I’m going to be embarassingly honest here, folks: romance in horror – or “horromance” as it’s called ~in bookish circles~ – has been one of my favorite things since I was a weirdo goth teen discovering smutty vampire books for the first time. There’s just something incredibly intoxicating about a well-done mixture of danger and sex, and lots of people think so, at least judging by the overwhelming amount of Sexy Candyman and Sexy Freddy Kruger costumes we’ve seen during Halloween season.
Still, in horror fiction, it’s really hard to see the combination done right. Too often we’re getting unrealistic depictions of women written by men who don’t seem to have ever touched one, or really awful and triggering rape scenes that dudebros just can’t seem to leave out of their ~works of genre-defying art~ – I hope my sarcasm is being conveyed there, ’cause ew.
When I heard about Sonora Taylor’s newest collection, and that it’d focus on love and sex within a horror lens, I was SO excited to read it. I’ve loved Taylor’s writing in both short and longer formats in the past, and so when she reached out to offer a review copy for me, I couldn’t hit the ‘reply’ button fast enough!
This didn’t disappoint at all – in fact, it went above and beyond my expectations. I’m always a little nervous going into short story collections because they can be SO hit or miss for me – and a lot of people, judging by what some of my reviewer pals have had to say! But I didn’t have anything to worry about ’cause each one of these was an absolute treat to read – both for the spicier bits, but also for how truly creepy some of it was!
The pieces in this range in length, and in format, too. We have some really short things like Petal, Page, Piel – as a book collector, I absolutely loved how macabre this was. There’s also a bit of poetry in the collection, which I always love seeing. Poems aren’t for everyone, but they definitely work for me, and Metal Meticulous was great! There are a few in the collection I’d read before – The Parrot (a short I’d read in a previous anthology) and ‘Tis Better to Want (I had the pleasure of drawing the cover for this one when it was digitally released last Christmas as a standalone story, still so proud of that, haha!). Upon reread, they were just as good the second time. Another fun one was The Sharps, which I think would make a really fun short film – those creatures, ahh!! And lots of blood to satisfy those horror-lovers out there, too!
Overall, this is a stunning addition to the “horrormance” genre, and to horror short story collections in general. Super fun, quick to read, and that cover – spicy, whooooo! Love it so much, and will continue reading anything by Sonora Taylor in the future – she’s got so much range, folks!!
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