I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.25 Gates of Hell by Brian Keene
Published by Burwick Anthologies on October 29 2020
Genres: Horror, Horror Anthologies
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Once, in another age, the gates that guard the fiery inferno that is hell creaked open in the dark and unleashed, upon this earth, every drop of terror that could be wrung from beyond them. A group of storytellers banded together to chronicle the tsunami of evil that ensued. Their scribblings depicted events so horrific, the manuscript was hidden away.
Now, dear reader, you seem to have stumbled upon it.
And you have opened it.
You must reap what you have sown.
Come, step into the pages. See firsthand what hell is capable of.
Of course, just know, you won’t last long enough to scream.
25 Gates of Hell is perpetually locked in the darkness. It is a frank and conclusive investigation of how dark humanity can be. 25 stories from 25 writers, each one steeping into the fires of hell unsure of whether they could escape again. As the title suggests, each story is focussed on the opening of hells gates and the implications upon mankind. Each one is gritty, dark as hell and it kept my black heart beating for a little while longer.
25 Gates of Hell reminded me just why I love Horror short stories. They are quick to the point, devastating to the point of despair and they can display all branches of emotion, something that other genres just struggle to display effectively. This anthology was so brutal and bloody that I could almost taste the metal in my mouth, hear the fear from all around me and my breath quicken with the anticipation of what would come next. The urgency was palpable, and every author had adept ways of hooking me from the first sentence. If you expect this to be the kind of book that you can pick up over the course of a few days, forget about it…this beast will consume and be consumed within hours.
A Child’s Game by Brandon Scott was the perfect opening to this fear inducing anthology. This tale is enough to permanently instil the cold dread into every reader but the fact that it was centred around a young child committing such atrocities made a dark shadow cross over my heart. The gore and the imagery was so horrifically sublime that I knew it would become a favourite.
The Ecstasy of Gold by Jill Girardi not only blew my socks off, but it took the skin with it too. How many people do you know that have had an undeniably hard start to life, and how many people would fall into the trap of doing anything for vast amounts of riches. A tale that examines humankinds’ affinity for greed and how that impacts everyone around them. A pickpocket that quite possibly has stolen the motherload and gotten more than he bargained for.
I’ll Come Back to You by Brian Keene was probably my favourite. Short, sharp and a blade that happily cut you from ear to ear. You immediately got a correlation to mental health and the human brains consciousness and how it loves to trick you in all lights. Cleverly written but with enough left hanging for you to sit in questioning silence.
Hook, Line and Sinker by Janine Pipe was just perfection. If anyone were to utter the words that women can’t write extreme gore – Pipe would tear them a new one and display it as art! The narrative was snappy, with enough elements of wit and horror to make it personable. It gave me the chills and flashbacks to old 80’s slasher movie vibes. A serial killer with a hook for a hand – winning!