BOOK REVIEW: THE MONSTROUS

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The Monstrous
Tachyon Publications (ebook), 2015
384 Pages

Publishers Website

Amazon (UK)

Amazon.com

I was given a free copy by the publisher in exchange for a review via NetGalley.

BLURB
From the best horror editor in the business comes the quintessential horror anthology: The Monstrous. Take a terrifying journey with literary masters of suspense, visiting a place where the other is somehow one of us. These electrifying tales redefine monsters from mere things that go bump-in-the-night to inexplicable, deadly reflections of our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s a seemingly-devoted teacher, an obsessive devotee of swans, or a diner full of evil creature’s simply seeking oblivion, the monstrous is always there — and much closer than it appears.

OPENING SENTENCE
On a blue afternoon in Autumn, Riku and Michi drove south from Numazu in his silver convertible along the coast of the Izu Peninsula

(A NATURAL HISTORY OF AUTUMN BY JEFFREY FORD)

REVIEW
The Monstrous is one of the best collections of stories I’ve read in recent years. Every story in this collection shines. On each page I encountered a host of monsters, some human, some non-human and plenty somewhere in between. I’ve not enjoyed a collection of stories this much in years. The authors have taken the idea of monsters and created twenty-five original, striking and wide-ranging tales. Every anthology of stories usually has one or two clunkers. This isn’t the case for this collection. Every story in The Monstrous is excellent. I have a few favourites. I’ve read Asputtle by Peter Straub in his collection, Magic Terror. There is something unsettling and chilling in this story, in what’s not openly stated. The Beginning of the Year without summer by Caitlín R. Kiernan is brilliant one of the most unsettling stories I’ve ever read. Catching Flies by Carole Johnstone gave me icy chills right down my spine. Jenny Come to Play by Terry Dowling blew my mind. The Last, Clean, Bright Summer by Livia Llewelyn is both brilliant and terrible. The Monstrous is highly recommended.

Stories included:

  • A Natural History of Autumn by Jeffrey Ford
  • Asputtle by Peter Straub
  • Giants in the Earth by Dale Bailey
  • The Beginning of the Year without summer by Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • A Wish from a Bone by Gemma Files
  • The Last, Clean, Bright Summer by Livia Llewelyn
  • The Totals by Adam-Roy Castro
  • The Chill Clutch of the Unseen by Kim Newman
  • Down among the Dead Men by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois
  • Catching Flies by Carole Johnstone
  • Our Turn Too Will One Day Come by Brian Hodge
  • Grindstone by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Doll Hands by Adam G L Nevill
  • How I Met the Ghoul by Sofia Samatar
  • Jenny Come to Play by Terry Dowling
  • Miss Ill-Kept Runt by Glen Hirschberg
  • Chasing Sunset by A.C. Wise
  • The Monster Makers by Steve Rasnic Tem
  • Piano Man by Christopher Fowler
  • Corpsemouth by John Langan

RATING

5 STAR

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. “The Beginning of the Year without summer by Livia Llewelyn is brilliant one of the most unsettling stories I’ve ever read.”

    Actually, I’m afraid I wrote that one. But pleased you enjoyed it.

  2. Hi – you have me listed twice in your review, as the author of both The Last, Clean, Bright Summer, and The Beginning of the Year without summer – but that second story is actually by Caitlín R. Kiernan (as you can see in the Table of Contents). Could you please correct your review to reflect that? Thank you very much!

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for your feedback. However, I’ve checked my review. I have you listed as the author of The Last, Clean, Bright Summer and Caitlín R. Kiernan as the author of The Beginning of the Year without summer. I couldn’t see an error

      1. “The Beginning of the Year without summer by Livia Llewelyn is brilliant one of the most unsettling stories I’ve ever read. Catching Flies by Carole Johnstone gave me icy chills right down my spine. Jenny Come to Play by Terry Dowling blew my mind. The Last, Clean, Bright Summer by Livia Llewelyn is both brilliant and terrible. The Monstrous is highly recommended.”

        That first sentence is incorrect – I don’t mean to belabor the point, but I do want Ms. Kiernan to get the credit that she’s due.

      2. That’s it corrected now. I thought you meant my list of contents. My apologies.

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