Title: Garden of Eldritch Delights
Author: Lucy A. Snyder
Page Count: 184 pages
Rating: 4 / 5 ✨✨✨✨
Master short story author Lucy A. Snyder is back with a dozen chilling, thought-provoking tales of Lovecraftian horror, dark science fiction, and weird fantasy. Her previous two collections received Bram Stoker Awards and this one offers the same high-caliber, trope-twisting prose. Snyder effortlessly creates memorable monsters, richly imagined worlds and diverse, unforgettable characters.
Open this book and you’ll find a garden of stories as dark and heady as black roses that will delight fans of complex, intelligent speculative fiction.
I love short fiction collections as introductions to new authors because they normally offer a diverse representation of that author’s abilities in their craft. Exposure to a writer’s “voice” throughout many small tales is a surefire way for me to figure out if an author is someone I’ll want to read more from in the future. Lucy A. Snyder is definitely one whose work I’ll be anticipating future installments from; I had a lot of fun with this collection!
The book includes 12 tales by the author, which is a pretty good amount considering that the book itself is less than 200 pages long. While these stories aren’t necessarily all qualifiers for “flash fiction”, they do share some similarities with the format in that the characters and plot have to be fully built within just a few pages. A majority of the time, with this one for me, Snyder absolutely nailed it.
I loved the blend of sci-fi, horror, and fantasy that the stories held – sometimes multiple genres within a single story. The first few stories are some of my favorites in the book, with really unique concepts that I loved reading. These stories were really original and felt perfect for the current age of shows like Black Mirror, which rely heavily on the scariness of the future, technology, and being human in an increasingly artificial world. Some of the tales were Lovecraftian in nature, although I did expect more of these given the overall title of the book.
The characters in each story were really diverse and most stories had themes that were mainly feminist in nature – I really appreciated these things, as you don’t often see them in horror collections, or even in general fiction. Told in different perspectives, there was no real repetition in Snyder’s writing, and each of her stories felt unique and whole on its own.
There was a bit of a lull for me partway through with one of the stories, and I’ll be honest about why. This may alienate some people, but I’ve always been honest in my reviews – completely, even if I lose followers for it.
Reading stories from perspectives of marginalized people, even in fiction, make me really uncomfortable when written by white people. I’ve seen some debate across social media about this, and I’m not here to defend my stance or change anyone’s mind. I understand that many people feel that, with fiction, a person should be able to write “whatever they want”, but I feel that this stance comes from a place of entitlement and privilege.
I just don’t enjoy reading about very real issues that have caused harm from real people still being marginalized today, written by someone who has never and will never experience it. As a reader, I would personally rather read these types of stories from people of color, who still deal with very real issues stemming from the societal prejudices behind these historical problems and situations.
This is absolutely nothing against the author here personally, or mentioned in an attempt to shame her in any way – I want that to be very clear! I am not the type to bash an author or person in a review unless the actual subject matter they’re talking about is disrespectful, and that isn’t the case here. I think the author is a great writer based on this collection, and overall, I enjoyed the collection quite a bit!
I am definitely looking forward to reading more by the author. I loved the variety that was offered not just in genres, but characters and narratives. When adding this book to my shelves on Goodreads, I noticed that she had other collections published previously, and I’m eager to check those out. I’d recommend this one to those who are open to more than just horror in their reading – fantasy and science fiction have a big hand in making this collection a great one, so don’t go in expecting a single boxed genre! And enjoy!
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