Friday, June 1, 2012

Elements of the Apocalypse


Since changing my genre to Dark Fantasy, I've been focusing more on Fantasy and less on Horror. For the most part, I'd given up on the genre after the last couple of modern Horror stories did nothing for me.

It gets kind of old, reading stories that're nothing compared to the greats like Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, M.R. James and Guy De Maupassant. But, I still love Horror and had high hopes for Elements of the Apocalypse. It's a collection of four novellas about the world being destroyed by earth, air, water and fire.

I couldn't pass on a collection of stories about the Apocalypse. I've seen plenty of movies on the subject but haven't read any books about it. The novellas were amazing. I devoured them in a couple of days. The book is a fairly easy read- easy in the sense that it's short.

The stories themselves were more than a little disturbing, brilliant but disturbing. People were getting mauled or having their heads spit open by some object or spilling their intestines or being sliced in half. It was hardcore. The authors didn't hold back but, as someone who doesn't like gore just for the sake of it, I didn't have a problem with this. The gore served a purpose. It added to the stories.

The authors weren't afraid to push some boundaries. Absolutely no one was safe. You know that saying writers need to kill their babies- well these authors took that to heart. They were brutal to their characters. You didn't know who would live or die. The endings were far from predictable- they weren't all rainbows and sunshine either.

The stories also had a great balance between character and plot. The novellas were about the apocalypse but they still focused on developing the characters. They weren't simply tools to show us what was going on. They personalized the situation.

Outside of books by Bentley Little, these are the only modern horror stories I've read that had any kind of effect on me. Like most long time Horror lovers, it's difficult to find books that actually scare me. The horror of the situation never infects me. The last novella in Elements of the Apocalypse about all the water of the world drying up- I could really feel what the characters were feeling. I was getting super thirsty.

It's amazing how detailed the authors got. They certainly did their homework. I can't think of a thing I didn't like about this book.