10 December 2019

Review || A Midnight Clear



Six stories of not-so-merry Yuletide whimsy from the authors of Black Spot Books. 

A woman so cold she hardens to ice on a winter's eve. 

Risen from his grave before his time, a winter god alters the balance between seasons. 

A wolf's holiday season is interrupted by a strange curse. 

From a murder at the Stanley Hotel to demons of Christmas past, present, and future, and a mad elf and Santa's Candy Court, the authors of Black Spot Books share their love for winter holidays in this collection of dark winter tales, destined to chill your bones and warm your heart for the Yuletide season.

 


 


A Midnight Clear is a collection of six varied stories of dark yuletide cheer. This was a very diverse mix of holiday-themed stories perfect for the season. While they varied in personal ratings, each was well written and matched my desire for a great wintery read. Short story collections are so much fun because the tones and themes can vary greatly from author to author. This perfectly fantastical group of stories did not disappoint!

The Dauntless by Sam Hooker

This one was definitely unexpected. A puzzling story of courtroom justice in...the North Pole? Yes, you read that right. There's a submarine, some elvish killings, and a coal delivery to a Lovecraftian being sleeping away obvious to its Christmas stocking filling up. I probably struggled the most with this one, but Lovecraft has never been my thing. 3 paws up!


Tidings of a New Moon by Alca Leyva

What happens when werewolves are the civilized ones and human bites are to be feared? This was a fun read. I enjoyed seeing the tables flipped. 4 paws up!

Movin' on Up by Laura Morrison

In a Dante ordered hell, three inhabitants are given the opportunity for improving their circumstances (or put in time in the gladiator pits). They crawl back up from Hell in a sort of twisted Christmas Carol to show a heaven-bound human the error of her ways in attempting to show that her good deeds actually sent others on their paths downstairs. 3.5 paws up!


The Poetry of Snow and Stars by Cassondra Windwalker

Here we revisit the Stanley hotel and have a murder mystery to go along with it. I enjoyed the main character but it seemed a little too neatly wrapped up to me. There wasn't a lot of mystery, just an ah-ha moment and some romantic pining that felted a little immature. It was just ok for me. 3 paws up!


Sleep, Sweet Khors by Dalena Storm

One of my favorites out of the bunch! Ripe with Slavic mythology, Lisa is devastated at the forthcoming death of her favorite uncle. In an attempt to keep death from coming, she creates a horrible world where death doesn't come and life is stuck in a sort of half death. Its grotesque symbolism about life and death and the inability to halt the progression was well done. It's also a great anecdote on children and explaining death. 5 paws up!


Snow Angel by Seven Jane

Haven't we all tired of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season? This one follows a wife and mother that is disenchanted by all the errands and to-dos of the season and for whom Christmas has lost its glow. It's a bit heavy and morose but I enjoyed the prose of Snow Angel. It's beautifully written and has wonderful imagery. 4 paws up!