Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Haunted Collection - The Eclective

    2012; 128 pages.  Full Title : “The Eclective : The Haunted Collection.”  New Author? : Mostly Yes.  Genre : Anthology; Halloween.  Overall Rating : 7½*/10.

    Eight tales of the paranormal.  There are ghosts, ghouls, vampires, a nasty little porcelain figurine, and a witch that you shouldn’t cheat on.  I read this during the week leading up to Halloween, but it’s suitable for anytime you feel like telling the Undead to “bring it on”.

What’s To Like...
    Each tale has a different motif; I like that.  The editing is superb – I found only one typo in the whole book.  You have eight different authors, and frankly they’re all good writers.  The literary unevenness you find in a lot of anthologies is not present here.  The eight stories are :

Empty Vessel  (M. Edward McNally)
The Smell of Death  (Tara West)
Safe  (Emma Jameson)
Cupcake Goddess : Soulfully Sweet  (Shea MacLeod)
May I Go Play  (Heather Marie Adkins)
Blehdward, the Vampire Who Couldn’t Sparkle  (P.J. Jones)
Franscesca  (Alan Nayes)
Soul Eaters  (R.G. Porter)

   My two favorites were “Empty Vessel” and “The Smell of Death”; mostly for their kewl plotlines.  I’m not much of a Horror Story reader.  If you are, “May I Go Play” and “Soul Eaters” will be your cup of absinthe.  Blehdward, the Vampire Who Couldn't Sparkle” is fascinating, but too short.  And how can you go wrong with something titled “Cupcake Goddess : Soulfully Sweet”?  I liked the ‘accented’ writing in “Safe(and I rarely like accented text; it usually gets irritating fast), and “Franscesca” is for you Gothic Romantics.

Kindle Details...
   The Haunted Collection sells for $0.99 at Amazon.  Most of the other anthologies published by the Eclective are ATM free. They are always reasonably priced; and periodically put out as freebies.

    To those who ask why I done it, why Benjamin Barrow, son of  a respectable rag and bone man, took to thieving from corpses, I says, “For the bleeding steven, hey?” and leave it at that.  I don’t spill all I know to every Champagne Charlie I meet down the pub.  For one thing, half the blokes in this world are thicker than a fresh corpse and less diverting to talk to.  For another, I’m an educated man, and that makes all the difference.  (loc. 411)

    “Viola, draw near.” Branwen let the power of a true goddess seep into her voice.
    With a shiver, Viola’s ghost drew closer into the circle of candle light.  Her passing stirred the candle flame.
    “Take my hand.”
    Viola gave her a look that spoke volumes.  “I’m a ghost.”
    “And I’m a goddess.  Take my hand.”  (loc. 710)

“He was the sort of man who would chase a rolling copper piece into a sewer.” (loc.63)
    The only author of The Eclective that I’m familiar with is M. Edward McNally, whose fantasy series, The Norothian Cycle, I am thoroughly enjoying.  It was a treat to get acquainted with some of the other writers in the group. 

    I don’t think Anthologies ever merit a perfect rating; you will always like some of the selections better than others, and short stories just don’t offer the depth that full-length novels do.  But The Haunted Collection is as good of collection of tales as I’ve come across.  7½ Stars.  Add another star if you liked to read Tales From the Crypt as a kid.

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