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Rituals and Grimoires

Given that I am mainly a Horror genre reader, I try to keep an open mind with regards other subject matters and occasionally read books that are firmly in other genres but which lean in towards Horror. With that in mind, when the call came from Quill and Crow for their anthology of Gothic tales of Magic and Wizardry, I grabbed a copy and tried to open my mind once more to that fantasy element.

I’ll say straight up, this wasn’t my thing. The leaning to Horror was in some cases more apparent than others, but this anthology is dark fantasy orientated. There were some stories in here that I liked, that had a rawer edge to them, and I’ll call them out below. Interspersed between all the shorts, are poems that are “spells” of one sort or another. I liked the idea of them, but I also have to say I’m also not too much into poetry – they were there, I read them, I couldn’t say any of them struck a chord in me – and they were a nice break from the shorts, but ultimately I think for me, as a reader, they didn’t add or detract from the shorts.

The opener, Liber/Mortis by Reagan Olivia, was actually a strong short, a great pov (that of the grimoire itself), and set the rest of the book up wonderfully. I hate to say it, but it raised my expectations for the rest of the book, that weren’t really realized.

Madness and Mercy by Nicola Kapron was perhaps the other story that got near to my tastes, again, a little more fantasy based than I like, but the idea of a dead boy haunting a village certainly scored points, as did the excellent voice in the story. It could have been more violent, brutal, or gory from my perspective, but I fully accept that’s my tastes manifesting here.

There was one story I DNF’d (it was full-on fantasy and I tried, I really did, but I had to stop), the rest were all well enough written, they just played to the wrong crowd – Vampires and warlocks and witches aren’t news to me.

I enjoyed the departure from my normal reading style, and the editing (as ever) from Quill and Crow was excellent – very clean work – but ultimately this was entertaining enough but nothing more.

3 out of 5 ⭐'s.


You can buy Rituals and Grimoires, by clicking the appropriate Amazon link below:


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