Book Review: A Midnight Clear by Various Authors (Anthology)

TW: Death, depictions of Hell I love a character-driven story, so I oftentimes struggle with anthologies or short stories. I fe...

TW: Death, depictions of Hell

I love a character-driven story, so I oftentimes struggle with anthologies or short stories. I feel like I don't have the time to get to know the characters in a way where I can connect with them within the story. Because of this, I'm hesitant about reading anthologies. But when Black Spot Books offered me a copy of A Midnight Clear to review, it sounded quite too interesting to pass up. Plus it was short enough to add in between all the other books I'm trying to read by the end of the year.

This anthology shares six not-so-spirited holiday stories. The stories range from more realistic to very fantastical - from mysterious meetings at The Stanley Hotel (yes, that one), to a wolf in human's clothing, to Santa's elves on trial for murder. These aren't merry, wonderful holidays stories. Instead they're quite dark. 

This anthology of stories was not what I was expecting. While these are dark stories, I expected them to be a bit darker and maybe more adult. Though they included demons, murder, and other not-nice topics, the writing and stories seemed pretty juvenile. Seriously, the first story is about Santa's elves, with names like Poundcake. One of the stories was an alternate universe where people were wolves, and humans were creatures.

The story I enjoyed the most and found most memorable was The Poetry of Snow and Stars, which was set in Colorado at The Stanley and gives some throwback to The Shining, which I obviously appreciated. Most of the other stories I had a difficult time getting into, and a few of them were downright forgettable - I literally had to skim back through the book to write the short synopsis above.

"Modern society, for all its pretended openness and shunning of taboos, remained deeply uncomfortable with emotional honesty, with the transparency of basic humanity." - The Poetry of Snow and Stars in A Midnight Clear, Cassondra Windwalker

The anthology was mostly interesting. It was a new take on holiday reading. But overall, it was forgettable. Not great. Not bad. I had no strong feelings about it either way. I would've loved if it had been a bit less juvenile in its story-telling. I was hoping for some good ole' scares, but these leaned more towards goofy, in my opinion.

Goodreads rating: ★★★☆☆

*I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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