Sunday, September 22, 2013

High Stakes – review

Editor: Gabrielle Faust

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

The blurb: Ten thrilling new vampire tales from award-winning authors explore the world of the undead and the twisted games they play, not only with their prey, but with each other. HIGH STAKES begs the question: Do you care to gamble... with your life. With all new fiction from Jonathan Maberry, Joe McKinney, Sephera Giron, JG Faherty, David C. Hayes, Jeff Strand, Gabrielle Faust, Roh Morgon, Rain Graves, Michael H. Hanson. Introduction by Dacre Stoker. Poem by Linda Addison. Edited by Gabrielle Faust.

The review: I do like a good anthology of short stories from time to time. Even better when the stories contained within are all ones I have never read.

Using a theme of vampires and the games they play, High Stakes contained all new material and, like all anthologies there were stories I liked more than others but there wasn’t a bad story in the anthology.

Favourites for me were Jeff Strand’s The Car – just for the concept of two immortal, evil creatures playing monopoly (using blood rather than monopoly money) and arguing over the piece they should each have. Jonathon Maberry’s The Things that Live in Cages was just superb, a master class in character and dialogue that aspiring writers should read. I was also very taken by Bonesong, by Rain Graves, set in ancient Ulster it had the unusual source of vampirism of drinking unicorn blood to confer immortality.

However, as I said I found all the stories worthwhile – though Roh Morgan’s The Games Monsters Play felt more like a set up for a series than a standalone short, nothing wrong with that and I would certainly read a novel set in that world.

A worthwhile anthology. 8 out of 10.

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