Title: Black Feathers and Dead Things
Author: Stephen Williams
Page Count: 46 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
A graveyard. A corpse. A flock of ravens.
In fairy tales, death comes in many forms.
When something escapes the underworld and begins to consume the birds’ kingdom, their knights are sent to defend their ancestral home. Will the noble corvids repel this creeping threat, or will they suffer a fate darker than their feathers?
“But he’s not content to rest – not content to decay into the void. Not yet.”
Having only ever read a single chapbook (last year’s UNMEMORY by Kristi DeMeester), my experience with books of this size is somewhat limited – but don’t let that stop you from believing me when I say that this one is amazing. I didn’t really know anything before starting it, but loved the little snippet at the start claiming that it’s a sort of bedtime lullaby – I found this to be pretty accurate!
I haven’t read anything by Stephen Williams before, so when he offered to send this and another of his (AMONG THE RUINS), I was eager to see how I’d feel about his writing. I have a pretty big review pile that I’m working my way through, so I wasn’t sure when I’d start them, but the covers kept pulling me in. With gorgeous cover art and printed patterns decorating each page inside, it seemed to almost scream at me from my shelf – “READ ME NOWWW!”
And so I did.
Any expectations I may have had were immediately exceeded upon starting BLACK FEATHERS & DEAD THINGS; Williams’ writing is both melodic and dramatic, the words lulling you in and almost turning the pages by themselves. The fairy tale quality to the writing and story itself created such a deliciously macabre atmosphere that once I started, I couldn’t put it down.
Fitting a murderous villain, royal protectors, a gruesome war, and a resolution into a mere 46 pages seems like it’d be a huge challenge, but Williams does it flawlessly here without leaving any parts of the story feel like they aren’t completely fleshed out. While the graveyard as a setting seems like it may be one that’s used a lot in horror, BLACK FEATHERS utilizes it in such a unique way when paired with the overall conflict that it feels totally original.
If you’re looking for something short, engaging, & memorable, definitely check this one out! I’m very happy to have it as a part of my tiny book collection, and can’t wait to read more by the author soon!