Saturday, 15 November 2014

At Hell's Gates: Volume One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Devan Sagliani
Stephen Kozeniewski
Lesa Kinney Anders and Matthew Kinney
Shana Festa
Stevie Kopas
James Crawford
J. Ruldoph
S.G. Lee
Paul Mannering
J.M. Martin
Tim Marquitz
Rachel Aukes
Frank Tayell
Sean T. Smith
Jacqueline Druga
Sharon Stevenson

Edited By
Monica Happy
James Crawford

Published By
Smashwords

Genre
Horror, Anthology

Synopsis

When evil overflows from the deepest, fiery pits, the battle will be At Hell’s Gates…Whether you are a zombie aficionado, or you feed on horror, there is something for everyone. We've summoned some of the top Zompoc authors, masters in horror, and even some new talent to strike fear into even the most jaded soul. Dare you look, let alone approach, the dreaded gates?

Each skillfully crafted vignette showcases previously created worlds in the individual author’s works. If you've ever yearned for more back story or ached to learn what happened to a peripheral character; your wait is over. But, as they say, “Be careful what you wish for”. Once it has been seen, you cannot go back. And once infected; there is no cure.

This collaboration is in honor of the brave men and women in our Armed Services who willingly lay down their lives for our freedom. Words could not possibly express our undying gratitude, so we have banded together, doing what we do best, to show our appreciation. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to serve wounded soldiers and their families. This is for you, those who have truly been…At Hell’s Gates.

Review

As a horror and zombie fan, as well as a writer myself, I jumped at the chance to review this anthology.

Full of well known horror authors, some of whom have done a lot of work for the Permuted Press publisher, as well as some new names, this anthology felt like there really was going to be a story for every type of horror fan that you could get.

Quite a few of the stories here do link to the authors other works yet they all work well to varying degrees as stand alone stories as well.  The main thing however that made this collection work was the simple fact that the editing was superb.  I honestly couldn't pick up anything that would bug me or annoy me as a reader.

One of the things that is always at the back of my mind when reading anthologies is the simple fact that a lot them are quite hit and miss.  Here the quality is level all the way through.

Obviously there are a couple of stories that stand out above all the others, especially when you see titles like Exploding Shit Zombies, a tale that Stephen Kozeniewski has crafted that is well paced and full of dark humour that the horror fans will love.  It's a little short on character development but it has such a fun charm that you are far too busy being entertained that it doesn't take away from the tale itself.

Hour of the Beast by J.M. Martin is a cracker of a story.  One of the first non zombie stories in the collection has a well written Medieval tone to it and works really well when recounting why the husband of a young pregnant lady has suddenly become so cold and angry.  Well worth a read.

If you are a visitor to the site then you know I'm a bit of a fan of the books by Sharon Stevenson and her story here really doesn't disappoint.  Her normal superb character work and pacing is on view here and rightfully makes it one of the best stories in the anthology.  I don't want to give too much away about the story because there are some brilliant twists and turns but if you are a fan of her previous work then you are going to love this one.

All in all, considering the meagre price and the good cause that this charity that the collection is raising money for, this is definitely well worth picking up.  The whole team here have done a superb job of giving the readers some great stories that will not only stand up well on their own but will also make you want to check out their other work.

Story 8/10
Characters 7.5/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 7.5/10
Overall 31/40

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