For those of you who are familiar with Amanda Pillar’s work on anthologies, it will come as no surprise that she has done it again and produced an anthology well worth your time. BLOODSTONES (Ticonderoga Publications, Nov 2012) is an anthology of unusual monsters in both familiar and unfamiliar places.
Shunning the familiar vampires, werewolves, and zombies, the BLOODSTONES anthology looks to the ignored monsters—the toyol, the gorgon, the foam born—for its stories of survival, love, and revenge. Not every story knocks it out of the park but every story is intriguing in a way that sinks its claws in and doesn’t let go. When I made my list of standout stories, I listed half of the anthology. Cutting them down to the top three was difficult work.
My top three standouts are: “Euryale” by Nicole Murphy in which one of Medusa’s sisters must teach one of her progeny a very hard lesson about living with humans. The next is “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by MD Curelas in which a bean-sidhe’s need for belief leads her to kill to create a new believer. The third is “Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton in which a shaman teaches us all that bones are love.
These three stories are the ones that stuck with me long after I closed the book. Especially “Sanaa’s Army.” I can’t tell you why. Each of these stories struck a personal chord within me and that, I believe, is the strength of BLOODSTONES. Each story has a personal touch that allows the reader to identify with the monster’s tale.
From experience, I know that Amanda Pillar takes each story in her anthologies and runs it through the editorial wringer until it is as good as she can make it. That care and attention to detail shows in this anthology as well. BLOODSTONES is a nice mix of emotion and the macabre and is a lovely, chilling read. Buy this anthology. You won’t regret it.