Review: Many Bloody Returns

Edited by Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner

Gollancz, out now

A collection of vampiric short stories by authors including Kelley Armstrong, Christopher Golden and Charlaine Harris…

Gollancz has brought this collection over to the UK, four years after its initial publication in America, and readers of the various series represented within need to bear that in mind when trying to work out where the stories fit within the timelines of the main characters. It’s a mixed bag, as ever with such anthologies, but it’s an enjoyable mix, riffing off the central themes of vampires and birthdays.

Some writers link specific birthdays with key events in their characters’ lives – Christopher Golden’s unusual The Mournful Cry of Owls and Rachel Caine’s The First Day of the Rest of Your Life are prime examples – while others involve birthday celebrations more laterally. Dracula’s birthday features in Charlaine Harris’s mini-Sookie Stackhouse adventure, while Kelley Armstrong gives voice to one of her usually peripheral characters, Cassandra DuCharme – and she’s not exactly the person you expect if you’ve read the other stories in the Otherworld series.

Verdict: One of the attractions of this sort of miscellany is getting to read authors you might not otherwise experience, and the variety on display shows many of them at their finest.  7/10

Paul Simpson

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