‘Dark Divinations’ Anthology edited by Naching T. Kassa

*Disclaimer – I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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Alexandria, Virginia, 1872

I did not know how long I had been unconscious, but when I opened my eyes, I saw… Nothing. Surrounded by a blackness darker than the Virginia woods on a cloudy night, I could feel the closeness of the space around me and smell the stale air. It took me a few moments to realize I was lying in a coffin. I groped the sides of the box, then pressed against the lid only inches from my face. (The Bell by Jon O’Bergh)

 

Synopsis –

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The seance has begun. Join us as we explore fourteen frightening tales of Victorian horror, each centered around a method of divination. Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown. Choose your fate. Choose your DARK DIVINATION.

 

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Thoughts –

An anthology pried from the cold, dead, ghostly hands of the Victorian era, Dark Divinations leads the reader down a trail of blood chilling seances, ominous tea leaves, and curses that echo through the ages.

From a stellar list of writers including Jon O’Bergh, Hannah Hulbert, and the editor themselves Naching T. Kassa, this is an anthology chocked full of atmosphere, tension, and a building dread. From the blood curdling dreams of the doting wife Jennie in Ash Hartwell’s Copper and Cordite, to the ominous appearance of a fortune telling automaton bearing only grave news in Stephanie Ellis’s Romany Rose, Dark Divinations spans a century of Victorian characters and the perils that lie within attempting to see, or even change, ones own fate.

With a strength in tone and immersive atmosphere, this is a collection of story for the historically leaning, and for anyone who loves a good old bewitching tale of the unchangeable tapestry of destiny. There are methods for every enthusiast in this anthology, and you will not be disappointed by the variety.

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Grab your bustle, keep your pocket watch wound, and settle in for fourteen gothic tales of future telling. Recommended to be read by candlelight as a storm rages outside.

 

All the Authors –

Power and Shadow by Hannah Hulbert

Copper and Cordite by Ash Hartwell

Damnation in Venice by Joe L. Murr

The Pocket Watch by Emerian Rich

They Wound Like Worms by Naching T. Kassa

Miroir de Vaugnac by Michael Fassbender

The Bell by Jon O’Bergh

Romany Rose by Stephanie Ellis

Miss Mae’s Prayers by H.R.R. Gorman

Breaking Bad by R.L. Merrill

Broken Crystal by Rie Sheridan Rose

Ghost of St. John Lane by Daphne Strasert

The Moat House Cob by Alan Fisher

Of Blood and Bones by Jeremy Megargee

 

Read and Review –

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‘Burnt Fur’ Anthology Edited by Ken MacGregor – Review

*This book has a trigger warning for torture and sexual violence*

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‘Phaedra fucking hates ducks.

Once, her Secondary School biology teacher, Miss Esmer Powell, told her that ‘ducks are the most perfect sexual specimens’. Perfectly vile, Phaedra thought. It was about the one thing she’d disagreed on with Miss Powell. She was a wonderful teacher, if a little on the edge sometimes of what was appropriate for students aged nine to ten. She got away with it because she was as charismatic as she was authoritative. As pretty as she was tactful. And her knowledge of wildlife, flora and fauna, species of animal, was frankly mind-blowing. Phaedra had been amazed to discover she didn’t have a PhD. It was part of the reason Phaedra was on a mission to get one herself.’ (‘Mallard’s Maze’ by Joseph Sale)

 

Synopsis –

There are no good boys in in this anthology, only twisted, deviant, and burnt encounters with pets, people in costume, animals who behave like humans, and creatures who blur the line between the three. Violent pigs, killer ducks, horny bees, a naughty rabbit, and many more fill these pages with tale after tail of hair-raising horror.

Don your Fursuit, slip into your Fursona, and ride the dark wave of horror that is Burnt Fur. You may never go back to wearing your normal skin again.

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Thoughts –

Burnt Fur is an anthology for the animal in you. Rife with sexual exploits, gorey violence, and questionable characters. Burnt Fur takes you on a journey through the worst of humanities fantasies, vengeance spurred on by supernatural forces, men with pig faces, opossums who want men’s faces, beasts that masquerade as humans, and humans that masquerade as beasts.

Taking the horror we feel for beasts that we don’t understand or can’t control and blending it perfectly with the horror we feel for the beasts we are ourselves, this anthology crawls under your skin and stays there. Starting off on one of the more somber and non-erotic stories, ‘The Moon in Her Eyes‘ by Sarah Hans eases you in with an unusual take on a usual trope. Next up is ‘Mallard’s Maze‘ by Joseph Sale brings the first toe dip into the horrors of beastiality, and more importantly, how terrifying ducks are.

From there the series escalates in theme and tests just how strong the readers stomach is, but I never found the violence or erotic scenes gratuitous. The writing of each story has its own voice and there isn’t a story in this collection that felt phoned in – the writing is impeccable. There is violence though it serves the story, sexual deviancies though they aren’t excuses for cheap thrills, there are chilling and thrilling stories and every one of them with characters both sympathetic, utterly disgusting, and deranged. Read at your own discretion.

 

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Whatever you’re into, this anthology will certainly get under your skin… or fur.

 

About the Editor –

Ken MacGregor’s short stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, magazines and podcasts. One of his stories was nominated for the Micro Award. Ken is a member in good standing of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. He lives in Michigan with his family.He can be found on Facebook (Ken MacGregor – Author), Amazon and at ken-macgregor.com.

 

Contributing Authors –

Sarah Hans (The Moon in Her Eyes)

Joseph Sale (Mallard’s Maze)

Theodore Deadrat (Salivation)

N. Rose (The Hamford Pigs)

Paul Allih (The Willingness of Prey)

Rachel Lee Weist (6 Dicks)

C.M. Saunders (The Others)

Elliot Arthur Cross (Randall Rabbit)

Rue K. Poe (A Concubine for the Hive)

Thurston Howl (Five Nights With Teddy)

Matt Scott (Oh Piggy, My Piggy)

Stephanie Park (Ware the Deep)

Michelle F. Goddard (Molt of a Diminishing Light)

James L. Steele (The Victims)

 

Read and Review –

Goodreads.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com