The Crimson Pact: Volume 2 by Paul Genesse

Rating 8.7/10
If you like demons and dark fantasy this is definitely the anthology for you.

If you like demons and dark fantasy, if you love the constant struggle of good against evil (or at least human vs. something clawed and taloned), an endless eternal war between humanity and hellborn, then this is definitely the anthology for you.

Again, there are just too many stories for me to comment on every single one, so I’ve taken those that made the most impact on me to give a brief mention. Three Transformations will have animal lovers in tears. The Long Run follows a free-runner, and the whole piece flows at a heady pace, giving a real impression of speed and freedom, and the inevitable battle with demons. Echoes of Another Life is short, sharp, and absolutely demands a sequel. Cats, Caves and Dynamite read almost like a fable. Son of Fire, Son of Thunder was disturbing, told from the viewpoints of two very different characters on the same quest, with one of them following on from the chilling events in Still Life. No Mail and Hunters Incorporated made me cry, while the ending of Dark Archive (the sequel to Hidden Collection) made me laugh. From Darkness has an interesting final twist, and I loved the Dark Garden with its retelling of the Garden of Eden from a very different and unnerving perspective.

I have to say that there were a couple of stories that I really disliked, but I’m not going to name them. I think that would be unfair to those authors to be singled out just because I didn’t like the story. It was great to see a few sequels to previous stories, to meet up again with some of the characters. Most seemed to be set more in modern times than with the previous volume, which I missed in a way - I liked the variation between other worlds and time periods, although some of the alternate times were intriguing. The tendency is toward the dark, bloody and chilling, but with a faint glimmer of hope in each. As I said with volume one, there really is a story here for everyone regardless of your taste, providing that demons are your thing. I would say, however, that the overall quality of the stories has improved in this second volume, so I expect great things of any future works.

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