• K.J. Paxton

Daughters of Darkness

46 horrific tales. All by women. When you were little, you had a nanny. A nanny only you could see.

There are clumps of dark hair in the swimming pool. Curling around your toes, slowly tugging you down.

"The Love Simulator" shows your perfect life with 'The One'... which turns out to be your worst nightmare.

DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS brings you 46 tales of terror from the depths of the female mind. Pull up a chair and listen to the horrors of murderous femme fatales, fiercely protective mothers, and daughters who realize their childhood isn't quite what it seemed.

Hundreds of backers on Kickstarter brought this anthology to life, through a successful campaign that raised several thousand dollars. Our authors have won awards, written bestsellers, and gained international popularity on the 13 million subscriber forum NoSleep.

Daughters of Darkness is guaranteed give you nightmares you'll never forget. Read... if you dare!

Author: Blair Daniels, Various

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Good anthologies vary in their stories; there are far too many subgenres to explore within horror, but Daughters of Darkness takes a stab, pun intended, at a good number of them. This collection ranges from the vaguely unsettling to the deeply disturbing, from sudden surprises to slow builds of tensions. The especially unique note comes from the fact that the entire collection is built of stories written by women.

It is interesting to see horror from a distinctly female perspective, and the themes that seem the most prevalent because of that. The tropes that are used by the various authors never seem to verge on gratuitous gore, or the shock value of sexual violence, and it’s refreshing to see so many people be able to stretch their clear talents without resorting to any of that.

The perspectives of the characters vary in age and gender, and they often use those differing perspectives to tell stories that are subversive or extremely original. It’s fascinating that by supposedly limiting the telling of these stories to female authors this anthology managed to open up an extremely diverse cast of characters, more so than I’ve seen in the majority of horror anthologies I’ve tackled. Some are unreliable narrators, some are characters that easily invite the reader to root for them, and some are definitive villains of their respective pieces, whether they know it or not.

My standouts in the longer format stories were:

Weird Church by Jennifer Winters. A story that slowly builds discomfort with lovely and disturbing details and a touch of body horror, and the kind of existential terror that would affect anyone who struggles with religion,

The Woman Upstairs by R.R. Smith. A mystery of a haunting that follows a young protagonist trying to understand their family secrets.

Don’t Go Into the Treehouse by Jess Charle. A particularly dark story that questions the nature of monsters through the eyes of a young girl.

The shorter stories that manage to pack a punch in only a couple of pages, there is no shortage in this selection. My personal favorites were:

Sweet Tooth by Melody Grace. I won’t say much about this one so as not to give it away, but it definitely left me with a grin.

Hell is Living With Other People by J.H. Sullivan. A story about someone with a hellish neighbor. Even with the horror this one is relatable.

Reine by K.J. McDonald. A tale of a celebrity with a particularly sinister nature, and her fans.

All of these stories were particularly effective in saying a lot with very little, and it’s tough to give away anything about these ones without an important giveaway. But all of them manage to offer a lot to the anthology as a whole, and deliver endings that will leave any horror fan with a grin.

As a whole this is a fun anthology, at least if you would define horror as fun, and there are enough stories contained in it that have fresh things to offer to the genre that the few things that feel repetitive are easy to overlook. If you’re looking for some fresh takes that will still keep you up at night then look no further.

4/5 Stars