Book Review: ‘Flash of Darkness’ by Toneye Eyenot

A fascinating study of evil.

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Toneye Eyenot Flash of Darkness‘Flash of Darkness’ delivers a series of fascinating vignettes that give the reader glimpses into the nature of evil. It’s both thought-provoking and chilling in the portrayal of evil as rational and reasoned in the minds of the beings that do its will. These stories are beautifully written, with vivid imagery and a dark eloquence that really enhances the themes and key ideas of the stories. At times macabre, at other times reflective and morose, this is a book that enables the reader to look at life through a darker lens.
Acorn Award I Golden

I have awarded this book a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Children: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Children is the third short story of the Dragonhall prequels to Dragonhaze,

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 3The third short story of the Dragonhall prequels to Dragonhaze, ‘Nerra’s Children’ is darker and more sobering than the others. The magin are still being persecuted and put to death, and Nerra faces challenges more heartbreaking than ever before.

Although older and less impulsive, Nerra remains the strong, loyal woman that we have seen her become in her first two stories. By the time the reader finishes this third story, they are familiar with Nerra and her world, and keen to discover more in the pages of Dragonhaze, the novel that follows.

Like the others in the series, this evocative story is very well written.
Acorn Award II Silver
This poignant and evocative story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Run: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Run is the second of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 2
The sequel to ‘Nerra’s Flight’, this second instalment in the Draginhall Chronicles short story series is set some years later. Children with magical abilities are still being captured and killed, and the authorities are still pursuing Nerra.

‘Nerra’s Run’ is darker and more suspenseful than the first. The author establishes a strong sense of foreboding that continues to build as the story develops. Older and still determined to defy those who want her captured and killed, Nerra remains a character whose bravery and determination are admirable, and with whom the reader can sympathise strongly. She is developed with additional depth in this story in ways which both increase the reader’s affection and support for her, and fill them with anxiety for her future.

The action in this short story moves at a steady pace, carrying the reader along as the tension rises.

Once again, Mirren Hogan has excelled in her storytelling craft.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Nerra’s Flight: A Dragonhall Chronicles Story’ by Mirren Hogan

Nerra’s Flight is the first of three short story prequels to Dragonhaze.

Mirren Hogan Dragonhall Short 1Nerra’s filght introduces Nerra, a young adult magin, living in a world in which even the ability to use magic is punishable by death.

The first of Nerra’s stories, ‘Nerra’s Flight’ tells of her attempt to escape those who would punish her for her abilities. Dragons, suspense and adventure await!

The story is engaging and interesting, and the reader quickly warms to both Nerra and her sister. It’s a brief but enchanting introduction to this series of stories, of which I am definitely keen to read more.

Acorn Award II Silver
This beautifully written story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Necrozmancy: A Short Horror Story’ by Lucretia Stanhope

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story.

Lucretia Stanhope Necrozmancy

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story, ‘Necrozmancy’ is a short read that can be enjoyed in less than an hour.

The characters are darker and more sinister than in the original tale, and yet I prefer them this way. I always enjoy the opportunity to see how things end up differently when characters take an alternative path, and Stanhope’s reinvention of Dorothy and Toto in particular is magnificent.

This story is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but lovers of the macabre and horrific will certainly enjoy it.

Acorn Award I Golden
Because it tickled both my funny bone and my dark side, I have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Hades’ Gate’ by D.J. Doyle

I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short.

DJ Doyle Hades Gate

This is an excellent short story. Doyle has done an excellent job of building the suspense and the reader’s awareness of the sinister before making them gasp and recoil as the action heats up.

The characters are all very believable, and will remind the reader of people – or, at least, types of people – they know. Their banter and conversations draw the reader in, building familiarity with the characters so that by the time the story really gets going, the reader has an emotional investment in their wellbeing and fate. This heightens the tension as the story develops, and increases the impact of the climax of the story.
Acorn Award I Golden

I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.

 

Book Review: ‘The Blue Serpent’ by Claire Buss

This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading.

Claire Buss The Blue SerpentHaving recently read and loved ‘The Book Thief’, I was keen to read this brand new collection of flash stories by Claire Buss. They are very different than her excellent novel, but they are great stories nonetheless.

Each story is a brief vignette of a life, a mind, a heart, a soul. Some of them are lighthearted and entertaining, others are much more sobering. I found ‘Possibility’ to be very poignant, while ‘Once Upon a Time’ turned out to be a very powerful commentary on our society that was further developed in ‘Data Stream’.

I appreciated each of these stories for its own qualities, and for the way it made me think about things other than the demands and worries of a busy day. I enjoy reading short stories when life is hectic, and this book has filled bill perfectly.  Acorn Award II Silver

This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading, and as such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Get your copy here.