Friday, October 11, 2019

Review - Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery

A new compilation of short dark fantasy or paranormal stories about witches and witchcraft has hit bookstores in time for Halloween. This anthology is called Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery. The book features 18 original stories of wickedness, evil, and cunning.

Each of the all-women authors who contributed stories to this book is a bestselling fantasy author. Kat Howard, for example, has a brilliant story in it called “An Invitation to a Burning.” Howard, of course, previously wrote a novel entitled An Unkindness of Magicians, which NPR named as the best book of 2017 and won the Alex Award in 2018. Her collection of short stories, A Cathedral of Myth and Bone was nominated for the World Fantasy Award.

The witches in these 18 stories might be monstrous or they might be heroes depend on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage in a legendary fairy tale thought of herself as a heroine. After all, she no doubt reasoned, a woman has got to eat.

My personal favorite story in this book was the spooky yet thrilling “How to Become a Witch-Queen” by Theodora Goss. As I read it, I was impressed by how it walked the line between reality and imagination. It’s no wonder why she has been nominated for almost every major award in science-fiction including the Nebula, Locus, Mythopoeic, World Fantasy, and Seiun Awards.

Hex Life was edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering. Golden is prolific author of science-fiction and fantasy. His previous work includes editing the horror anthology Dark Cities as well as co-authoring Ghosts of Albion, Hidden Cities, and The Secret Journeys of Jack London.

Deering not only co-edits this volume with Golden, she also wrote a story in it entitled “Where Relics Go to Dream and Die”. Her previous work has been nominated for the Eisner and Harvey Awards.

The remaining 15 authors and their respective stores are “Widows Walk” by Angela Slatter as well as:
  • “Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story” by Kelley Armstrong;
  • "The Night Nurse” by Sarah Langan;
  • "The Memories of Trees” by Mary SanGiovanni;
  • “Home: A Morganville Vampires Story” by Rachel Caine;
  • “The Deer Wife” by Jennifer McMahon;
  • “The Dancer” by Kristin Dearborn;
  • “Bless Your Heart” by Hillary Monahan;
  • "The Debt” by Ania Ahiborn;
  • “Toil and Trouble: A Dark-Hunter Hellchaser Story” by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Madaug Kenyon;
  • “Last Stop on Route Nine” by Tananarive Due;
  • “This Skin” by Amber Benson;
  • “Haint Me Too” by Chesya Burke;
  • “The Nekrolog” by Helen Marshall; and
  • “Gold Among the Black” by Alma Katsu.
Hex Life is an impressive 400 pages of short dark fantasy or paranormal stories. The witches in it will undoubtedly keep you sufficiently spooked out until Halloween is behind us.

Hex Life: Wicked Tales of Witchery is currently available online from and at fine booksellers everywhere.

This review is bought to you by the Warrendale Detroit Blog. By clicking on any of the links above to purchase a book, you help us keep our journalistic focus on the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods.

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