Monday, October 11, 2010

[Anthology Review] Evolve: Summary Review

Title: Evolve
Editor: Nancy Kilpatrick
Pages: 256
Genre: Horror / Dark Fiction
Publisher: EDGE

Vampires have Evolved and They are Here!

Kelley Armstrong, Tanya Huff and twenty-two other Canadian dark fantasy and horror writers re-imagine the future of vampires in this new collection of all-original short fiction. One of the most unusual and original vampire anthologies ever compiled.

Contents organized by serialized reviews:

Introduction by Nancy Kilpatrick

[Part 1]
Let the Night In by Sandra Kasturi
Learning Curve by Kelley Armstrong [D]
Chrysalis by Ronald Hore [B+]
Mother of Miscreants by Jennifer Greylyn [B]

[Part 2]
Resonance by Mary E. Choo [B bordering on C]
The New Forty by Rebecca Bradley [A]
Red Blues by Michael Skeet [B]

[Part 3]

The Drinker by Victoria Fisher [A]
Sleepless in Calgary by Kevin Cockle [C]
Come to Me by Heather Clitheroe [B]

[Part 4]
An Ember Amongst the Fallen by Colleen Anderson [A]
Mamma’s Boy by Sandra Wickham [A]
The Morning After by Claude Bolduc [D]

[Part 5]
All You Can Eat, All the Time by Claude Lalumière [A]
Alia’s Angel by Rhea Rose [B]
When I’m Armouring My Belly by Gemma Files [A]

[Part 6]

A Murder of Vampires by Bev Vincent [B]
The Greatest Trick by Steve Vernon [A]

[Part 7]
Soulfinger by Rio Youers [A]
Bend to Beautiful by Bradley Somer [C]
Evolving by Natasha Beaulieu [F]

[Part 8]
How Magnificent is the Universal Donor by Jerome Stueart [A+]
The Sun Also Shines On the Wicked by Kevin Nunn [C]
Quid Pro Quo by Tanya Huff [B]


NOTE: Yes, the grading system seems rather childish, but keeping in mind 23 stories at the same time in order to write down an accurate review of how much I enjoyed the anthology more or less scewers the result. Assigning individual stories grades allows me to better estimate how highly I think of the anthology as a whole, without having the strongly pleasent or unpleasent experiences of certain stories influence my opinion. It's about fairness in the end as far something as subjective as reviewing allows it.

VERDICT: As a whole, EVOLVE delivers what it promised. Editor Nancy Kilpatrick has managed to cater to all tastes. From action to introspective monologues, from laugher to tears, from violence to love EVOLVE covers all grounds with some of the most memorable interpretations of the vampire lore and mythology that I have ever read. Yes, there are some weak links in the armor, but as a whole EVOLVE is one finely tuned mechanism, perfectly balanced between prose, plot, characters and concept. A must-read for vampire enthusiast and also recommended for those who have lost hope that the vampire could be entertaining in the future.

PS: Join me on Thursday for a special interview with Nancy Kilpatrick, queen of vampires and editor extraordinaire.

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