Horror/SFF Novellas – November 2022

Anytime of the year is a good time to keep reading horror novellas.

Here are a couple I finished up yesterday!

THE LEGACY OF MOLLY SOUTHBOURNE – Tade Thompson (Released May 17th, 2022)

From Arthur C. Clarke Award-winner Tade Thompson, The Legacy of Molly Southbourne continues his chilling series.

Whenever Molly Southbourne bled, a murderer was born. Deadly copies, drawn to destroy their creator, bound by a legacy of death. With the original Molly Southbourne gone, her remnants drew together, seeking safety and a chance for peace. The last Molly and her sisters built a home together, and thought they could escape the murder that marked their past.

But secrets squirm in Molly Southbourne’s blood–secrets born in a Soviet lab and carried back across the Iron Curtain to infiltrate the West. What remains of the Cold War spy machine wants those secrets back, and to get them they’re willing to unearth the dead and destroy the fragile peace surrounding the last copies of Molly Southbourne.

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne brings the story to a bloody end.

My Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars – Imagine every time you bled a murderer was born. I wasn’t aware that this was the third, and final, novella in this series. So I will have to get the first two now to fill in the gaps. I liked how this went and I do wish I read the others for better context.

DEPARTURES – Scott Cole (Released July 9th, 2022)

“Wildly imaginative, boundary-obliterating dark fiction”
— Shawn Macomber, Decibel Magazine

A new homeowner finds a large, inexplicable egg behind a door…
A traveler seeks a bizarre creature from folklore…
An abused spouse takes matters into their own hands…
A stranger tempts passersby with a mystery in the trunk of his car…
A man discovers a cemetery walled off from the rest of town…
A family finds out what the vacation of a lifetime really entails…
And a sleep aid wakes up.

These are just some of the strange tales within, as Scott Cole returns with a new collection featuring his unique brand of unusual horror stories.

“No other living author writes the uncanny and the weird as compellingly as Scott Cole. His new collection, Departures, is a deftly written tightrope act balancing between moments of quiet gentleness and the chillingly absurd.”
— Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes 

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars – Some great little stories in here. I wouldn’t know what to do if I discovered a massive egg in the house I just moved into. Would you be dying to know why a cemetery was walled off from town? These were fun and unique and I definitely recommend it for those that want some quick horror!

TREAD OF ANGELS – Rebecca Roanhorse (Releasing November 15th, 2022 – Thanks to Saga Press for the gifted copy)

Celeste, a card sharp with a penchant for trouble, takes on the role of advocatus diaboli, to defend her sister Mariel, accused of murdering a Virtue, a member of the ruling class in the mining town of Goetia, in a new world of dark fantasy.

High in the remote mountains, the town of Goetia is booming as prospectors from near and far come to mine the powerful new element Divinity. Divinity is the remains of the body of the rebel Abaddon, who fell to earth during Heaven’s War, and it powers the world’s most inventive and innovative technologies, ushering in a new age of progress. However, only the descendants of those that rebelled, called Fallen, possess the ability to see the rich lodes of the precious element. That makes them a necessary evil among the good and righteous people called the Elect, and Goetia a town segregated by ancestry and class.

Celeste and Mariel are two Fallen sisters, bound by blood but raised in separate worlds. Celeste grew up with her father, passing in privileged Elect society, while Mariel stayed with their mother in the Fallen slums of Goetia. Upon her father’s death, Celeste returns to Goetia and reunites with Mariel. Mariel is a great beauty with an angelic voice, and Celeste, wracked by guilt for leaving her sister behind, becomes her fiercest protector.

When Mariel is accused of murdering a Virtue, the powerful Order of the Archangels that rule Goetia, Celeste must take on the role of Advocatus Diaboli (Devil’s Advocate) and defend her sister in the secretive courts of the Virtue. Celeste, aided by her ex-lover, Abraxas, who was once one of the rebels great generals, sets out to prove Mariel innocent. But powerful forces among the Virtues and the Elect mining barons don’t want Celeste prying into their business, and Mariel has secrets of her own. As Celeste is drawn deeper into the dark side of Goetia, she unravel a layer of lies and manipulation that may doom Mariel and puts her own immortal soul at risk, in this dark fantasy noir from the bestselling mastermind Rebecca Roanhorse. 

My Thoughts: 3/5 stars – I think the issue I had with this book was that it took me awhile to get into it. I wasn’t really connecting with the characters and found it easier to set the book down in the beginning. However, I did stick it out because it was only 196 pages long, and I did want to see how it was going to end. I’m glad I stuck it out because it is, overall, a good story and is very well written. It just wasn’t the book I needed at the time – I’ve seen so many glowing reviews and I love stories with Devils and Angels and a whodunit. I can’t quite put my finger on what didn’t work for me with this but so I’m very middle ground on it. I DO recommend it and definitely want to get more from the author because I loved her writing in this.

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