Tales from The Book of Dark Magic by C. R. Sztaba is the first short story collection of author C. R. Sztaba. The book was sent to us by our friends at Kensington Gore Publishing for an honest review and feature on the website. I personally am a fan of short story collections and anthologies, so I was eager to pounce on this collection and become familiar with a new author in the process.
Tales From The Book Of Dark Magic is a collection of short turbine stories by C.R.Sztaba. “The new name in horror” from Kensington Gore’s Hammered Horror publishing company. Read, if you dare,” The Unicorn Surgeon”. A story about a man who likes to operate on his victims in the most diabolical way. Or, “The Little People”. the creepy tale of a family who discover with terrifying consequences that their new home has wanted guests hiding in the cellar. These stories will have you checking every room in the house and every dark corner of your mind. “Mister Sandman” might never let you sleep again. Will you be able to look for the secret behind “The Mirror Never Lies.” C.R. Sztaba’s Tales From The Book Of Dark Magic contains eighteen terrifying, gruesome and glory tales to make sure you never sleep without the light on ever again.
I thoroughly enjoy Sztaba’s writing style. She provides enough detail for scenes to get a feel for all the grisly details and to understand her characters. As with many short story collections there are a multitude of different ideas, characters, settings, and themes contained in this dark little book of evil. The stories were interesting and fairly quick reads, and each one was fairly bloody so gorehounds will likely be delighted by each horrifying demise. One thing that I liked about each story was the way that Sztaba could leave a book with something of an open ending (i.e. the creature/assailant uncaught), but the stories would still feel complete. It’s always difficult when penning short stories to toe the line between providing thorough, detailed accounts of events and monitoring one’s word length, so I applaud her for being able to effectively master the technique for each of the stories in this volume.
Although there were more typos/grammar issues than I would typically expect from a book with a publishing company backing it, there weren’t really enough to merit annoyance or interference with the story. (However, I mention it for those select grammar nazis who, bless you, trudge through my reviews on a weekly basis.) I am perfectly willing to chalk some of my grammar concerns with the fact that KGP is based in the U.K. and I was born and raised in the United States. My only other concern with the book was the fact that some of the stories were more predictable than I like, but fortunately with over a dozen tales to choose from, there were plenty that twisted and turned in unexpected ways.
Excellent read, overall. I would highly recommend this book!