Rating: 5 out of 5
It’s rare that I give a full 5-out-of-5 to a multiple-author anthology, but We are Wolves: A Horror Anthology is worth it. The editors clearly had a vision for the book, nailed it down, and held on tight to it. I loved it so much that after I returned the book to Kindle Unlimited, I bought an actual permanent Kindle copy (not something I usually do, because I rarely re-read books).
The book opens with an early content warning for: assault, abuse, sexual abuse, harm to children, child death, childbirth, bodily harm, and self-harm. (Sexual assault was pretty off-the-page and just referred to as background for the most part.) It’s about many of the struggles women face. The stories (and a couple of poems) are all written by women or nonbinary people, and are about a lot of the horrors that come with being women–and the horrors that can be visited upon the people who hurt them. There are some pure revenge fantasies, so there may be some men who won’t want to read this book! The profits go to charity.
There are wonderful authors in this book–I’m already fond of people like Cynthia Pelayo, Laurel Hightower, Gemma Amor, S.H. Cooper, Hailey Piper, Sara Tantlinger, Sonora Taylor, V. Castro, Red Lagoe, Cassie Daley, Sadie Hartmann, Lilyn George, the Sisters of Slaughter (Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason), and Jessica Guess. Now I’m learning to appreciate Amanda McHugh, Erin Al-Mehairi, Beverly Lee, Eve Harms, J. Danielle Dorn, and Sarah Read as well.
The stories are universally excellent. There were none that I thought didn’t belong. Any problems I had with them were minor–one story had an ending tacked on that I felt detracted from it; one character’s last words were too humorous to go with the dark tone of the rest of the story; one story was just a bit too meta for me even though it was very well-written (entirely personal preference); and one or two pieces confused me a bit (but that’s a fairly common problem in horror stories).
There are some very powerful stories in here. I’m not going to name them, because I don’t really have “favorites” in this volume per se. There are very narrowly-focused stories about individuals’ sorrows. There are stories about universal forces. There’s a story about female horror film archetypes. There are werewolves and wolves. There are witches and absolutely normal people. There are abusive husbands and boyfriends and fathers and brothers. There are sociopaths who are into control and manipulation, and brutes who are into physical violence. There’s a vampire, a few giant lobsters, serial killers, simple sins, vengeful ghosts, and more. Some stories are of supernatural horror, while others are of perfectly mundane horror. Sometimes the supernatural is on the side of good–or at least the side of the protagonist.
I love this book, and I hope you do, too!