Editors: Tim Marquitz, Tyson Mauermann
Release date: September 1st 2013
Publisher: Angelic Night Press
Paperback, 303 pages
Source: Editor for review
From angels to vampires, dragons to wizards, Manifesto brings together twenty-three stories full of action, snark, and unadulterated badassery.Featuring stories from Lucy A. Snyder, Jeff Salyards, William Meikle, Teresa Frohock, Zachary Jernigan, Betsy Dornbusch, and more.The time has come to make a statement, to define a genre. This is our manifesto.
If there’s one thing most of these stories have in common, it’s that they’re raw and unconventional; not quite stories in the traditional sense, but rather episodes that start and end at equally random places. They are completely unrestrained in the violence department, and some of them have strong elements of horror. I don’t see big publishing houses allowing such freedoms in their anthologies, so I’d point this out as yet another advantage of indie publishing.
Anthologies in general are so hard to review, I never quite know how to approach them, but I’ll do what I usually do, point out a few stories that were more impressive and/or memorable than the rest. In Rev by Kirk Dougal a revenant tries desperately to redeem his past sins in hopes of dying and finally staying dead this time. The rules of his existence are laid down pretty quickly, albeit somewhat awkwardly, and the entire story is bold, violent and surprising.
In I’m An Animal. You’re An Animal, Too. by Zachary Jernigan a female vampire (or something akin to vampires) searches for the next person to turn into one of her own. The characterization in this story is fabulous: this three hundred-year-old creature without pity or compassion, completely unrestrained in every way, was portrayed remarkably well. The story is not for those with a weak stomach. Gore, monsters and senseless violence all seem to be part of Jernigan’s signature.
By far the most impressive story in my (not so) humble opinion is Los Lagos Heat by Karina Fabian. In it, a dragon private investigator tries to solve two seemingly unconnected cases at once. I liked Vern so much that I immediately researched all DragonEye PI books and short stories and I’m determined to make time for them very soon.
In Queen's Blood by Lincoln Crisler Max has the ability to cross over to a parallel world, a place he calls Erth because it’s almost, but not quite, a mirror image of our own. Crisler is clearly a very confident writer and his experience and self-assuredness radiate from every page of this far-too-short story.
Manifesto is urban fantasy in its rawest, most elementary form. It is a constant source of surprises. Without the restraints of formulas, tropes and confines of the genre itself, one never quite knows what to expect. Here’s to hoping that these editors will put together something similar very, very soon.
Tim Marquitz will be here later this month to tell you more about Manifesto UF so make sure to stop by.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the editor for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.