https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088P7HBPH and below.
"Mostly Good Stories but Awful Editing. One thing I love about this anthology is that, even though the stories involve making deals with demons and/or the Devil, they don’t glamourize it. Sure, it seems like some of the stories can have good endings or solutions, but they always backfire.
Working with evil ALWAYS backfires."
One thing that truly bothers me with the anthology, and it honestly made me drop a star in rating, is how this is edited. Some stories are better edited than others, but you’d think with TWO editors, there would be a lot more consistency. Formatting isn’t consistent (like paragraphs will either be shoved together or quite a bit farther apart), there is sometimes colored font where there shouldn’t be, and there are a lot of grammatical and/or spelling errors in some of the stories. I’m appalled by it. What the heck did these editors even do?
“The Resurrection and the Life” - An interesting historical piece about a physician named Alec Duffy whose sister is ended up being murdered. He finds that the [Hippocratic] oath can’t always be followed...especially when one seems to have a demoness on their side. (3.75/5)
“The Black Rock” - This is also interesting and shows that you can’t just give evil away; someone has to be willing to take it...even if they don’t recognize the evil. Desperation is a real downfall. This is one that kind of had stilted writing (this was an author thing, not an editor one). (3/5)
“Genevieve and the Owl” - This was a weird twist on Cinderella (3.5/5)
“Saddie’s Choice” - OK but why did the editors not spell the title correctly?! This is a longer story on how running away from a contract gets you nowhere but dead and damned. I really liked some of the words on what it means to DIE vs. continue to live in the afterlife (4.5/5)
“Mary’s Story” - A historical piece on Mary Lincoln writing a letter about how she forced Abraham to sell his soul for “victory.” (2/5)
“Face It” - A too-short story (this would be much better fleshed out, no pun intended, but I hope Carol Gyzander does create a longer story from this in the future, for her sake) about how rash judgements can hurt more than help...and sometimes even repenting, if too late (and I’m not talking Confession), doesn’t prevent your fate. (3.5/5)
“The Plan” - Cops investigate a murder scene of a man who was well-liked at a local church. A former member knows better though, and exposes the demon within the other man. I loved the end with the man’s son is super awesome. (4/5)
“Identity Theft” - This is, by far, my favorite. It swaps between past and present extremely well. While I don’t like how the lead is an alcoholic, she found herself somehow damning herself without signing a contract, and has developed the ability to see beyond the veil if someone with a certain contract dies in front of her. There is actually hope there at the end, if she decides one day to fully say ‘no’ But there is a lot of teasing about the WRONG she has witnessed and, in a macabre way, I want to know what it is. (5/5)
“Dante’s Tenth” - Dante, Arizona is a booming town with a lot of new people searching for silver. A reporter falls for a beautiful girl who seduces him after one day and then shows him what she really is. Amidst the demon stories, a vampire one threw me off, but it wasn’t bad, just...pretty abrupt and fast-paced. (4/5)
“The Devil You Know” - A fairly in-depth eerie story about how selfishness leads people to do awful things, like wishing for a child to be dead in lieu of her parents. We are not meant to like the main character, and I like that his behavior is pointed out by multiple people. And he is still not repentant. (4.5/5)
“Here Comes Mr. Herribone” - Super weird story about a costumed head actually being a creature of its own. (3/5)
“Good Samuel Rittan” - This is super short and disturbing. (1/5)
“The Known and True Story of the Djin” - This is one of the worst edited, to where it doesn’t even seem like the author edited their own work (for example, “majesty” is spelled “magesty” TWICE). The story has potential but then the writing felt insanely rushed and--even with the magic--a lot of things happened that felt forced and irrational. There is some neat history to the story’s events but even that didn’t capture me enough. (3/5)"
Thanks again, J. Marts.