Dark Divinations

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlour, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed, and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun. Join us as we explore fourteen frightening tales of Victorian horror, each centred around a method of divination. Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown. Choose your fate. Choose your DARK DIVINATION. With stories by: Hannah Hulbert, Ash Hartwell, Joe L. Murr, Emerian Rich, Naching T. Kassa, Michael Fassbender, Jon O’Bergh, Stephanie Ellis, H.R.R. Gorman, R.L. Merrill, Rie Sheridan Rose, Daphne Strasert, Alan Fisher, and Jeremy Megargee.

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[‘More tea, Flora?’ I asked, fingers poised near the pot. POWER & SHADOWS BY HANNAH HULBERT]

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(@horroraddicts13, 24 April 2020, 227 pages, copy from @nachingkassa and voluntarily reviewed)

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So, I’ve never read much fiction about divination. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read any until now. That and the fact the stories are set in Victorian England made me want to read the collection. I expected something different and I got it. I’ve only heard of one author, Jon O’Bergh before so it’s nice to find new authors. I enjoyed the 14 stories on offer here, they were set in the UK or US and all different even though they used some of the same themes. I read stories about scrying, entrail reading (yuk!), fortune-telling machines, reading tea leaves and seances to name but a few explored here. The choice of way divination is explored impressed me. Who knew this involved so many different things? The stories are a little bit Victorian gothic come gas lit come the supernatural. I enjoyed every story. I loved the cover. Who wouldn’t want to read this? My favourite stories were Damnation in Venice by Joe L Murr, They Wound Like Worms by Naching T. Kassa, Romany Rose by Stephanie Ellis and Of Blood and Bones by Jeremy Megargee.

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