Book Title: The Ways We End: Six Tales of Doom – Dark Collections, Book 1
Author: Ann Christy
Publication Date: December 7, 2016
Available on: Amazon as an eBook, a paperback and as an audiobook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
When civilization has fallen and the apocalypse has begun, how does humanity handle it? These six short stories all follow that same theme, thoughtfully exploring how the world changes for the worse and how assorted people respond. The sheer variety of characters and situations present in this volume show a wide range of ideas, all of them stemming from a wild and dark imagination:
“Cottage of Hunger” – Living deep in the woods in a cabin with her deranged mother, Sarah stumbles upon an unconscious body and brings it home. How this changes the family dynamics in the household is startling to behold, featuring a difficult situation where there are no good choices and a truly twisted ending.
“The Mergans” – On a distant planet, women are oppressed, subservient to the male ruling class. In deep space, the Peace Force is making its way to this planet with plans to raze it to the ground for its transgressions! These dual storylines collide in unpredictable ways as the author brings a true humanity to each richly-drawn culture, presenting a series of captivating events that are powerfully affecting with a delectable and distinctive conclusion that gave me the chills.
“The Mountains of Five” – When Five, a young girl, is cast out of her village, she is forced to survive on her own in a desolate land with few resources. As she embarks on her long and difficult journey, she must be careful, as one wrong decision will mean discovery and death! Traveling on a perilous and emotional adventure, we’re held spellbound by the storytelling and truly surprised by the unexpected.
“The Bridge” – Emma and Gary are young kids and also siblings, arguing over whether trolls exist or not. When Gary said he has proof, Emma calls his bluff and they go looking for this supposed evidence. A scary little horror story that effectively builds tension and makes you question how it will end, enrapturing you the whole time.
“Rock or Shell” – When everyone has the ability to time travel, what happens to the world around them? Time becomes broken when so many people wish to change their past! It kept me transfixed to find out what was going on here as each little clue was unveiled, all coalescing into an enormous problem that used time travel in quite an imaginative way.
“A Mother So Beautiful” – A daughter is completely estranged from her mother, though she idolizes her from afar. But it gets complicated when her mother becomes infamous for a heinous act that launches an apocalypse of monstrous proportions! As we are completely drawn into their compelling histories, it weaves together a really sick, thoroughly disturbing, stomach-churning and impressively potent tale that on the surface seems like one thing but takes on much more meaning than you initially thought. This was my favorite story in the whole collection.
I really liked the way some of these stories included insightful notes from the author talking about the origin of each tale and her thoughts about them.
Each one of these stories was entrancing and distinctive from one another, cleverly presenting different scenarios and how each character copes with them in their own unique way. The settings are well thought out and detailed in their world-building, successfully drawing the reader into each one. They also feature multi-faceted characters that you come to care about and what happens to them provoke a wide range of emotional responses from joy to anger and from surprise to sadness. Overall, this is truly a superb collection that showcases the author’s strengths and skills.
If you enjoyed the stories in this book, I would encourage you to also read the second volume in the author’s “Dark Collections” series because it’s a very enjoyable collection as well: And Then Begin Again: Six Tales of Hope (Dark Collections Book 2).
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by Ann Christy include “Bridge Across the Stars – A Sci-Fi Bridge Original Anthology.”