Hex Life – Edited By Christopher Golden And Rachel Autumn Deering
Reviewed by Michelle Enelen
This book made its debut at the beginning of the Halloween season, but it is not a holiday read. Witches are forever, despite people trying to erase them in countless ways for centuries. They have populated folklore, given rise to hysteria, and given hope to the sick. There are stories explaining why witches are necessary; how else would your water boil and who would make those perfect cookies? You need one as a midwife, you need one to put your significant other on a shorter leash, unless it was her that bewitched your partner! Some witches eat children, others save them from neglectful parents or engrossingly gross perverts. Most importantly, who would balance the power. Witches.
These stories include getting even, staying on top, protecting your family, and finding out who you truly are. There are eighteen entries by nineteen different people, at the end of the book you get an author’s bio, many are filled with awards and earlier works. I was glad to see these included. After reading the stories I was able to match the bios together, giving me some interesting background and adding authors to my list of wanted reads. One of the authors, Rachael Autumn Deering is also a Hex Life editor.
There is a long timeline between these covers. There are kings, kingpins, little girls on the run, and even a poisoned apple (with a twist). Two of my favorite stories involve animals. The first is called WIDOWS WALK by Angela Slatter, this story really got to me and made me want to be the main character, despite her unfortunate home life. The witches in this story are perfectly balanced between their caring capacities and their revenge. They know some people can be shown the right path, eventually. The ones that cannot, well sometimes they just disappear.
The second story to pull on my heartstrings is called GOLD AMONG THE BLACK by Alma Katsu. This one has a big, strong, black dog who rises above the rest. It reminded me of my own big beast. He was born on Halloween 2013 and I swear he used to be all black with white tuxedo markings on his chest. Over the years he’s developed golden streaks and I’m not sure if it’s to match my favorite football jersey or if nature has given him a gold stripe for every time, he’s been a hero. He was a rescue dog, though in reality he is the one doing the rescuing over and over again. I read this story and like all cold-blooded horror enthusiasts, I had to hug my dog. I know it’s true, we all spit in the trail-mix, ignore people’s pleas for help, and eat still-beating hearts for breakfast, but our pets, well that’s just different. We love our pets! Even witches have familiars. You might see yourself in this story.
My third favorite, BLESS YOUR HEART by Hillary Monhan, is both protection and sweet revenge. I may as well tell you straight out, I really like a great revenge story. This one was creative and yet so normal. Bullies are far too common as are parents trying like hell to protect their kids. You’re going to like this story. The other stand out is called HAINT ME TOO by Chesya Burke. Evil in the eyes of some, Savior to others. This story made me feel helpless and angry. It was not the ghost that scared me. The evil was sickeningly tangible, but the little girl… Stop! I can’t tell you more. You need to read this story yourself.
Go ahead and read the whole book! There is something for everyone to enjoy here. Candy isn’t just for Halloween, neither are witches so treat yourself to this book.
Brand-new stories of witches and witchcraft written by popular female fantasy authors, including Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon writing in their own bestselling universes!
These are tales of witches, wickedness, evil and cunning. Stories of disruption and subversion by today’s women you should fear. Including Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon writing in their own bestselling universes.
These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat.
Raised by Pentecostal preachers, horror was not a readily available commodity. As her love grew, her parents were occasionally summoned to school to talk about book reports and various projects that weren’t quite appropriate for her age. They were lost as to where she’d gotten such “trash”. Luckily for her, there was a librarian that understood her insatiable hunger for darker worlds. Even now, if she could, she’d live among the stacks.
Her penchant grew to include ghastly movies and music, which she’ll happily share with anyone listening. The love of horror continues with her favorite videogame, “House of the Dead, Overkill”. She’s not the best gamer, except when defending herself against the wrong monsters. Headshots are her speciality.