As the night devours us - by Villimey Mist
I’d already read Villimey’s Nocturnal series parts 1 and 2, and a couple of her shorts in other anthologies (notably “Tupperware Party” in the Slash Her anthology from Kandisha Press, edited by the lovely Janine Pipe and the equally lovely Jill Girardi), so when I saw a call for ARC readers out on Twitter, I jumped at the chance. How was a book of shorts going to hold up, when written by an author whom I thought of primarily as a novelist…?
The collection of 15 shorts is, I’m pleased to report, well balanced, polished, entertaining, and in some cases brilliant. I don’t bandy that word around a lot, so let me repeat and clarify myself - the concept, the idea, the execution of “Nails” is, Villimey, brilliant. I loved it. Absolute highlight of the collection. What a fantastic premise - taking something so simple as The tooth fairy and working your own spin on that theme – well, I was just hanging on every word in that short. It couldn’t get weird enough, and as someone that has a phobia of choking on fingernails (don’t ask), this had me repulsed in the best type of way.
“Shed the night’s skin” was great, the sense of completion in that short really shone, and the reveal a great twist, it went in such an unexpected direction, it played perfectly.
There’s one story here that was based on a somewhat more abstract foundation, an Icelandic tradition at Christmas, but what it lacked in believability (just for me, perhaps) was made up for in cold-hearted gore and clinical observation. The destruction - the violence was wonderfully presented, perfectly executed. There’s no doubt Mist is in her prime here.
Whilst it would be easy to focus here on more of the collection, “Hope” and “Kokkuri-san” are easy contenders for highlights, the fact is that what you are buying here is not a collection of shorts, it’s Villimey’s voice. Each story here sells itself on diversity, topic, outcome, and shock value, and that’s all well and good. Still, actually, when you dig deep enough, when you ruminate and consider what it was that sold the entire collection, you come back to the same ingredient that makes her Nocturnal series so readable (and that from a reader that doesn’t really like vampires) – Villimey’s voice itself. At times soothing, at other times cold, clinical and relentless, it remains thrilling, absorbing, informative and deadly.
I liked this collection. It’s getting 4 ⭐ ‘s from me, and I can’t wait to dig into the third part of Villimey’s Nocturnal quartet this summer.
I received an ARC of the collection. This in no way influenced my honest opinion of the material received. My thanks to the author and publishing house for my digital copy.
You can buy "As the night..." by clicking on the appropriate Amazon link, below:
You can visit Villimey's website, HERE.
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