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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
"Do you fear yourself as you truly are? Come. I am the Lich beyond name. Come. Join the Coven. There is much to be done." Mikayla Meyers invites readers to let their imaginations wander in the eerie world of The Farmhouse (Country Tales of Terror). Ten stories are set in the Maryland countryside, showcasing ordinary people with common challenges in life that turn into something grotesque and, in some parts, unexplainable. In Home, a 38-year-old teacher inherits his deceased father's house, reminiscing his challenging childhood as his anxiety conjures up frightening hallucinations. In The Lich, a couple finds an ancient creature half-buried in the earth; one of them makes a life-changing decision. The story continues in The Witch, as a man discovers the reason behind his older brother's downfall to madness and proceeds to The Coven, where a young girl finds her place in a new 'family' that makes her feel wanted.
The characters are well-developed and memorable, always a commendable feat in short stories. However, the imaginative premises and plots stand out more, and resolutions are not all easily given. A young college student discovers that her cousin has a shocking secret in Doppelgangers, a fascinating story that touches on familial relationships and the burden of expectations. Schneller Geis is one of my favorites; a woman survived a vicious Snallygaster's attack, a half-bird and half-reptile mythical monster that sucks the blood of its victims. Yet, even the Snallygaster couldn't measure up to the protagonist's mother, who is the ultimate winner in this survival tale. Disturbing it may be but I rooted for the bullied teen who got his revenge in The Goatman, and Skinwalker is a cautionary tale that someone's appearance can deceive many. The Message is a fitting end to the anthology, and further permeates the psychological, metaphorical, and spooky world of The Farmhouse. With Mikayla Meyers's engaging narrative and subtle poetic flair, Country Tales of Terror is shrewdly disturbing, a delight for horror and supernatural fiction fans.