Title: Hammer and Bone
Author: Kirby Crow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 236 Pages
At a Glance: Haunting and beautiful, Hammer and Bone is an impressive and inspired collection.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: The purest evil lives in the hearts of men
Carnival mystics. Zombie tribes. Bad magic in the Bayou. Mage-princes, alien cities, and soul-stealing priests. The grim monsters in the worlds of these dark, speculative tales are true horrors, but it’s the people you should fear the most.
People like Michel, a boy pining for his best friend, Ray. But a presence in the swamp calls Michel to avenge another lost love, and he must decide which summons to answer. Or Angelo, a prescient cop who denies his visions until they endanger the man he loves. Or Bellew, an overseer in a shantytown of criminals sheltering a revenant and feeding it from their ranks.
From ruined lands of steam and iron, to haunted Southern forests, to brutal city streets where hope and damnation flow from the same spring, only a few stubborn souls possess the heart to challenge evil on its own terms. Some wield magic, some turn to rage or even love, but the ones left standing will survive only if they find the courage to carve their own paths to freedom.
Even if it means carving through flesh.
Review: Hammer and Bone is not the book I expected, but in the best way possible. It wasn’t until I’d got to the third chapter, wondering what plot sorcery the author was going to use to tie these divergent chapters together into a cohesive plot, that I finally realized I wasn’t reading a novel at all, but rather, a collection of short stories. Once I figured out I needed to read each piece as an independent story, it made it much easier to appreciate their brilliance and the author’s skill at weaving together rich and layered storylines, even if short.
If I were to attempt to sum up each story in just a few words, it would look a little something like this:
Crank is a bleak world yet offers a glimpse of a hopeful ending.
Hammer and Bone is a survival of the fittest story set in a desolate, dangerous, and dystopian landscape.
Hangfire is nothing less than heartbreaking, easily the most touching story in the collection.
No Gods and No Tomorrows is a fractured Faustian tale, the devil cloaked in righteousness, who attempts to strike a bargain with the wrong victim.
Shadow and Starlight is a self-fulfilled prophecy of horrors, with a great turn-of-the-tables ending.
Knights of the Risen God is a beautifully drawn David and Goliath story of gods and monsters and men.
Crowheart is a story of spiritual mysticism, prejudice, grief and retribution.
Sundog is a story of abuse, hatred and vengeance searching for a happy ending.
What Kirby Crow has done with this anthology is opened up her imagination and let it flow onto the page. The prose is at times sheer poetry, the imagery stark and striking, the settings foreign and familiar, the allegory and fantastical elements a backdrop for the best and worst of men and magic. These are not stories to be read in hopes of finding romance and happy endings. They are stories to be savored for the love of words and the skillful crafting of short stories that are complete in their telling.
Haunting and beautiful, Hammer and Bone is an impressive and inspired collection.
You can buy Hammer and Bone here:
About the Author: Kirby Crow is an American writer born and raised in the Deep South. She is a winner of the EPIC Award and the Rainbow Award, and is the author of the bestselling “Scarlet and the White Wolf” series of fantasy novels. Kirby and her husband and their son share an old, lopsided house in the Blue Ridge with a cat. Always a cat.
Her published novels are:
Prisoner of the Raven (historical romance)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: The Pedlar and the Bandit King (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: Mariner’s Luck (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: The Land of Night (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Angels of the Deep (paranormal/horror)
Circuit Theory (novella, scifi, Riptide)
Malachite (speculative m/m, New Adult, 2015)
Poison Apples (collection, dark fantasy, m/m, 2015)
Scarlet and the White Wolf 4 (New Adult fantasy, m/m, 2015)
For upcoming news of her future novels, visit her Website
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