Review by CJ
Kelley Armstrong, Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Sarah Lotz, Josh Malerman, Jeff Strand, James A. Moore, Sarah Langan, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Hand, Jonathan Maberry, John M. McIlveen, Angela Slatter, Tim Lebbon, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, Christopher Golden
Hark! the Herald Angels Scream features 18 twisted Christmas tales by authors from around the world.
As with most anthologies, Hark! the Herald Angels Scream had some great tales and some that I had to skip past because I just didn’t dig them. I would say about a third of the stories in the collection were ones I really enjoyed and the remaining two thirds ranged from pretty average to downright dull. This is of course pretty subjective and the stories I most enjoyed may be the least enjoyable for others, conversely others may love the stories I skipped through.
Personally, my favourite stories were Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow, Mistletoe and Holly, The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel, Yankee Swap, Honor Thy Mother, and The Hangman’s Bride. My absolute favourite, The Hangman’s Bride, was actually the last story in the collection. I thought this was a pretty risky move as some of the stories before it were pretty weak and I almost didn’t make it to the end of the collection several times. I’m glad I decided to only skim the stories that bored me though and not give up on the whole collection.
I would recommend Hark! the Herald Angels Scream to people looking for a yuletide scare. I would add this disclaimer: if one of the stories isn’t grabbing you, try the next one sooner rather than later. As with most collections, don’t expect every story to be one you will love.