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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
The eclectic Wrath and Ruin (A Chilling Anthology) by C.W. Briar starts with Escape from Wrath and Ruin, in which a young, amnesiac protagonist in a strange wasteland learns that deception is what he should fear most, not beasts nor a ruthless hunter. This is followed by Lust, where a couple - Dave and Brynn - has less spark and more spat in their relationship since their marriage four years ago. One day, a beautiful, raven-haired girl catches Dave’s eye. Curiosity turns into obsession, which eventually leads to a horrifying revelation. This is one of my favorites, as it reminds me of several urban myths of my local hometown.
The pace differs from story to story－moderate to fast. Some might feel a bit slow to readers who like an instant hook at the beginning. That said, this doesn’t put a dent in the overall pace. Different themes and settings are also explored deftly with a clear narrative. Sci-fi horror lovers will be delighted to know that Briar also takes the collection to space with The Other Edge, highlighting the inferiority of humans versus alien tech. Another favorite of mine, The Case of Elizabeth Flora, takes place in 1919, where a shipwreck survivor told her doctor a remarkable tale. Characterization is solid, and the ones that stand out for me are Gideon Wells and Rosette Drumlin in Ghoul: A Gideon Wells Story. The last story in the book, The Parable on Thorne Ave, reminds readers of another kind of horror that could happen to a family. Strange beasts, a sinister painting, eccentric monster hunters, alchemy, and more－Briar’s Wrath and Ruin is definitely a treat for horror fans. It’s truly a ‘chilling’ anthology.