Cover Image: Dark Stars

Dark Stars

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Member Reviews

I am SUCH a scaredy cat, so you might be thinking... why are you reading a horror book? This anthology is perfect for scaredy cats like me because you get a collection of bite sized stories that are just scary enough. While not all of them were my cup of tea, my personal favorites were Volcano, The Sanguintalist, and Enough for Hunger and Enough for Hate. This book has a variety of tropes from vampires to serial killers, with added elements of dizzying magical realism. Every single story is completely different, so it's a great start for burgeoning horror fans.

*Thank you to Macmillan Tor/Forge for the ARC in exchange for my honest review*
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Anthologies always tend to be a mixed bag of good and not so good. Even with the best the horror genre has to offer, sometimes stories fall flat. 
This, in my opinion, is due to the short story troupe. Not everyone can think of an execute a well-rounded and satisfying story in under 100 pages. Most times, something was feels or truly does get left out.
Dark Stars is no exception. Bringing with it a lot of memberable stories, while some fell flat. 
What represents a goof Anthology to me - When the majority are well written and entertaining. 
I felt this anthology did that and managed to keep my interest with the majority of short stories included.
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It's been a long time, years in fact, since I've read an anthology as consistently good as this one. They're almost always a mixed bag, the question is usually: what's the ratio of stories that I liked or loved, to stories that were underwhelming or bad. Thankfully, editor John F.D. Taff compiled the former.

Another great aspect is the length of the stories. There's actually enough meat on the bones of these stories that characters have time to develop, and plots have time to unravel without just being a premise to a punchline. 

Stand-outs include; an unnerving, "The Attentionist" by Caroline Kepnes, a great Jackson-esque/Midsommer vibey "Papa Eye" by Priya Sharma, the stellar Stephen Graham Jones with the wonderfully creepy "All the Things He Called Memories,"  "The Sanguintalist," a wonderful tour-de-force of detective noir horror by Gemma Files,. Josh Malerman's sardonically funny "Mrs. Addison's Nest," and John Langan's exceptional contribution to the Wendigo mythos "Enough for Hunger and Enough for Hate."

Taff says in the Afterword that the late, great editor Kirby McCauley was an influence on this book. Anyone who's read "Dark Forces" remembers that legendary anthology (and the debut of Stephen King's "The Mist"). 
After reading this, I think he succeeded in conjuring McCauley's spirit.
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This is an outstanding collection of horror stories, ranging from body horror to psychological horror.  With stories from Stephen Graham Jones, Priya Sharma, Usman T. Malik, Caroline Kepnes, and Alma Katsu, the collection has tales reminiscent of M. R. James and James Hynes as well as new takes on old lore, including vampires and wendigo. I loved the brilliance with which these stories have been crafted, never showing the reader too much until just the right moment, letting the reader understand what's going on before a protagonist does, or making breakneck--almost literally--twists that surprise, delight, and horrify.
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Dark Stars is a collection of 12 different horror short stories. Stalkers, spirits, vampires, and monsters haunt these pages. I had a great time reading this collection, and each story was unique and kept me intrigued. 

My top three favorites out of the group had to be: 

1. Papa Eye by Priya Sharma
Ravi goes to live on an island called Papa Eye, after being recommend to her by her therapist. Papa Eye holds a lot of mystery and what will Ravi find after she gets there?

I enjoyed the mystery around what was happening on Papa Eye. I usually tend to love twists when everyone but the main character knows what's going on. I could definitely see this being adapted into a movie. 

2. All the Things He Called Memories by Stephen Graham Jones
Bo and Marcy are stuck together working from home. Weird things start happening to Bo...again. Things that he thought were just old memories. Bo needs to find out if what he's experiencing is realโ€”will he find the source of his resurfaced weird experiences? 

The ending of this story thoroughly creeped me out. It was a page turner for me as well. I just had to know why Bo was experiencing the weirdness again. 

3. The Familiar's Assistant by Alma Katsu
Eric has found the vampire's house. Will he be welcomed or will he be killed?

I think this story was unique to other vampire stories I've read in the past. The ending took me a little by surprise, but I like how it ended with Eric just waiting at the door.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the ARC!
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This was an excellently collected group of stories, that like the foreword suggests, stretches the genre of horror to its very limits. The last story was by far my favorite, but there really wasn't a bad story in the entire book. Everything from existential dread to outright things that go bump in the night, this was a spooky and satisfying read.
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When you really want to see horror shine, you reach for a book of short storiesโ€ฆ and if you pick up ๐——๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ธ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜€ it will not disappoint.

This anthology features some of the best horror authors in todayโ€™s market, it is a wonderful showcase of the diversity of the genre and pure entertainment for any horror buff. I had an excellent time kicking back with some of my favorite authors as well as adding new ones to the list.

Each story is unique, all touching on thought provoking and compelling themes. Although each is very different than the other, the all fit together in a seamless flow. 

Iโ€™m happy to say I enjoyed all the stories, but in my eyes, the stand out stars included: 

โญ๏ธ๐˜ˆ ๐˜“๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜•๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด

๐Ÿ–ค๐˜ˆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ด ๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜Š๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜”๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ด

โญ๏ธ๐˜›๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ ๐˜™๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜‰๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด

๐Ÿ–ค๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ณโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ˆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต 

โญ๏ธ๐˜š๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜‰๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ข ๐˜Š๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜‹๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ

๐Ÿ–ค๐˜Œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜Œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ

If youโ€™re looking for a dark read to leave your mind feeling well after the lights go out I highly recommend picking up Dark Stars.

Thank you @netgalley @tornightfire and all the fabulous authors behind this great anthology for the gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This book was a little outside my comfort zone. I don't typically do anthologies. However, I very much enjoyed reading Dark Stars. The stories were compelling and imaginative. This collection opened my eyes to new authors that I very much look forward to reading in the future.

Papa Eye by Priya Sharma and Challawa by Usman T. Malik were my favorites. Along with fitting into the horror theme of the book, they're both just written so beautifully. Of course, I enjoyed some stories more than others. My least favorite was probably Volcano by Livia Llewellyn. While still entertaining, I found it lacking and less compelling than the other stories included.

Overall, I'm glad to have read Dark Stars. It was fun and at times thought-provoking. It is not a reading experience that will linger with me but not every experience needs to.


Would I recommend this book to someone? Yes.
Would I read this again in the future? Unlikely.
Will I be adding this to my bookshelf? Probably not.
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Dark Stars features what is probably the strongest assembly of horror authors in a single volume in the history of the genre.  The focus of the theme for the anthology is somewhat diffuse, however, delving into the realms of dreams, altered perception and transcendental experience, leading to some less accessible contributions.  One thing you can count on, however, is original material.  Every story is legitimately scary and inventive; every author gets a chance to shine.

There's only one truly great story in Dark Stars, despite the impeccable choice of contributors, and it's from John Langan. The elements associated with the theme are right in his wheelhouse, so he delivers best.  Other standouts include Alma Katsu, Josh Malerman and Stephen Graham Jones, but if you're interested in this collection, you probably expected as much.  

Like any good anthology, there's a lot of variety here in terms of style and presentation, not to mention content of the stories.  That means that it's unlikely that they'll all strike the right chord for the reader, but chances are most of them will.  This is must-read for horror fans and for anyone who wants to get a sense of the best writing in the genre.

Thank you to Macmillan-Tor and NetGalley for the ARC.

โ€œThough my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.โ€ - Sarah Williams
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Wow. What a collection! So many really strong stories I donโ€™t even know where to startโ€ฆCaroline Kepnes starts it off with a nostalgic horror, very real in itโ€™s chilling conclusion. Stephen Graham Jonesโ€™ story was legitimately scary,  which I always appreciate. Alma Katsuโ€™s submission was classic, and dark, and so raw. It was a thrill to read. Malerman pulls off a deeply unsettling but intriguing story, reminiscent of IT. The very last story ends this anthology beautifully, with a brilliant bang.
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The stories in Dark Stars are great examples of how vast the range of horror can really be. Every story gave me something to sit and think about, and even had me going back to re-read a few.
 
This is a brand-new anthology featuring some of the biggest names in horror right now. The featured authors in Dark Stars are: Caroline Kepnes, Ramsey Campbell, Priya Sharma, Livia Llewellyn, Stephen Graham Jones, Chesya Burke, Alma Katsu, John F.D. Taff, Gemma Files, Josh Malerman, Usman T. Malik, and John Langan. All who provide horror stories that go beyond the scares.
 
I usually pick up an anthology when I see that an author I like is being included and the bonus is getting to read from other authors I might not be familiar with. With this anthology, though, all of the authors are big names in horror or dark fantasy. I usually keep horror anthologies to read a short story between books. This is an anthology I could sit and read the stories back to back without it getting repetitive because it isnโ€™t a themed anthology. Each story is completely its own.
 
My personal favorite stories from this anthology include: Chesya Burkeโ€™s โ€œTrinity River Bluesโ€, Gemma Filesโ€™s โ€œThe Sanguintalistโ€, John Langanโ€™s โ€œEnough for Hunger and Enough for hateโ€, Josh Malermanโ€™s โ€œMrs. Addisonโ€™s Nestโ€, and Usman T. Malikโ€™s โ€œChallawaโ€.
 
All of these authors continue to push the boundaries of what is considered horror and also how it can be every bit as literary and academic as other genres. I would recommend this anthology to people who love horror, of course, but also anyone who enjoys deep short stories that pack a lot to mull over.
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If you are a horror story lover as I am, this is the anthology to have on your shelf. Reading this is a serious time investment, but if you want a broad overview of the genre that is also in-depth, this is the book for you. 

ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley for providing an e-ARC of this book.
I love short fiction, and I love horror. This book is both! I have heard of and read most of the authors in this book, but some were new to me. It is always good to discover a new horror author.
Dark Stars is an anthology of horror stories compiled by John Taff. The stories told in this feel like modern-day fairy tales, with the traditionally gruesome endings included. The writers are obviously gifted in their craft. Each world is intricately detailed in such immersive writing. I'm not going to say that some stories are bad, they are all beautifully written. The pacing, however, isn't for everyone. By that, I mean me. I don't enjoy the sluggishness of some of these tales. I'm more fascinated by writing that just hits me with conflict consecutively one after the other.
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I love short fiction, and I love horror. This book is both! I have heard of and read most of the authors in this book, but some were new to me. It is always good to discover a new horror author.

Some of the stories were too slow moving for my taste. Although well written, I could have used a bit more action and actual horror. But with any collection of stories, some will resonate with you and some will not. My favorite stories of the group were Challawa (Usman T. Malik), Enough for Hunger and Enough for Hate (John Langan), and The Familiar's Assistant (Alma Katsu).

I received a free copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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This was a great collection of talented authors. I enjoyed every story. Read the whole book in one sitting.
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Short story collections are not generally my cup of tea. I'm much more or a novel type of guy. However recently I've been trying to branch out and read things that I'm normally not a fan of. This has resulted in me reading several YA novels (I feel like an idiot for being a snob, so many were so good!) several novellas (see my previous comment) and now this, a short story collection. Like any collection of storys, some are bound to resonant more then others. However none missed the mark completely. Though they differ in pace and tone all of the stories were pretty dark. Someone on Goodreads refered to them as modern day fairy tales, and I would agree. Particularly of note were the stories by Stephen Graham Jones and Ramsey Campbell. 4 out of 5!
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Dark Stars is an anthology of horror stories compiled by John Taff. The stories told in this feel like modern-day fairy tales, with the traditionally gruesome endings included. The writers are obviously gifted in their craft. Each world is intricately detailed in such immersive writing. I'm not going to say that some stories are bad, they are all beautifully written. The pacing, however, isn't for everyone. By that, I mean me. I don't enjoy the sluggishness of some of these tales. I'm more fascinated by writing that just hits me with conflict consecutively one after the other.

Other than that, the stories are still great. Excited for this to get more exposure. Possibly even adaptations! Definitely unopposed to reading these all over again.
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I loved this anthology. It was full of such a diverse group of authors across a wide array of horror sub genres. It was a quick read and incredibly enjoyable.
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I'll admit it. I am a horror movie fanatic (sorry, Mom!). Like, Scream is one of my comfort movies. Despite what I like now, growing up, I wasn't allowed to watch the movies that give you the creeps, so I made up for it by reading the stories that had the same effect. 

When I saw the description for Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror, I couldn't wait to read through the stories within. Folks, I was not disappointed. Each author creates a completely engrossing world, so realistic that you feel like you're trapped with the potential victims. I feel like this book isn't especially fast-paced, but what part of the horror genre really falls in that category? I loved that this collection features both big-name and lesser-known authors, as it allowed me to discover new writers to devote all my time and energy to reading. This anthology is not for the faint of heart, but you don't walk into a scary movie expecting it to be family-friendly. John Taff did a fantastic job of editing this collection, and Josh Malerman's introduction is not to be missed. There are so many different plots that any fan will find a story to choose as a favorite.

Trigger Warnings for Dark Stars: gore, cannibalism, stalking, and more. 

Overall rating: 4.75/5 (rounded to 5)

Dark Stars will be available for purchase on November 2nd. Be sure to add it to your Goodreads shelf and see where it's available to buy. Also, be sure to check out John F.D. Taffโ€™s website!
I was lucky enough to be able to read this Advanced Reader's Copy through my partnership with NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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The book is called Dark Stars and they mean it, because these are some of the brightest stars writing in the horror genre today. Although there can be some chilling gore, like a man running himself through a sewing machine and  another who happened to be a cannibal. (Is cannibalism a thing? The last book I read had a cannibal. Or is it my taste in books?) And, there are upholsterers in two different stories who come to bad ends. Moral: Do not take up upholstery as a hobby or occupation. It doesn't end well.

My favorite was Alma Katsu's story, The Vampire's Familiar, because I like a little humor in my horror. Although there is violence and gore in all the stories, after all it is horror, these stories  longer than "kill them fast and weep" horror and more literary than most horror. But, this is a good thing because the genre doesn't get much respect but with people like Stephen Graham Jones writing literary horror, the academics are starting to notice.

All are different, all have unexpected elements, one called Calwalla by Usman T. Malik is so atmospheric that I felt like I was smelling the incense and seeing the sites at a festival in Pakistan. Since the festival turns out to have a grisly end, the feelings that I was there were intense. I felt like a had to rinse the ashes off me when I was finished.

If you want a quick slash and burn, these are not quickies, but if you enjoy a slow burn with beautiful writing between the blood, you'll like Dark Stars.
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