Fiction - Short Story/Novela
75 Pages
Reviewed on 02/13/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Hibernaculum is a short story collection written by Kim McDougall. The title story is a post-apocalyptic vision of a devastated world surrounding the Dome, the last safe refuge for humanity. While many feel safe and sheltered inside the climate-controlled Dome, others can’t help but wonder about the outdoors, about the wildlife, the open spaces, and the adventures to be had out there. Leaving the Dome is strictly forbidden, but, for a price, there are guides called Coyotes, who will take those curious and reckless souls out into the wilds. Cross is one of those Coyotes, and his newest clients have no idea what their expedition will actually cost them. In Luminari, Devon is doomed to remain mortal, even though he's the beloved of his Rosalie, a lovely vampire. Some mortals can be turned; they're called the Chosen, but Devon is not one of them. He'll grow old, and Rosalie will move on. But there's one thing he can do for her first. Barbegazi takes place in a mountainous region where summers are short and the winters transform the area into a vast snowy world. Etien, son and heir of the Duke of Fabia, loves the cold air and challenging his wits, skill and strength against the steepest mountains and most perilous peaks. It was out there on the snowy steppes that he was really, truly alive.

Kim McDougall's short story collection, Hibernaculum, transports the reader into a succession of alternative worlds, each more fantastic and vivid than the last. I enjoyed the darkly humorous title story with its imaginative post-apocalyptic wildlife and naive tourists, and found it a welcome change from the all-too-common dystopian melange of flesh-eating zombies. McDougall presents an intriguing juxtaposition of the wild places as seen through a Coyote's eyes and those of his clients. Luminari is a poignant and lovely homage to classic vampire tales, and Devon's trip to the old country evoked memories of my first reading of Bram Stoker's Dracula. In Barbegazi, I felt the author saved her best for last. There's beauty and majesty in the Fabian highlands and their harsh and snowy winters, and Etien's coming of age is particularly stirring and profound. Hibernaculum is a thought-provoking, lyrical and gorgeously written work that is highly recommended.

Kayti Nika Raet

Hibernaculum is a collection of three short stories by Kim McDougall. Ranging from paranormal to dystopian, Hibernaculum is an eclectic blend of tales, starting first with the titular Hibernaculum. Billed as a post-apocalyptic thriller with a bite, it is set in a future where people are forced to live in the sanitized conditions of the Dome with no idea of what it's like outside. Only those burning to see the true Wild and not the fake vista the Dome provides set out with the help of a Safari guide. Filled with interesting twists and creepy crawly monsters, Hibernaculum is a story of the gruesomely unexpected. And one you'll think about long after it's over.

Luminari is a vampire romance, but in what quickly becomes McDougall's trademark, it does not follow the usual tropes of the genre. Devon is a human in love with a vampire, and though it's impossible for him to live forever he decided to risk his life to give her the gift of sunshine. Filled with questions of morality, it asks the reader what lengths they would go to for love.

Of the three, Barbegazi is the one I connected with the least. In a story set far in the past, Etien is a young man whose life changes when he encounters the White Death. Not truly dead, he becomes a being of ice and snow. There are legends of others like him far up in the mountains and he goes to search for them, hoping to be accepted. But can he shake his human ways or will they be the death of him in this world of snow and ice.

Kim McDougall does a good job of creating really unique and interesting tales. None went the way I expected and the twists were genuinely surprising. Fans of McDougall may have already read two of the three short stories, but for those that haven't, I think Hibernaculum is a good introduction to her work.

K.C. Finn

Hibernaculum is a collection of three short stories by author Kim McDougall, all in the speculative science fiction genre. The first story is the title’s Hibernaculum, where we meet Cross, an impromptu tour guide who makes a fortune taking his clients out into the Wild. Past the safe façade of the Dome, there lies the post apocalyptic wasteland of another world, and two hapless tourists are about to come face to face with it. In Luminari, story two, we see an unusual love quest as mortal Devon searches for the perfect gift for his beloved vampire lover Rosalie. And in the third story, Barbegazi, we meet a fascinating race of ice people, and a cursed fellow named Etien who desperately seeks their wisdom.

Kim McDougall has created a superbly inventive set of stories that are sure to delight fans of dark science fiction. Taking popular themes such as dystopia and paranormal romance, the author puts a truly original spin on the narrative by injecting it with fresh new lore, atmosphere and world building, which really immersed me in each of the tales. The plot was very well paced for short stories, with lively characters who are clearly defined and leap off the pages from the moment you begin to read. The writing style is unpolished, which will suit some readers more than others, but overall Hibernaculum is sure to be an engaging and thought provoking read from a very promising writer. Definitely recommended for those looking for a truly spine-tingling experience.

Anna Smith

Hibernaculum by Kim McDougall is a short story collection of three science fiction tales about the apocalypse, vampires, and death. Hibernaculum is a post-apocalyptic thriller about a community that lives under a dome. Life is good inside the dome, but some wonder if the outside world they can see past the horizon is true or fake. They want to know the truth and are willing to risk their lives, and perhaps the lives of those they leave behind, in an effort to finally realize the truth. Luminari is a vampire story about Devon. Devon is not one of the Chosen, which means he can't live forever with Rosalie, his undead lover. But will he risk his life to give her the one gift he can? Barbegazi is a story about mythical icemen. When White Death encounters Etien, something changes in Etien's spirit. He needs the help of Ethgel in order to meet the mythical Barbegazi, but is he strong enough? Or will his fearful human emotions come between them?

Hibernaculum is an interesting short story collection that covers a lot of bases. I enjoyed Hibernaculum's premise and found the mystery of what was outside the dome fascinating. Kim McDougall kept the story mysterious and dangerous, which was a very welcome combination. Luminari was a vampire story that strayed from tradition and kept my interest piqued. The story never dragged or used clichés, which was refreshing. Barbegazi was a little more mystical and magical, which was a nice change of pace and a very well-written and refreshing story.

Stephen Fisher

Hibernaculum is a short science fiction story by Kim McDougall, accompanied by two other short stories; Luminari and Barbegazi. Cross is a guide into the unknown lands outside of the Dome. Every now and then he picks up clients whose curiosity of the world outside the Dome gets the better of them. For a huge fee, Cross will guide them safely into the ruins of the old world. Alex and his wife Mindy are two such clients. Once outside the Dome, survival depends on them listening to their guide's warnings.

In Luminari, the Iluminari are true blood vampires, called night crawlers, that enjoy the night life. Devon has fallen in love with Rosalie, who is 400 years old. Knowing that he can never grow old with her, he travels to meet Xavier, the vampire who turned her. Devon spends weeks with Xavier to be able to give Rosalie a gift.

The third short story, Barbegazi, is about a duke's son, an 18-year-old that loves skiing on the mountains bordering his home. He nearly gets killed trying to outrace an avalanche, referred to as White Death. He survives, but is changed forever. He leaves his past behind, seeking death, but instead finds his destiny.

Kim McDougall does an amazing job of giving a point of view in all three stories. Her style of writing is descriptive, and is able to bring her characters to life. There seems to be a hidden message beneath Kim's words... Be careful what you wish for, because all is not as it seems. Three completely different stories, all with surprise endings. Hibernaculum, Luminari, and Barbegazi are all well written and diverse. I loved all three tales. Well done!