I recently interviewed Jessa Forest about her writing (here), and I ended up feeling like her stories would be right up my alley.
Character driven, grimdark urban fantasy with werewolves.
Yep. Perhaps not always, and perhaps not all books, but on the right day, and in the right mood, that’s just my thing.
The Slaughter Chronicles is a collection of five short stories about Regina Slaughter, who’s a werewolf. When the first story begins, she’s eleven years old, and she’s spent the last two years locked up in an observation cell in a top secret research facility. At the end of the fifth story, two years, plenty of deaths, and buckets of blood later, she’s a fledgling monster hunter within the same organization that originally kept her locked up for study.
It’s not pretty.
What I’ll whine about
Info dumps. With short stories, there’s not much room for world building, and the author has chosen to get around this by releasing much of it in the form of primers, as if from a monster hunter manual. In addition, one of the short stories is largely about Regina studying the hidden world she’s now part of and most of that is taken up by information about the monsters and organizations hiding in the shadows.
It’s interesting enough, but I also couldn’t help but feel it wasn’t really needed. I’d have understood the stories anyway.
What I’ll gush about
Like a surge of blood and guts spilled across a concrete floor, this is one of the more gruesome books I’ve read. I’m not sure that means much, as I don’t often go for that kind of thing, but it felt like there was a lot.
Regina. it may seem disturbing and unsettling to put an eleven year old girl in a grimdark werewolf story, and it is (it’s probably the whole point). At the same time, I couldn’t not keep reading. There’s something about stories like this that pulls me in and doesn’t let go. A grim, macabre fascination with the dark. A feast for my inner goth.
The humor. It’s not all dark and grim and bloody. Lurking in the corners are a few good laughs, just waiting to sneak up and stab you in the back.
If you want something short, dark, and bloody, this will see you through the night.