5 Stars, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: Of Heaven and Hell – An Anthology From Wayward Ink Publishing

Title: Of Heaven and Hell

Authors: Anthology

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 253 Pages

At a Glance: An anthology that offers a delightful mix of good, evil, and everything in between.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Whether you like your angels and demons naughty or nice…
Whether you like them angelic or demonic, we have a story for you.
Our authors have tuned up their harp strings, and let loose their inner demons.
We have demons with inner angels itching to be let loose.
And angels teetering on the brink.
We have dark. We have light.
We have angst. And forbidden love.
We have happy endings and not so happy endings…
We have the stories OF HEAVEN AND HELL.

CORRUPTION by Kim Fielding
Tenrael was once a proud demon who carried nightmares to humans. Now he exists in miserable servitude to men who plunk down ten dollars to fulfill their dark desires. Agent Charles Grimes figures a captive demon is just another assignment… That is until he meets Tenrael.

PURGATORY by M.C. Rayne
Bailey discovered that losing the person you love can do more than break your heart. It can shatter it into a million different pieces. And have you stepping into darkness. All he wanted was to be reunited with Greyson. He didn’t know his actions would lead him to his nightmare.

SIN TO GET SAVED by Michael P. Thomas
Earnest anti-gay evangelical Hubert dies in a freak accident. When a handsome angel named Bartholomew makes brazen overtures in the Afterlife, humble Hubert realizes his soul may have taken a wrong turn. But turning back to the straight and narrow isn’t quite as easy as he hopes it will be.

CARDINAL SINS by Mann Ramblings
Black magic, angels, and decadence bind Jacob and Ozzie together in a twisted web of fascination with each other. Now a new element has risen to test them: Danger.

A TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY DEMON by Asta Idonea
It should have been an easy job: a contract signed and a new soul earmarked for Hell. But when suave demon deal-maker Saul chooses nerdy Thomas Ives as his next target, little does he know what lies in store.

PURGATORY PINK: A FABULOUS FABLE by Eric Gober
A fable with no morals . . . About an angel with desires . . . For the demon who torments him. Will they both burn in hell?

FADE TO LIGHT by Nephy Hart
One of them has no past. One has no future. Loss is inevitable, but when demons come calling, a soul is too high a price to pay.

GUARDIAN by Eddy LeFey
A Guardian Angel’s whole being is controlled directly by God. Callum trusts in that. So when he meets his new human charge—a special college student named Rory—he doesn’t count on feeling attraction. And he certainly doesn’t expect Rory to change his life… forever.

DRAWING DEAD by S.Zanne
Devin is a demon. James is merely human. But who holds the winning hand is still in question…

A WOLF IN THE FOLD by Jana Denardo
For centuries Carduus followed his incubus nature. Joyfully seducing and draining the life force of his lovers. That is, until the day he met Mark, a lover Carduus didn’t want to kill. Before he knew it, Carduus found himself helping the detective by taking out criminals. But can a demon really work for the side of the angels?

DRIPPING IN SIN by Kassandra Lea
Finding an appropriate outfit to wear for an important date is never easy. Not even for a demon Flynn is trying but it’s a hard task… Especially when encounters with his angel usually involve no clothing at all…

Dividers

Review: It’s very rare for me to like every single story in an anthology, but that has happened in Of Heaven and Hell. I was a bit wary, to be honest, going into it because Wayward Ink is a fairly new-to-me press, and anthologies are so difficult, even with presses I’m familiar with. But, the premise behind it intrigued me. I’m so glad I gave it a chance because every story is unique and offers a different perspective on the themes of Heaven and Hell.

Part of me wants to review every story in this anthology, but I can’t. There are eleven and this review would easily pass twelve pages. Instead, I’ll pick out some of my favorites, which isn’t easy to do. I will say this: the blurbs given for each story don’t do them justice. They are so rich and complex, and the book blurb shortened them to barely recognizable.

What makes this so unique is the duality of the book. Some stories focus on Heaven, some on Hell, and some on both. Some of the stories are explicitly Heaven and Hell, while others just have terms that make it seems as if it fits those categories (“Purgatory Pink”). Some have angels, some demons, and again, some both. Some have explicit sex, others have none. It’s such a broad range of ideas that, really, every facet of the subjects are covered. Well done!

First up, “Drawing Dead” by S. Zanne: I think this was my favorite in the volume because immediately after reading it, I took to Twitter and asked the author of there was more. I didn’t want the story to end, but it did. This story focuses on a demon, Devin, who returns to earth to look for a new victim to play with. His victims always follow the same pattern, though, and it’s hinted at that it is because when he was human, his husband looked like them. When Devin runs into James, he thinks he’s found a fun, easy target to pull the screams from.

This story isn’t for everyone because it’s dark. I would say the top two in terms of darkness in the anthology for themes of pure evil. Devin is a demon and he thrives on pain. It’s very apparent in this story. However, James is not the easy target he appears to be at first. In fact, there’s a lot going on with him, and readers see glimpses of his childhood scattered throughout the story, while his and Devin’s history is slowly revealed.

Honestly, it was brilliant and by the last page, I was dying to know what came next. The author painted a vivid world set in the near future.

Next is “Corruption” by Kim Fielding. This is another dark one that deals with demons, however Tenrael is not that evil. He’s been taken captive and put in a circus, where men can view him and, for the right price, abuse him. All he wants is to be free to bring nightmares to sleeping humans. When a human agent is sent to kill the demon, he quickly realize Tenrael is not the evil creature he’s supposed to be, and the human is drawn towards him.

I felt for Tenrael in this story. It heavily features abuse, so trigger warning for some people, but of all the characters, the demon Tenrael seemed the most human.

Finally, I’ll review a story with angels: “Guardian” by Eddy LeFey. While some of the story seemed a little too perfect, I enjoyed the idea of guardian angels popping in during a trying time in our life to help us make the best decisions. Of course, it goes a little past that in this story, when Callum is assigned to Rory and reveals his true name and nature to the enigmatic college student. What follows is a change for both of them, and they must trust in each other and God in order to overcome the trials they face.

I would have liked to read more to see what’s in store for Rory and his angel, but the story is a great length and perfect for the anthology, and it introduced me to a new author I would like to read more from.

I highly recommend this anthology. Whether you love angels or demons, there is something for everyone in here.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

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