Quick, short and snappy…. Perfect for passing some time.
Fact about Vicky: I am a huge history nerd. Massive history nerd really. I read non fiction books about WW2 Europe and the Cold War for fun. I read Historical journal articles and annotate them, even though I’m not writing an essay. You could say I was pretty cool.
So, when this ARC was offered to me I jumped at the chance to take it! You see, the book is an anthology of short stories surrounding the question: What if? Each story revolves around a familiar historic event but completely reimagined. I thought it was a pretty genius idea to be honest.
There was just one problem. I only liked about 60% of the stories.
I guess that’s something you would expect from a book like this. All of the contributing authors have very different writing styles and it would be silly to expect every single one of the 12 stories to be your cup of tea. I found that for every story I devoured, there was one that I skim read or just skipped all together. And you know what? I’m ok with that, because the ones that I did like I… I loved. And even the ones I didn’t really enjoy that much still entertained me for a while.
The Blackbird Sings by Therin Knite (reimagining the cold war as a quicker more devastating war, complete with a full blown nuclear fallout) was so good, I promptly opened the Kindle store and brought 2 of her novels the second I finished. It was by far my favourite story in this whole anthology and it left me craving more from her (FYI I wasn’t disappointed with the books I brought either… Phew!) Diablo Del Mar by Artie Cabrera, an amusing take on Christopher Columbus came in close second. Columbus and Cult are not two words you expect to go hand in hand but it really made for a funny read.
Adam Venezia’s The Black Network didn’t really do it for me and it was the only story I skipped after a few paragraphs, it didn’t seem to really fit in with the rest of the stories. It focussed on a world where modern computers are only controlled by the elite and just didn’t grab my attention like the others.
Each story takes roughly 20-25 minutes to read, one or two even less than that, and I found that rather than sitting and reading it in one or two sittings like I usually do with books, I read them sporadically. It was a new feeling for me… I usually can’t read if I know I have to be doing something. I tend to read a chapter or two then get completely sucked in and forget about the washing up, or the fact that I need to go food shopping. I could read a short complete story, put my Kindle down and carry on! (I was very productive for a few days).
Maybe short stories are the way to go?!
I’ve never really paid much attention to short stories or anthologies in the past, but now I’ve seen them In a new light. Sure, I may not have liked some of the stories but I discovered some amazing new authors that I will definitely be investigating further. It was a fun and enjoyable set of quick reads that curbed my History itch and each story was, very conveniently, just the perfect length to have with a cup of tea!
Vicky is a research nurse by day and a serious book addict by night. She lives in Hertfordshire, England with her flatmate Jodie who is slightly less enthusiastic about books (but she does the washing up, so Vicky is always willing to forgive her) and her 2 Guinea Pigs. She has a typical English sense of humour. She apologises for this.