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Reviewed by Robin Goodfellow for Readers' Favorite
A Hell For All Seasons by Emiliya Ahmadova is a collection of horrific tales about the people who managed to escape damnation. From accidentally bartering your soul to a demon, to breaking up marriages if only for the sake of your vanity, to even being bullied in class, these short stories are rife with meticulous detail and imagery. There is a frightening satisfaction in reading these stories; a majority of the characters endeavor to clean up their sins, either through a simple prayer or running from the ghost chasing them. Ahmadova intertwines frightening monsters with a simple, yet complex narrative that reminds readers of the morals humanity tends to leave behind and, eventually, forget.
While I enjoyed the stories in this collection, one that resonated with me the most was Revenge, a story about a young girl who was bullied at school because her mother had, albeit unknowingly, embarrassed her. The way Katrina handled the predicament was wonderful, so very reminiscent of Stephen King’s Carrie, alongside the many articles of what happens when prey is cornered. Personally, I wanted Lisa and those other kids to suffer, but alas, Katrina is kinder than I am. Repetitive themes of damnation and redemption are also found throughout these stories, which help cultivate a sort of religious feel to them. Each character faced some sort of vice, with the stories an embodiment of the seven deadly sins. While the theme of damnation could be a bit repetitive at times, it was still incredibly well done. I would thus recommend this book to those who enjoyed Raven’s Peak by Lincoln Cole and Fallen Men by Brian O’ Hare.