Title: Hardened Hearts
Author(s): Eddie Generous, Gwendolyn Kiste, Tom Deady, Meg Elison, John Boden, Somer Canon, Calvin Demmer, Theresa Braun, J.L. Knight, Madhvi Ramani, Scott Hallam, Robert Dean, Leo X. Robertson, Jennifer Williams, Laura Blackwell, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Sarah L. Johnson, James Newman
No. of pages: 260
Genre: Horror, Short stories
Publication date: December 3rd 2017
Date read: February 12th 2019
17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.
Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless.
I thought Hardened Hearts was an “okay” short story collection. I was really curious how the authors would combine horror with love, and every single one of the stories had an original approach to melting these very different genres together. There definitely were some great ones, but also some that didn’t make a lot of sense (to me) and were a bit too messy for me to like them.
The ones I really liked were: “40 Ways to Leave Your Monster Lover” by Gwendolyn Kiste, “Heirloom” by Theresa Braun, “The Pink Balloon” by Tom Deady, “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To” by J.L. Knight, “Burning Samantha” by Scott Paul Hallam, “Learning to Love” by Jennifer Williams. My absolute favourite of this collection was “The Heart of the Orchard” by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi – it was well-structured, exciting and felt like a horror combined with a fairy tale!
If you’re a horror fan, or a “lovestory” fan, who’s looking for a twist, this collection might be it for you!
* Thank you Theresa Braun for sending me an ecopy of this collection! All opinions are entirely my own. *