Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite
A Darker Demise: A Compilation of Dark Shorts by MC Ryder is an anthology with weighty themes. The first story titled A Unity of Balance is about Imilla, a witch who has chosen to practice dark magic, and has struggled in life as a result of her decision. She later learned about the deception used to conceal the true nature of dark magic and its real power of being useful and even necessary for an important prophecy. My Salvation is about a formidable vampire named Marcus who made a decision that would lead to the fulfillment of the same prophecy, which he believed is connected to his salvation. The final story called The Path to Redemption is about Nadine, who seems to be trapped in an in-between state as a vampire stuck between heaven and hell. She still needs a lot of introspection to discover her true path after the fulfillment of the long-awaited prophecy.
MC Ryder has crafted an interwoven collection of dark short stories that don't shy away from depicting dominance, violence, bloodshed, mortality, or death. Younger readers can be drawn to the intriguing characters they encounter, as each story features a protagonist who is the rebel, the black sheep, or the defiant one. The plots can also be a bit complicated and fast-paced, but all seem to involve achieving self-realization, the discovery of the full potential of one's soul, or how to be your best, whether you're a human, vampire, or wolf. The main theme is love, which in some cases can be selectively interpreted as something that it is not. The tales are set in a fantasy world with some improbable yet striking mental images whose tone mirrors what's going on inside a young person's mind. A Darker Demise is a feast for fans of the author who are familiar with her captivating writing style. They will enjoy the rollercoaster ride of unpredictable plot twists. The anthology is an exciting read, especially for young adults who are into supernatural, unearthly tales of drama, action, and romance.