasts • (2015) • by Priya Sharma Windows Underwater • (2015) • by John Shirley Ripper • (2015) • by Angela Slatter The Lily and the Horn • (2015) • by Catherynne M. Valente Sing Me Your Scars • (2015) • by Damien Angelica Walters The Body Finder • (2015) • by Kaaron Warren The Devil Under the Maison Blue • (2015) • by Michael Wehunt Kaiju maximus®: "So Various, So Beautiful, So New" • (2015) • by Kai Ashante Wilson


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Macabre meetings, sinister excursions, and deadly relationships; uncanny encounters; a classic ghost story featuring an American god; a historical murderer revived in a frightening new iteration; innovative Lovecraftian turns; shadowy fairy tales and weird myths; strange children, the unexpected, the supernatural, the surreal, and the all-too real . . . tales of the dark. Macabre meetings, sinister excursions, and deadly relationships; uncanny encounters; a classic ghost story featuring an American god; a historical murderer revived in a frightening new iteration; innovative Lovecraftian turns; shadowy fairy tales and weird myths; strange children, the unexpected, the supernatural, the surreal, and the all-too real . . . tales of the dark. Such stories have always fascinated us, and modern authors carry on the disquieting traditions of the past while inventing imaginative new ways to unsettle us. Chosen from a wide variety of venues, these stories are as eclectic and varied as shadows. This volume of 2015 s best dark fantasy and horror offers more than five hundred pages of tales from some of today s finest writers of the fantastique sure to delight as well as disturb." Contents The Door • (2015) • by Kelley Armstrong Snow • (2015) • by Dale Bailey Seven Minutes in Heaven • (2015) • by Nadia Bulkin The Glad Hosts • (2015) • by Rebecca Campbell Hairwork • (2015) • by Gemma Files Black Dog (American Gods series) • (2015) • by Neil Gaiman A Shot of Salt Water • (2015) • by Lisa L. Hannett Cassandra • (2015) • by Ken Liu Street of the Dead House • (2015) • by Robert Lopresti The Deepwater Bride • (2015) • by Tamsyn Muir 1UP • (2015) • by Holly Black The Scavenger's Nursery • (2015) • by Maria Dahvana Headley Daniel's Theory About Dolls • (2015) • by Stephen Graham Jones The Cripple and Starfish • (2015) • by Caitlín R. Kiernan The Absence of Words • (2015) • by Swapna Kishore Corpsemouth • (2015) • by John Langan Mary, Mary • (2015) • by Kirstyn McDermott There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold • (2015) • by Seanan McGuire Below the Falls • (2015) • by Daniel Mills The Greyness • (2015) • by Kathryn Ptacek The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill • (2015) • by Kelly Robson Those • (2015) • by Sofia Samatar Fabulous Beasts • (2015) • by Priya Sharma Windows Underwater • (2015) • by John Shirley Ripper • (2015) • by Angela Slatter The Lily and the Horn • (2015) • by Catherynne M. Valente Sing Me Your Scars • (2015) • by Damien Angelica Walters The Body Finder • (2015) • by Kaaron Warren The Devil Under the Maison Blue • (2015) • by Michael Wehunt Kaiju maximus®: "So Various, So Beautiful, So New" • (2015) • by Kai Ashante Wilson

30 review for The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2016

  1. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    **** “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Sing Me Your Scars, Apex) Available for free online: http://www.apex-magazine.com/sing-me-... A disturbing but ultimately empowering tale of a mad doctor and his amalgamate creation. I've read a lot of stories inspired by 'Frankenstein,' but this one brings a fresh twist to the genre - although it abandons the ethics-of-scientific-research concern for more of a serial killer/victim theme. Walters is a new author to me, but after reading this, I **** “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Sing Me Your Scars, Apex) Available for free online: http://www.apex-magazine.com/sing-me-... A disturbing but ultimately empowering tale of a mad doctor and his amalgamate creation. I've read a lot of stories inspired by 'Frankenstein,' but this one brings a fresh twist to the genre - although it abandons the ethics-of-scientific-research concern for more of a serial killer/victim theme. Walters is a new author to me, but after reading this, I'll have my eye out for more by her. **** “There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire, Tor) Read previously. "Hobbyists might have many reasons for crafting their dolls. However, it's fairly certain that you won't have guessed at the one this narrator has. I loved the supernatural background here, was slightly less enthused by the domestic violence/office aspects of the plot. (view spoiler)I am so, so glad that years ago, when my beloved vinyl collection was stolen and sold to a local store, that the employees at the store were ever so much nicer to me about it than what the protagonist here experiences! Overall, a very good story. Loved the Pinocchio tie-in!" *** “The Scavenger’s Nursery” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Shimmer # 24) An environmental allegory - and a cautionary tale. In a strange reversal of the extinction's we've been causing worldwide, humanity's garbage and trash heaps start spawning new monsters - literally. **** “Black Dog” by Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning, William Morrow) Previously read. "This story features one of the characters from ‘American Gods,’ but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone – and actually, I liked it better than the novel. Shadow Moon is an American travelling through rural Britain. We know he’s suffering after the death of his wife, but other than that small tidbit of information, he’s laconic and keeps details about himself close to his chest. He’s planning on just passing through one seemingly unremarkable small town, when a medical emergency keeps him in the home of the couple who run the local pub. Soon, he’s drawn into an ominous tangle of depression, old secrets and ancient magic." **** “1Up” by Holly Black (Press Start to Play, Vintage) Really good YA story, interrogating the debate over whether online friendships are "real" friendships. When a funeral is announced, three teens go on a road trip to pay their respects in person to the online gaming friend whom they'd never met IRL. When they get there, it's more than a bit uncomfortable to be around his family, who are, of course, total strangers. But something about the situation seems even weirder than expected... and clues to a mystery have been left in a video game. The concatenation of events is totally far-fetched, but it's a fun, engaging - and very relatable story. **** “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” by Kelly Robson (Clarkesworld # 101) Previously read at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/robso... "A young woman is kidnapped by a stranger, and what happens is the worst - but typical - thing that you might imagine would happen when a girl is stolen by a strange man. Jessica comes to, alone in the woods, disoriented, and with a strange voice speaking to her from within, telling her it is trying to repair her body. Jessica realizes that she actually died, but has now been infected or colonized by an alien organism which is in symbiosis with her. What Jessica eventually decides to do is certainly not what I would decide to do, but considering the duress that the character has been under, it's hard to say that it's not a decision the character could believably have made. A strong and thought-provoking story." ** “Windows Underwater” by John Shirley (Innsmouth Nightmares, PS Publishing) There have been a lot of Lovecraft tributes published lately. This is one of the sillier efforts in that direction that I've encountered. We follow two Massachusetts men through their lives, from the present day into the future. When we meet them as teens, one has ambitions to get out of his stifling small town. The other (who has a tell-tale affinity for fish) is quite happy where he is. *** “Ripper” by Angela Slatter (Horrorology, Quercus) Slatter is one of my favorite contemporary authors, but this is in a bit of a different vein than the mythic/fairytale-and-folklore-inspired stories I'm more used to from her. As the title suggests, this is a Jack the Ripper story. In this version of the perennial mystery, a woman disguised as a man in order to work as an investigator crosses paths with the bloody serial killer. And a chance-met stranger lets her know that there may be a supernatural/occult thread running through these terrible crimes. Technically, this is a novella, but the format and pacing make it feel like a novel; a few years back it would've been published on its own as a short novel, I'm sure. This a a well-crafted tale with strong characterization, but the theme isn't one I have a particular affinity for. I'd definitely recommend this to fans of Marshall Ryan Maresca's 'Maradaine Constabulary' series - the main character reminded me a lot of his Satrine Rainey. **** “Seven Minutes in Heaven” by Nadia Bulkin (Aickman’s Heirs, Undertow) Our narrator seems like she's had a fairly normal girlhood... playing games, spending time with family, going to church... and, when she gets a bit older, hanging out with friends, and daring each other to do things that are a little bit scary... like going to the "ghost town" a few miles down the road. But at that ghost town, the scene of a terrible industrial accident, she discovers that her town is hiding secrets. And when she goes off to college, she learns that her girlhood wasn't as normal as she thought it was. Really enjoyed this one - Bulkin is a writer who's going onto my radar. **** “Those” by Sofia Samatar (Uncanny #3) I wouldn't really classify this piece as fantasy or horror, but it was a good piece of writing. Reminiscent of a more-poetic Joseph Conrad or Rudyard Kipling, the story explores the character of a young mixed-race woman against the background of the colonial Belgian Congo. I enjoyed the nuance and complexity of the writing, but wished for more of a traditional plot structure: the ending felt inconclusive to me. **** “The Body Finder” by Kaaron Warren (Blurring the Line, Cohesion) After his daughter is brutally murdered, a father is consumed not just by the desire for revenge, but by the need to find her body and give her death a kind of closure. Armed with a mysterious device that enables him to discover bodies, and accompanied by a former serial killer, he pursues his quest... **** “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsyn Muir (F&SF Jul-Aug) Previously read (in a couple of different 'best-of' anthologies - this was a well-appreciated one, this year!) There’s been quite a bit of work coming out lately with Lovecraftian influences updated for a modern setting. For example, Daryl Gregory’s ‘Harrison Squared.’ I think that this story would definitely share an audience with that one. Hester has never been one of the ‘cool’ girls – she’s always been a bit peculiar, and it shows, even though the kids at school might not know that she’s part of an ancient family of seers and chroniclers, and that he life’s destiny is to document the coming of a leviathan horror which will lay waste to the land (including demolishing WalMart.) But when Hester meets a girl named Rainbow who’s a disturbing but alluring combination of trendy and sociopathic – and who may be doomed in the coming upheaval – her objective standpoint as observer and documentarian may change. **** “Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma (Tor.com) No, this is NOT a Harry Potter tie-in! The exotic Eliza and her stunning partner Georgia are now the toast of the high-society art world. But in Eliza's past - before she was 'Eliza' - are disturbing secrets. We follow her back to when she was just Tallulah, a little girl with a single mom, living in poverty - and discovering some very strange abilities that may slither through her family's DNA. It's lucky for her that she has her beloved cousin Lola to support her. But will that support be enough, when their uncle Kenny is finally released from jail, and things start to go from bad to horror-movie-level-worse? **** “Below the Falls” by Daniel Mills (Nightscript 1, Chthonic Matter) An intentional homage to old-fashioned ghost stories; bringing to mind (for me, at least) the tales of M.R. James. A framing device informs the reader that this tale is the diary of a young woman, found in her asylum cell after her untimely death. In its anguished pages we find a story of a cruel husband, secret sin, and an illicit child. And of course, the implication of a sad and grisly haunting. **** “The Cripple and Starfish” by Caítlin R. Kiernan (Sirenia Digest #108) I'm a fan of Kiernan's, and although this scene featuring a vampire gathering at a ruined hotel is more of a vignette than a story, I loved it. I came away from it wanting to know more about all the characters. I'd happily read a novel - or further stories - featuring all or any of them. (Not an impossibility, considering that Kiernan often works with recurring characters.) I'm not quite sure how the title relates to the story... or possibly to the song of the same name? But I don't think that matters so much. ** "The Door” by Kelley Armstrong (Led Astray, Tachyon) If Ray Bradbury had written this story, it would've been devastating. But it wasn't written by Bradbury. I wish it had been - the idea seems like one he would've loved. Sadly, I just don't care for Armstrong's writing at all. A little girl has always been told not to open the door. At first, this seems like the very normal sort of stricture that most parents place upon their young children. But gradually, we realize that this family is not in a normal situation, and that there's a reason for the rule. *** “Daniel’s Theory About Dolls” by Stephen Graham Jones (The Doll Collection, Tor) Previously read. "Weird, weird fiction. The narrator tells us there's always been something... off... about his younger brother. And then he tells us about how his family handled the miscarriage of a much-anticipated infant, and how that incident scarred them all. And then things just keep getting stranger..." **** “Kaiju maximus®: “So various, So Beautiful, So New” by Kai Ashante Wilson (Fantasy #59) Previously read. ""Kaiju," of course, refers to the Japanese film genre featuring battles between giant monsters. (I used to work at a club where the band "Kaiju Big Battel" played frequently, so I can't see the word without thinking of their shows...) Here we meet a family, one of whom is a Hero, travelling out of humanity's safe dwelling caves to do battle against a destructive alien monster. The story is intercut with a couple of different kinds of texts. Some are notes from a geneticist, talking about the project to change some humans into "heroes" in order to fight the alien menace. The others are like video game strategy notes, talking about how much XP and power a character can get from their companions. The story seems to have been inspired by the idea of "lending strength" to someone, and how one might "take strength" from their family bonds - here the idea is taken quite literally. I liked the story, and thought it got quite a lot of complex and fascinating ideas into a short amount of space. However, I wished that the main narrative had been clear enough to dispense with the need for the 'genetics notes,' and I also thought that the 'video game notes' weakened the story rather than strengthening it. " *** “Hairwork” by Gemma Files (She Walks in Shadows, Innsmouth Free Press) A long-lived witch uses sorcery to curse and destroy anyone even slightly associated by blood with those who enslaved her and her family in the antebellum South. The Lovecraft reference seemed unnecessarily jammed in to the story. OK, but not particularly memorable. ***** “The Glad Hosts” by Rebecca Campbell (Lackington’s #7) Great science fiction story, showing the perspective of a settler on an alien planet who's been infected by a little-known parasite endemic to her new home. Those around her are horrified and fearful, but biological imperatives assure that she cannot feel what they do. She can only feel... love. If I'd read this on time, it would've been a contender for my Hugo nominees list. **** “The Absence of Words” by Swapna Kishore (Mythic Delirium #1.3) A family relationships story - with a weird twist. It's time to decide what to do with grandma. She's getting up there in age, needs assistance - and oh yes, hasn't spoken for the last fifteen years. But not only that - when her daughter or granddaughter approaches her, they can't speak either. It's like the elderly woman is encased in a slowly-increasing sound-dampening field. Of course, the situation is used as a metaphor for interpersonal conflicts and grudges - but it's written very well. I hope to read more by this author. ** “Mary, Mary” by Kirstyn McDermott (Cranky Ladies of History, Fablecroft) I did NOT like it. I suppose I'll add a star because I appreciate the selection of topic, and the writing was fine, but the treatment of the subject annoyed me to no end. The story is basically a summary biography of Mary Wollstonecraft, with a fantastical conceit that Wollstonecraft was followed and 'advised' throughout her life by a ghostly Grey Lady. The basic plot points match the facts of Wollstonecraft's life, but unfortunately the story makes her out to be a petty, jealous, easily led and duped individual, and rather weak into the bargain. I don't think that the facts indicate that she really was anything of the sort, and I don't really understand why the author would choose to portray her in that light. **** “Cassandra” by Ken Liu (Clarkesworld # 102) I think it's a first! This a a superhero story - featuring Superman, no less! - that I actually really, really liked! I'm generally just not a fan of the genre - but this is Ken Liu, so I shouldn't be surprised. This is from the perspective of a mass (AND serial-) murdering super villain. Superman has been doing his best to thwart her killings, but so far she's managed to elude 'justice.' And here, we get to hear her side of the story - her origin tale, if you will. She has a reason for what she's been doing, and it's not malice. Liu gives a thoughtful exploration of ethical principles a real emotional kick. ***** “A Shot of Salt Water” by Lisa L. Hannett (The Dark #8) This is everything a mermaid story ought to be: beautiful, disturbing, heartbreaking. An isolated fishing community depends on the young women who 'man' the ships and bring back the catch. They also, sometimes, bring back babies - and no one talks about where they come from. But when Billy's girl brings back a baby, ten months after he last saw her, he just can't bring himself to act like it's really his child... Hannett is a new author to me, and one I'll be keeping an eye out for. *** “Street of the Dead House” by Robert Lopresti (nEvermore, EDGE) A retelling of Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue," told from the point of view of the ape. The end result (due to the extra explanatory material added by this author) feels rather similar to Daniel Keyes' 'Flowers for Algernon.' *** “The Greyness” by Kathryn Ptacek (Expiration Date, EDGE) After her husband's untimely death, a woman is understandably half-mad with grief. But soon she realizes that something odd is happening. When she shakes people's hands (as one is wont to do at a funeral), she is having strange visions. And people are starting to die. Is she simply viewing - or causing - these tragedies? What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? Whatever your answer, I'm betting it's probably not quite the same as this character's reaction. *** “The Devil Under the Maison Blue” by Michael Wehunt (The Dark #10) A neighbor's ghost, and the story he tells, helps a girl make a decision about what to do about the abuse she's suffering at the hands of her own father. *****“The Lily and the Horn” by Catherynne M. Valente (Fantasy #59) Previously read. "In a fairytale-like future, wars were eschewed as pointless, wasteful exercises of violence. Battlefields merely resulted in mass death - why not instead settle conflicts by a contest of poison? Thus began the tradition of wars fought at a dinner table. Of course, human nature being what it is, it wasn't long before these toxic dinners no longer involved merely two rival leaders. Soon, the leaders sent proxies in their stead. Then, many proxies. So - mass death of the innocent is still bound to occur, but some things have changed. Since poison has always been the traditional realm of women, he now have schools where some women train to be well versed in the uses of exotic poisons - and others who become experts in ways of combating poison's effects and knowing the antidotes. In this world, Valente tells us a tragic love story. March 2016: Nominated for Hugo. Lush and lyrical language encases fascinating and well-developed ideas - and a plot which is moving and lovely in itself. Loved it. **** “Snow” by Dale Bailey (Nightmare, June 2015) You know the scenario: a small party, snowed in and isolated during what looks to be a global pandemic. But a serious injury sparks a desperate mission to find medical supplies, and things go from bad to worse. Tense and tightly plotted. ***** “Corpsemouth” by John Langan (The Monstrous, Tachyon) This was one of my Hugo nominees, and although it wasn't a finalist, I'm glad to see it getting some well-deserved recognition! "After the death of his father, a young man goes to Scotland to reconnect with his extended family, and to face, inside himself, some of his guilts and resentments. However, that isn't all he'll end up facing. This story meshes contemporary concerns with ancient legends and mysteries of Britain in a tale slightly reminiscent of Alan Garner. Loved it. " Many thanks to Prime Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this very strong collection. As always, the source of the book has no bearing on my opinions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    A brilliantly engaging and diverse collection of stories. As with any compilation, there were a few that appealed to me not at all, while others scared me silly. Whatever your horror or fantasy taste, I think there will be something in here to appeal. There were additions from some big names: 'Black Dog' by Neil Gaiman brought a welcome return of Shadow from American Gods. As well as some from names which I had never read before (though I'm pretty sure others haven't been so tardy) like Damien A A brilliantly engaging and diverse collection of stories. As with any compilation, there were a few that appealed to me not at all, while others scared me silly. Whatever your horror or fantasy taste, I think there will be something in here to appeal. There were additions from some big names: 'Black Dog' by Neil Gaiman brought a welcome return of Shadow from American Gods. As well as some from names which I had never read before (though I'm pretty sure others haven't been so tardy) like Damien Angelica Walters whose 'Sing Me Your Scars' about a Frankensteinesque doctor and his 'monster' was disturbing enough to play on my mind for days afterwards. My absolute favourite was a Jack the Ripper story (called 'Ripper') by Angela Slatter, thanks to Kit, a woman who spends her days as a male copper investigating the murders in Whitechapel. Wonderfully weird, clever, and different. For me, an excellent way to get to know the names and styles of writers within these genres that I hadn't met or read before. >>For those on Netgalley who are interested, this is in READ NOW. Many thanks to Paula Guran, Diamond Books Distributors, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marjolein

    Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com While I think this was a strong anthology which contained some really good short stories, there were also some stories that disappointed. I always find it difficult to rate an anthology, especially when the quality, or at least my enjoyment of the stories, differed quite a lot. I finished this one some time ago, but because of the above mentioned reason I've put off the actual writing of the review. It would seem that many of the storie Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com While I think this was a strong anthology which contained some really good short stories, there were also some stories that disappointed. I always find it difficult to rate an anthology, especially when the quality, or at least my enjoyment of the stories, differed quite a lot. I finished this one some time ago, but because of the above mentioned reason I've put off the actual writing of the review. It would seem that many of the stories, while entertaining at the time of reading have already slipped my mind, being not very memorable. Two stories however, stand out until today. One features dolls (this is said to be a horror collection after all) and the other Jack the Ripper. The Dolls aside, do not expect just plain old horror stories. Many of them are more subtle and I indeed think that the term Dark Fantasy suits best. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    I read this as part of the workshop I'm attending in April, and one of the rules is that we're to read the books for enjoyment--not analyzing or looking at them like a writer. I originally decided that meant I wouldn't review the books at all, but I changed my mind last night. I did my best to follow instructions, but I don't think it means I can't look back on it and think about what I liked, or didn't like. This is what it says on the tin--the best short fiction of the year in the dark fantasy I read this as part of the workshop I'm attending in April, and one of the rules is that we're to read the books for enjoyment--not analyzing or looking at them like a writer. I originally decided that meant I wouldn't review the books at all, but I changed my mind last night. I did my best to follow instructions, but I don't think it means I can't look back on it and think about what I liked, or didn't like. This is what it says on the tin--the best short fiction of the year in the dark fantasy and horror genre. I liked most all of these stories, and found a much smaller percentage fell into the "this sucks" category almost every anthology has for me. My favorite was definitely Ken Liu's "Cassandra," which has the kind of ambiguity I love: is she, or isn't she, a supervillain? Who's really in the right? Bonus points for the long, long list of recommended reading, titles that were great but didn't make the cut. It's made me think seriously about going out to find others in this series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jaffa Kintigh

    Paula Guran [editor] and Prime Books here release another solid anthology in their annual collection of the best dark short fiction. One novella rounds out the short stories covering the horror to thriller to dark fantasy spectrum. My favorite's, all earning 5 out of 5 stars, were: --Angela Slatter's novella, Ripper , an imaginative supernatural retelling of the unsolved Jack the Ripper tale that brings to light gender inequities and how that may have compromised the investigation. --Dale Bailey Paula Guran [editor] and Prime Books here release another solid anthology in their annual collection of the best dark short fiction. One novella rounds out the short stories covering the horror to thriller to dark fantasy spectrum. My favorite's, all earning 5 out of 5 stars, were: --Angela Slatter's novella, Ripper , an imaginative supernatural retelling of the unsolved Jack the Ripper tale that brings to light gender inequities and how that may have compromised the investigation. --Dale Bailey's short horror tale, "Snow". A small party of friends survives the opening days of an apocalyptic pandemic only to find themselves ill-prepared to face their inner fears and loss of humanity. --Priya Sharma's disturbing modern creature fantasy, "Fabulous Beasts", which shows a family of transmorphic snake people and their unsettling history of incest, rape, abuse, and survival. I reviewed every tale included in the anthology. Also included are: Armstrong, Kelley--"The Door"--4 stars Black, Holly--"1Up"--4 stars Jones, Stephen Graham--"Daniel's Theory About Dolls"--4 stars Kiernan, Caitlin R.--"The Cripple and Starfish"--4 stars Kishore, Swapna--"The Absence of Words"--4 stars Lopresti, Robert--"Street of the Dead House"--4 stars McGuire, Seanan--"There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold"--4 stars Mills, Daniel--"Below the Falls"--4 stars Muir, Tamsyn--"The Deepwater Bride"--4 stars Walters, Damien Angelica--"Sing Me Your Scars"--4 stars Wehunt, Michael--"The Devil Under the Maison Blue"--4 stars Campbell, Rebecca--"The Glad Hosts"--3 stars Files, Gemma--"Hairwork"--3 stars Gaiman, Neil--"Black Dog"--3 stars Liu, Ken--"Cassandra"--3 stars Shirley, John--"Windows Underwater"--3 stars Valente, Catherynne M.--"The Lily and the Horn"--3 stars Wilson, Kai Ashante--"Kaiju maximus: 'So Various, So Beautiful, So New'"--3 stars Bulkin, Nadia--"Seven Minutes in Heaven"--2 stars Hannett, Lisa L.--"A Shot of Salt Water"--2 stars Langan, John--"Corpsemouth"--2 stars McDermott, Kirstyn--"Mary, Mary"--2 stars Ptacek, Kathryn--"The Greyness"--2 stars Robson, Kelly--"The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill"--2 stars Samatar, Sofia--"Those"--2 stars Warren, Kaaron--"The Body Finder"--2 stars Headley, Maria Dahvana--"The Scavenger's Nursery"--1 star I received this anthology directly from Prime Books. I've previously read The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 and The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015 .

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan

    “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Sing Me Your Scars, Apex) Some Frankenstein inspiration. Not bad, but not so great either. ** "There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire, Tor Meh. “The Scavenger’s Nursery” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Shimmer # 24) A very fresh and interesting environmental allegory.***** “Black Dog” by Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning, William Morrow) Meehh, no, surprisingly it didn`t spark my interest! “1Up” by Holly Black (Press Start to P “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Sing Me Your Scars, Apex) Some Frankenstein inspiration. Not bad, but not so great either. ** "There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire, Tor Meh. “The Scavenger’s Nursery” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Shimmer # 24) A very fresh and interesting environmental allegory.***** “Black Dog” by Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning, William Morrow) Meehh, no, surprisingly it didn`t spark my interest! “1Up” by Holly Black (Press Start to Play, Vintage) Interesting virtual, cyber, It rooted story. *** “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” by Kelly Robson (Clarkesworld # 101) An interesting read about a young girl that has a lot to suffer from other humans and even alien life forms.**** “Windows Underwater” by John Shirley (Innsmouth Nightmares, PS Publishing) For me one of the higlights of this Anthology. A story with deep roots in Dagon`s Mythos from the Lovecraft portofolio. **** “Ripper” by Angela Slatter (Horrorology, Quercus) WTF Man! by far the longest story in the Anthology. And kinda of a reinterpretation of the Jack the Ripper Mystery. WTF again! WHo needs this kind of story here?! "minus" * “Seven Minutes in Heaven” by Nadia Bulkin (Aickman’s Heirs, Undertow) Meh. Ok, but nothing so scary here. ** “Those” by Sofia Samatar (Uncanny #3) A text with deep roots in the Belgian Congo. Very good storytelling and ideea. **** “The Glad Hosts” by Rebecca Campbell (Lackington’s #7) Definitely the best story here. It`s about the infectation with a parasyte of a human colonizer on an alien planet. ***** “Cassandra” by Ken Liu (Clarkesworld # 102) Another best one, about the points of view of a supervillain who tries to find his true vocation. **** “A Shot of Salt Water” by Lisa L. Hannett (The Dark #8) An ok story... With mermaids in sight.** “Street of the Dead House” by Robert Lopresti (nEvermore, EDGE) An ape tells his murderous story. Decent one. *** “The Greyness” by Kathryn Ptacek (Expiration Date, EDGE) A woman gets a powerfull knack, to see the time of death of the person with wich is shaking hands.*** “Snow” by Dale Bailey (Nightmare, June 2015) A horror text with an alienesque and apocalyptic atmosphere. *** Despite the handfull of story that I didn`t connect with, there are some that I didn`t mention at all (what`s the point?!) this Anthology has some good highlights. It definitely could be better, but still a more satisfying read than other similar Anthologies.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bunny

    Received via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. Urgh. The one thing I will say about the short stories in this collection is they are unexpected. There's a lot of horror tropes, Frankenstein-esque monsters, aliens, demons, dolls, serial killers. All things you kind of come to expect when discussing horror stories. And a lot of these short stories revisit those themes. But just because you're familiar with the theme doesn't mean you know what you're about to get with the stories Received via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. Urgh. The one thing I will say about the short stories in this collection is they are unexpected. There's a lot of horror tropes, Frankenstein-esque monsters, aliens, demons, dolls, serial killers. All things you kind of come to expect when discussing horror stories. And a lot of these short stories revisit those themes. But just because you're familiar with the theme doesn't mean you know what you're about to get with the stories. Oh, yeah, just another Frankenstein monster. Nope. It's Frankenstein with an entirely new twist that I didn't see coming at all, and loved so hard. Jack the Ripper, from the perspective of a very different kind of police officer. Alien invasion starting with a girl who is attacked by a serial killer. Mermaids. Dolls. Creepy water demon god (don't ask me to explain that one, but the ending is fantastic). Sadly, not all of these stories are attention grabbing. I started this well before the publish date, but it's taken nearly a month to slog through the stories that just weren't interesting, period. Thankfully, there are more than enough stories to catch your interest, and make you want to read more by the authors. But truth be told, don't pick this up expecting horror. There was only one story that truly gave me the heebie jeebies, another story about dolls, and a sincerely creepy little brother. It took a very strange twist at the end, though. I give it three stars, and the stories that got the book to three stars REALLY earned their stars. The Jack the Ripper story alone deserved five stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anusha Narasimhan

    It is always great to read an anthology of stories belonging to a specific genre. These stories were interesting, different and truly one of the best I've read so far. Note - I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review in any way. It is always great to read an anthology of stories belonging to a specific genre. These stories were interesting, different and truly one of the best I've read so far. Note - I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review in any way.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brad Hodges

    The 2016 volume of The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror is a strong one, as almost all the stories have some value. The first half-dozen or so are extremely good, starting off with "Sing Me Your Scars," by Damien Angelica Walters, which is kind of a riff on Frankenstein, as a mad scientist stitches together a perfect woman. That's followed by "There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom," a very eerie story about a woman who cares more about her doll collection than anything else, with pretty g The 2016 volume of The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror is a strong one, as almost all the stories have some value. The first half-dozen or so are extremely good, starting off with "Sing Me Your Scars," by Damien Angelica Walters, which is kind of a riff on Frankenstein, as a mad scientist stitches together a perfect woman. That's followed by "There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom," a very eerie story about a woman who cares more about her doll collection than anything else, with pretty good reason, it turns out. There are a couple of Lovecraftian stories. "Windows Underwater," by John Shirley, alludes to the human/fish hybrids, while a drolly funny "The Deepwater Bride," by Tamsyn Muir, sees Lovecraft's gods among suburban teenagers. It kicks off, "In the time of our crawling Night Lord’s ascendancy, foretold by exodus of starlight into his sucking astral wounds, I turned sixteen and received Barbie’s Dream Car." There are some mystery homages, too. "The Street of the Dead House," by Robert Lopresti, is "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" from the orangutan's perspective, and my favorite story in the collection is "Ripper," which is really a novella, which creates a character involved in the Jack the Ripper case. I'm a sucker for anything to do with Saucy Jack, and the author, Angela Slatter, is creative by making the character a woman disguising herself as a man to be a policeman. If I were a director I'd want to make it into a film. Other good stories are "1Up," by Holly Black, which is about old-fashioned computer games, you know the ones you typed in a response and the computer gave you options? "The Greyness," by Kathryn Ptacek, is about Mary Wollstonecraft, and a mysterious woman in gray who watches over her, and the last story, "Corpsemouth," by John Langan, about a Scottish legend. There are a few clinkers. Kaiju maximus® 'So Various, So Beautiful, So New'" by Kai Ashante Wilson, has a complicated title and I couldn't make heads or tails of it so I had to quit it. "The Lily and the Horn" is a fantasy that is so steeped in cliches, like unicorns, that I could only roll my eyes at it. Here's an example:"The ladies will bring the peacock soup, laced with belladonna and serpent’s milk, and the men...of Mithridatium, of the country of Yew, will stir it with spoons carved from the bones of a white stag," Not for me. But overall this book bats about ,800, a good showing, and credit to editor Paula Guran.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Larry McCloskey

    The strength of this particular collection is in its diversity. There are stories of true horror ("Black Dog", "Corpsemouth"), dark fantasy ("The Lily and the Horn"), and post-apocalyptic visions ("The Scavenger's Nursery", "Snow") all told from varying perspectives and to differing effect. Even the true "horror" tales range from stories of vampires to zombies to possessions and beyond. Most collections will have a few standouts and a few stories that probably should have been cut - and the bread The strength of this particular collection is in its diversity. There are stories of true horror ("Black Dog", "Corpsemouth"), dark fantasy ("The Lily and the Horn"), and post-apocalyptic visions ("The Scavenger's Nursery", "Snow") all told from varying perspectives and to differing effect. Even the true "horror" tales range from stories of vampires to zombies to possessions and beyond. Most collections will have a few standouts and a few stories that probably should have been cut - and the breadth of material in this collection all but guaranteed that would be the case. But there seemed to be a lot of chaff here and not much wheat. There also seemed to be a strange sort of sameness running through many of the stories, which may be a function of a strong editor with her own vision, but it weakens the whole by taking such a disparate collection of storytellers and forcing the reader to view them through a surprisingly similar lens. To be sure, there are some good stories here and some authors worth checking out. Damien Angelica Walters' "Sing Me Your Scars" is artfully crafted, Neil Gaiman's "Black Dog" and John Langan's "Corpsemouth" were truly great, Holly Black's "1Up" was a refreshingly new spin on the old suspense story, and the only issue I had with Dale Bailey's "Snow" was that it was too short. But many of the others felt flat - or at least fell short of something one would expect to find in "The Year's Best...".

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters The collection opens with this Frankenstein-inspired story wherein each of the creature's parts retain the memories of their original owners and fight to retain what life they have left. A strange tale, but I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars “There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire A convoluted tale of woman who literally pours her soul into dolls she makes. Not to my taste. 2.5 stars “The Scavenger’s Nursery” by Maria Dahvana “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters The collection opens with this Frankenstein-inspired story wherein each of the creature's parts retain the memories of their original owners and fight to retain what life they have left. A strange tale, but I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars “There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire A convoluted tale of woman who literally pours her soul into dolls she makes. Not to my taste. 2.5 stars “The Scavenger’s Nursery” by Maria Dahvana Headley Garbage evolves into sentient life and takes vengeance on humans for wrecking the planet. One of the worst stories in the collection. 1 star. “Black Dog” by Neil Gaiman Set in the same world as American Gods. Very well-told, but not a favorite of mine. 3.5 stars “1Up” by Holly Black Three kids try to figure out the mystery of a friend’s death via clues he left in a video game. Gimmicky and dull. 2 stars “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” by Kelly Robson A fatally-wounded girl is healed by an alien life form, but begins to doubt their intentions. Not bad, but it was another story that just wasn’t to my taste. 2.5 stars “Windows Underwater” by John Shirley This is the note I made after reading this story: “Let's save the world by breeding a new race via tentacle sex!” Exactly as bad as it sounds. 1 star “Ripper” by Angela Slatter I almost skipped this story because I’ve about had my fill of Jack the Ripper tales; I am so glad I didn’t because it turned out to be one of the best stories in the collection. A young woman in need of money disguises herself as a man and takes a job as a constable and her unique viewpoint helps her in the search for the notorious killer. The supernatural subplot is kind of weak, but it is in all other respects a splendid story. 4.5 stars “Seven Minutes in Heaven” by Nadia Bulkin A disaster wipes out an entire town, but the neighboring town is seemingly untouched. This one didn’t make much of an impression on me and I had to struggle to remember that much of the plot. 1.5 stars “Those” by Sofia Samatar A tale of European colonialism in Africa. Another one that made very little impression. 1 star “The Body Finder” by Kaaron Warren A man whose daughter was murder dedicates his life to finding bodies using some ill-explained device. Dull. 1.5 stars “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsyn Muir This is my favorite story of the collection. For generations the Blake family has chronicled the signs and portents of Lovecraftian monsters and young Hester Blake is living with her aunt in order to learn the family business. Muir writes Hester as an engaging mix of misfit-who-wants-to-rebel and misfit-who-wants-to-belong and manages to adroitly tread that thin sliver of ground where horror and comedy can overlap. 5 stars “Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma A family drama in which the family happens to be shape-shifting snakes. Sounds odd, but was actually very good. 4 stars “Below the Falls” by Daniel Mills A lame Victorian-style ghost story. 1 star “The Cripple and Starfish” by Caítlin R. Kiernan I continue to be amazed that people think Kiernan has talent. 0 stars “The Door” by Kelley Armstrong Post-apocalyptic story of parents trying to make a normal life for their children. 3 stars “Daniel’s Theory About Dolls” by Stephen Graham Jones Awful. 0 stars “Kaiju maximus®: So various, So Beautiful, So New” by Kai Ashante Wilson This one focuses on the family of a hero fighting giant monsters and how they survive and lend her strength for her battles. It would have been better without the video game-style notes. 3.5 stars “Hairwork” by Gemma Files A lame vengeance tale. 1.5 stars “The Glad Hosts” by Rebecca Campbell A woman infected by a long-incubating alien parasite that radically alters her personality. It’s killing her, but it also might be making her a better person. 4 stars “The Absence of Words” by Swapna Kishore A family has to figure out what to do with grandma, who is suddenly surrounded by sound-dampening field. Dull. 2 stars “Mary, Mary” by Kirstyn McDermott A supernatural entity follows Mary Wollstonecraft through her life. I don’t see the point of this one. 1 star “Cassandra” by Ken Liu An excellent Superman story told from the villain’s point of view. The narrator is a psychic who sees crimes before they happen. When the local superhero tells her he won’t interfere with people before they have committed crimes, she takes matters into her own hands, thus becoming a “villain.” 5 stars “A Shot of Salt Water” by Lisa L. Hannett A “mermaid” story set in a society where women are in charge of the fishing fleet and sometimes return home with babies who aren’t entirely human. Strange, but I enjoyed it. 3 stars “Street of the Dead House” by Robert Lopresti Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” told from the ape’s point of view. I read and enjoyed this one in the collection in which it originally appeared and was happy to revisit it. 4.5 stars The Greyness” by Kathryn Ptacek Is a woman predicting or causing her neighbors’ deaths? Not nearly as good as it sounds. 2 stars “The Devil Under the Maison Blue” by Michael Wehunt Ghost of a jazz musician tells a girl his story. Another one not to my taste. 2 stars “The Lily and the Horn” by Catherynne M. Valente War has been replaced by ritualized combat between healers and poisoners. I think this one might be better as a novel. 3 stars “Snow” by Dale Bailey A group of people try to survive against eldritch weather. Unoriginal. 1 star “Corpsemouth” by John Langan A man goes to Scotland after his father’s death and discovers an ongoing fight against an ancient evil. Not awful, but not engaging either. 2 stars Received via Netgalley.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    A few good stories, but there were 3 from another yearly horror story anthology from the same year so I skipped over those. Not that they're not good stories, they were, but I read them fairly recently so didn't feel the need to revisit them. While I enjoyed the stories, the only two that really stuck with me were the final one, Corpsemouth and Ripper which were the two longest stories of this book. Neil Gaiman's story was very good, but it was one of the three that I had read previously and as A few good stories, but there were 3 from another yearly horror story anthology from the same year so I skipped over those. Not that they're not good stories, they were, but I read them fairly recently so didn't feel the need to revisit them. While I enjoyed the stories, the only two that really stuck with me were the final one, Corpsemouth and Ripper which were the two longest stories of this book. Neil Gaiman's story was very good, but it was one of the three that I had read previously and as such, skipped over.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Anthologies are, by nature, a mixed bag, and this one certainly fits that description. There are some really really good pieces here, some that are not quite so great but still worth the time, and some that just didn't live up to the collection's promise. Anthologies are, by nature, a mixed bag, and this one certainly fits that description. There are some really really good pieces here, some that are not quite so great but still worth the time, and some that just didn't live up to the collection's promise.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    A mixed bag, as most of these anthologies are. There's the excellent (Neil Gaiman, for example), the good, and one or two stories that I found contrived and predictable and wondered how they'd ended up being included. But overall, it was a decent read. A mixed bag, as most of these anthologies are. There's the excellent (Neil Gaiman, for example), the good, and one or two stories that I found contrived and predictable and wondered how they'd ended up being included. But overall, it was a decent read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    JamalT

    Overall, I think this was a good collection. I may revise my rating when I've had more time to think over all the stories. Best Stories: Sing Me Your Scars; There is No Place for Sorrow . . .; Black Dog; 1Up; The Deepwater Bride; Cassandra, and Street of the Dead House. Overall, I think this was a good collection. I may revise my rating when I've had more time to think over all the stories. Best Stories: Sing Me Your Scars; There is No Place for Sorrow . . .; Black Dog; 1Up; The Deepwater Bride; Cassandra, and Street of the Dead House.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristian Salcedo

    Always a pleasure I keep coming back to these anthologies because they always contain at least a couple of stories that stay with you.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Abbie

    Best of the year is a tie between Catherynne M. Valente's "The Lily and the Horn" and Rebecca Campbell's "The Glad Hosts." Best of the year is a tie between Catherynne M. Valente's "The Lily and the Horn" and Rebecca Campbell's "The Glad Hosts."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    It's tough to rate an anthology. There were some truly excellent stories in this collection. There are also some shockingly bad stories. Most were just mediocre and forgettable, though. It's tough to rate an anthology. There were some truly excellent stories in this collection. There are also some shockingly bad stories. Most were just mediocre and forgettable, though.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Strack

    Of course, it includes a number of short stories. Some I liked, some I didn't. Of course, it includes a number of short stories. Some I liked, some I didn't.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Some really stunning stories with great endings. The story by Tamsyn Muir knocked me on my ass.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Horror is my favorite genre whether I’m reading, writing or watching a movie. So when I saw this book I jumped at the chance to read it. Let me start by saying this is a huge book, over 500 pages on my e-reader in fact, filled with all the variations of horror you can imagine. Now I’m a little picky with what sort of horror appeals to me. I like the straight forward explanations, the twists that shock and anything written w I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Horror is my favorite genre whether I’m reading, writing or watching a movie. So when I saw this book I jumped at the chance to read it. Let me start by saying this is a huge book, over 500 pages on my e-reader in fact, filled with all the variations of horror you can imagine. Now I’m a little picky with what sort of horror appeals to me. I like the straight forward explanations, the twists that shock and anything written with a Lovecraftian bent. A majority of these are not the sort I prefer but nonetheless very enjoyable. The stories can be incredibly dark, some are graphic, others deal with hard choices, there are supernatural elements to some, while the ones that are perfectly mundane can be the most horrifying. If I had to pick favorites my top picks would be Ripper, Mary Mary, Snow, The Door, There is no place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold, The Deepwater Bride, Fabulous Beasts, Cassandra, Greyness, Corpsemouth. Others like the Lily and the Horn, and the Devil under the Maison Blue were intriguing and descriptive but needed more clarification for me. My least favorites would have to be The Absence of Words & Kaiju Maximus, the first wasn’t explained properly and the second simply did not appeal to me. All in all an interesting read. I would recommend this for any adult who likes horror or dark fantasy and wants to be able to enjoy the impact of a whole story in a couple of 1000 words. 3.5 stars for me which I’m rounding up to 4.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    The same issue with anthologies exist as with compilation albums, there's always going to be an artist you skip over so as much as in I enjoy the curation of Paula Guran,there's always going to be a couple that elicit a 'Meh' reaction from me. What I consider dark fantasy is possibly not the same as Ms Guran (which is why she is editing anthologies and I am not :) ) but any stories that hit a little wide of the mark are down to the way I receive them as a reader less than a reflection of the edit The same issue with anthologies exist as with compilation albums, there's always going to be an artist you skip over so as much as in I enjoy the curation of Paula Guran,there's always going to be a couple that elicit a 'Meh' reaction from me. What I consider dark fantasy is possibly not the same as Ms Guran (which is why she is editing anthologies and I am not :) ) but any stories that hit a little wide of the mark are down to the way I receive them as a reader less than a reflection of the editor. I read the annual 'Best Fantasy/Dark Horror' Offering as open mindedly as I can, whilst also wanting to check out new writers. these are best dipped in and out of rather than reading all in one go as there are a wide range of writers with vastly differing skill sets and motifs. They are like morsels to be savoured, or as in the case of Neil Gaiman's 'Black Dogs', characters to be re-visited(Shadow, from 'American Gods'). Particular favourites are perennially superb Caitlyn R Kiernan and Kelley Armstrong. Both of these ladies have their short story skills honed, and this is what I love about the annual anthologies, not only are they keeping the short story alive but they are giving a platform to writers you may have not heard of before. In this instance, a writer I will be looking to read more of is Ken Liu. His 'The Paper Menagerie' is now very near the top of my to read pile. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the proof copy to review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I reviewed this book for NetGalley. Ms. Guran is an excellent horror/dark fantasy anthologist, and this volume of well-written and very entertaining short stories and novellas is just as good as any of her previous anthologies. I was very pleased with the stories in this book. I have been reading this series since 2010 and have enjoyed reading each of them, including this one. These stories touch on so many dark fantasy/horror tropes - vampires, Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper, Lovecraft, etc. and t I reviewed this book for NetGalley. Ms. Guran is an excellent horror/dark fantasy anthologist, and this volume of well-written and very entertaining short stories and novellas is just as good as any of her previous anthologies. I was very pleased with the stories in this book. I have been reading this series since 2010 and have enjoyed reading each of them, including this one. These stories touch on so many dark fantasy/horror tropes - vampires, Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper, Lovecraft, etc. and they all are refreshingly new takes on these common themes. I found the stories to be timely, entertaining and provocative. There were several feminist remakes of classic themes - Jack the Ripper and Frankenstein in particular. A very diverse and intriguing range of stories. In fact, a really good read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alexia Polasky

    There is something for everyone because of the diversity. There are some great retellings here, as well as originally innovative plots. Full review on my blog. Hay algo para todos gracias a los diferentes estilos, temas, extensión, etc. Encontré muy buenas reversiones, como así también historias innovadoras y originales. Reseña completa en mi blog. There is something for everyone because of the diversity. There are some great retellings here, as well as originally innovative plots. Full review on my blog. Hay algo para todos gracias a los diferentes estilos, temas, extensión, etc. Encontré muy buenas reversiones, como así también historias innovadoras y originales. Reseña completa en mi blog.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    It is a very good anthology overall, but these were my favorites: "Sing Me Your Scars"- Walters "Black Dog"- Gaiman "Ripper"- Slatter "The Deepwater Bride"- Muir "Fabulous Beasts"- Sharma "Cassandra"- Liu It is a very good anthology overall, but these were my favorites: "Sing Me Your Scars"- Walters "Black Dog"- Gaiman "Ripper"- Slatter "The Deepwater Bride"- Muir "Fabulous Beasts"- Sharma "Cassandra"- Liu

  26. 5 out of 5

    tyto

    I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. A great collection of dark fantasy/science fiction/horror stories - I especially enjoyed the stories by Catherine Valente and Ken Liu

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josef Hernandez

    An overall strong anthology For a full review, please go to http://areviewerdarkly.blogspot.com/ and follow me on Twitter @josenher An overall strong anthology For a full review, please go to http://areviewerdarkly.blogspot.com/ and follow me on Twitter @josenher

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Outstanding collection of shorts. Not a ringer in the bunch and a number of incredible, original tales

  29. 4 out of 5

    JJacy1

    Good stuff Another quality entry. A decent mix of stories and none of them felt overly long for what they conveyed. I hope these continue yearly into the future.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Bannayan

    Many enjoyable short stories are found in this book, despite a few turn offs. Minor flaws in character development, endings and cliches were heavily present throughout the book which is what compelled me to lower my rating for it :(

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