Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell, by Ballingrud Rothdas book review RSS
2.0 Stars

hell is forever and it's meant to suck a lot

Like Throne of Bones, but for NPR listeners. There's a lot of grossness and gore, but it comes off as somewhat cartoonish and oddly safe. It's not bad exactly, and it does successfully make you feel a bit off, like you ate some slightly bad chili, but the events are not placed out there with the sort of skill and panache that you need to pull off a really good or gross horror story. E.g. compare to someone like Laird Barron, who, for all his faults, has a real physicality to his writing and can genuinely make you feel ill and sick to your stomache with his memorable horror stories. Like you ate some bad chili that was really off. Oh right and if it wasn't clear yet these are not stories of horror-adventure, where the characters have a chance to fight and survive, but rather stories of horror-they-are-fucked where none of the MCs have the capacity/autonomy to really do anything about the events happening to them. Kind of a depressing genre really.

A bit about the details of the stories themselves: They're Sunless-Sea/Fallen London type stories of high magic and dark urban fantasy; a small town colonized by ghouls and their ghoul religion, an infectious imp that falls in love/hate with the young diabolist that inherited it, a librarian sent to retrieve a hell-tongue, a sailing ship voyage to the border of hell, etc. etc. The usual stuff.