1 out of 4 stars
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The Devil's Eclipse by Christopher Williams is a collection of eight short horror stories, all involving demonic or satanic twists. If you read this book, be ready for horrific monsters, large insects, and gruesome deaths.
It pains me to say that after reading the first short story, I wanted to throw the book away and not read any further. Why? The story made me feel disgusted and horrified and not in a good way. The first short story, set in a nursing home, showed little progression in the first few scenes, with merely a lot of mentions of people soiling themselves (which is a recurring theme throughout the book). It felt as if things were mentioned only to disgust the reader, but they didn't add any tension or stakes. The climax of the story happened very suddenly, involving incest-related thoughts that I wasn't prepared for, and then it ended just as abruptly.
I did keep on reading since it is a short book, and I figured I should give the other stories a try. Thankfully, the stories became slightly better, and they all have a bit more build-up to the climax. Still, all of the short stories have a rushed ending, with an abrupt climax and barely any resolution.
Apart from that, the content of the stories itself was occasionally interesting, but I often felt annoyed at the descriptions. In many instances, women were portrayed as either obese and disgusting or as sexy with big breasts and a thick ass. The men in the story weren't described in nearly that much detail. Further, many of the stories involve characters sitting on the toilet, being in the bathroom wiping their but, or simply soiling themselves. While going to the toilet is a normal part of life, I don't see the point of having that in so many stories. Again, I feel it is used to infuse some disgust in the reader without actually building the tension the story needs.
Another point is the portrayal of black people. I'm not an expert on racism, but it felt as if some stories underlined the idea that having lighter skin is better, and that black people serve Satan or are demons themselves.
The quality of the writing itself was mediocre. It wasn't bad, but there was no eloquent prose that got to me. Some things that annoyed me were parts such as: 'She screamed, "Aaaaaaah!"'. I'd say, either go with she screamed or the 'Aaah,' but both is redundant. Moreover, some of the phrases seemed unnatural, such as: 'Then her vaginal walls burned and itched.' There are more natural ways of phrasing this, if it needs to be said at all.
If I had to name one thing that I thought was alright, I'd say the stories had some nice plot-twists. They need more development, but the ideas are certainly there. Overall, I think these stories weren't ready for publication.
As such, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone, not even if you love horror. I think these stories would disappoint you. But definitely don't read it if you don't like demons, stories involving Satan, the use of profane language, and mildly erotic texts.
For all the above mentioned issues, I rate this book 1 out of 4 stars.
The Devil's Eclipse
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