Written by: Various
Published by: Wildside Press
Reviewed by: Kevin Kennedy
When I was offered a copy of this book to review I was really looking forward to it. I had never heard of Weirdbook before, and I started thinking that witches haven’t often appeared in the horror fiction that I read. I had never really thought about it before but witches seem to appear more in children’s fiction, fantasy and sword and sorcery type stories, but rarely in modern day horror.
When I received the book the first thing I noticed was its pretty well put together. Nice cover, well edited and some nice, albeit basic artwork throughout. On opening it, I found out it was split. The first two hundred and fifteen pages are short stories and the last twenty nine pages are poetry. I was cool with that. I’ve gotten into horror poetry a little over the last few years. I’ve read some great stuff by Michael A. Arnzen, Wrath James White and James Mathew Buyers and although I don’t love it all, I’ve found several gems.
As I started to read through the book my mood dipped a little. I found some of the stories to be pretty weak. While the actual writing was okay, some of the stories were a little dull, others were bogged down in detail even though they were only a few pages long, meaning not much happened. When reading an anthology, it is the strength of one story that dictates whether I will go straight onto the next one or just sit the book down and come back to it later. I found I sat this book down quite a lot and didn’t look forward to going back to it. That being said, there were a few stories that I really enjoyed and for me they stood out from the rest.
No Hold Bard, by Adrian Cole.
A modern day spin on Macbeth, set in an office environment. I really enjoyed this one.
Strange Days in old Yandrissa, by John R. Fultz
Set in an alternate reality in a medieval-type world, a strange wizard who claims he isn’t a wizard is brought to the king. I initially thought this would be a fantasy tale but it’s steeped in horror. This one was a lot of fun and really imaginative.
The Witch’s Heart, by Rachel Bolton
Short and not so sweet. This one is about a witch who has been abandoned by her lover. She struggles with whether to cast a spell that will kill her ex-lover and but keep her alive and restore her powers. Pretty dark with some nice little touches through it.
Other writers featured include: Paul Dale Anderson, Franklyn Searight, Wayne Faust, John Linwood Grant, and Neva Bryan.
These were the best stories in my opinion. None of the poetry in the book did much for me. Everyone has their own taste and I’m sure there are others who will enjoy this book but for me it was a bit of a slog to get through and I don’t think I would have finished it if I hadn’t agreed to review it.