3 out of 4 stars
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This was the first collection of shorts stories I’ve read since I was 12. So the stakes were at an all time high.
Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction is an anthology put together by the webmaster at OnlineBookClub.org, Scott Hughes. Scott brought together 10 writers from all over the world, all who had written short stories that revolved around the topic of self-destruction caused by vengeance and hate. What drew me to this book initially was the possibility of supporting 10 new, independent authors who worked with a passion creating emotional content.
In life we are faced with predicaments that leave us with such an anger, that we slowly transition from a feeling of rage, to a feeling of hate. How we act regarding the hate that we experience depends on who we are as people, and what has caused this loathing feeling in the first place. There are certain situations in life that leave us seeking nothing but revenge. Each plot deals with a different character either succumbing to that revenge, or overcoming it.
Going into this collection of 10 very different short stories, I didn’t know what to expect. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to constantly connect with new characters. However, each author did an amazing job of painting a vivid picture for every character that was introduced and the problem that left them feeling vengeful. Each main character experienced a similar feeling of hate, but for very different reasons. What I admired most about this anthology was the variation in how justified or unjustified each character’s vengeance was. One character sought revenge on an awful ex-boyfriend, and then had to deal with the consequences of that vengeful action. Another plot revolved around a young man’s hateful feelings aimed at a Prince who was responsible for the death of the young man’s best friend. From the time periods the stories took place in, to the characteristics of the main characters, to the writing styles, each story was completely different from the last.
I fear that this collection of short stories will set the bar too high for me moving forward onto new anthologies. Very rarely will you see 10 stories that are riveting and exciting enough to keep the reader constantly on the edge of their seat, and that’s exactly what Holding Fire did.
The diversity of the writers allows for the reader to constantly be challenged to interpret a new style with each story. I believe in order to grow as a reader and to expand your comfort zone, you have to read stories that don’t necessarily coincide with what reading styles you are used to indulging in.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I am excited to venture into more anthologies moving forward.
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