Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five” as Want to Read:
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five

(The Best Horror of the Year #5)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Darkness, both literal and psychological, holds its own unique fascination. Despite our fears, or perhaps because of them, readers have always been drawn to tales of death, terror, madness, and the supernatural, and no more so than today when a wildly imaginative new generation of dark dreamers is carrying on in the tradition of Poe and Lovecraft and King, crafting exquisi ...more
Paperback, 385 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Night Shade (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  357 ratings  ·  42 reviews

Sort order
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: creepy women you shouldn't have sex with, creepy villagers, creepy houses, creepy producers
It took me a while to finish this book, reading one story every night or so. Note that since I reviewed every single story, I ran out of space below, so some of the stories are reviewed in the comments.

Overall: 4 stars for the collection as a whole. Not every story was perfect (or what I'd necessarily agree was "Best Horror of the Year" material) but there were no stinkers. Everything was worth reading, and Ms. Datlow has introduced me to a number of new authors whose work I will be looking out
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This is my first Datlow "Best Of", so I'm interested in seeing if I can dope out similarities and differences between her and Stephen Jones. More on this at the end.

The "Summation 2012" that starts the volume is the analog of Jones' "Year In Horror" entry that starts his collections. I found it as thorough and about as useful, in both the positive and negative readings of that statement.

So, given all that, here we go - weakest to strongest: The only story I actively disliked was "The Word-Made F
Nancy Oakes
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, weird
Each time I read one of these Best Horror of the Year anthologies put together by Ellen Datlow,I realize that horror is indeed in the eye of the Beholder. After reading #5, I'm going to roll with that observation. For me, horror is something that sends that little shiver or frisson of fear up my spine as I'm reading, and out of the 28 stories that made up this book, that happened with eight. That's not to say that this book was bad -- au contraire -- there were some incredibly well-written stori ...more
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I purchased this anthology because I had heard that Ellen Datlow was one of the best editors for horror anthologies. I had previously read Lovecraft Unbound and Supernatural Noir so I already knew that she could throw together a good anthology. But I did wonder if she could do the same with general horror stories. The answer is yes, yes she can.

This collection contains a number of haunting stories that both haunted me as well as made me question the reality around me. A vast majority of the tale
Jonathan Briggs
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Whew! For a while there, this book didn't look like it was going to happen. Night Shade Books finally sank under the weight of long-running problems afflicting the publisher. But like Big Auto and the banks, Night Shade got a bailout deal that ensured the publication of Ellen Datlow's indispensable anthology. I'll forgo the standard finger-pointing where Night Shade's management is concerned. The important thing is that the books got out, and hopefully, the right people got their paychecks. Volu ...more
Cameron Trost
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
Even now and then, I read an anthology with "best of" in the title because I want to know whether there is one out there that lives up to the claim. But, yet again, I was disappointed. I have read numerous great horror stories that were first published in 2012, but none of them appear in this volume. The prose was of a generally commendable quality but the tales themselves were lacking in narrative, direction, and originality. There were only two that I particularly liked; "Nanny Grey" and "None ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
This has to be the best of The Best Horror of the Year. These stories are just fantastic. Excellent reading material for around Halloween.
Paul Roberts
Aug 11, 2013 rated it liked it
"Wild Acre" by Nathan Ballingrud
"The Word-Made Flesh" by Richard Gavin
"Frontier Death Song" by Laird Barron
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Deborah by: First Reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-anthology
This installment of Ellen Datlow's Best Horror series was pretty run-of-the-mill compared to previous volumes. Most of the stories follow a straightforward narrative structure and there are few daring experiments in this volume. I remember previous volumes in this series as having several stories that kept the reader off balance from the first sentence with narratives that seemed irreal and imparted a sense of terror and strangeness. This volume sticks mostly to the tried and true. It's not bad, ...more
Joseph Rodgers
I certainly enjoyed this book. I am a hound for anthologies, most of the work in here had a very "British horror" sensibility to it, which while enjoyable is a little more softcore than what I prefer. There are two or three real gems in here that appealed to my taste for exploitation, taboo, and violence. However I have to say that the rest of the book is certainly compiled from a great amount of high quality stories, written by competent authors. Certainly more competent than I as you can infer ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, owned, anthology
The best volume from this series so far. I enjoyed all of the stories- some more than others- but no duds. "Final Exam" was my favorite, but I also loved "The Ballad of Boomtown" and "Dead Song".
David Marshall
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yet another excellent anthology with some genuinely exciting stories.
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, stories
Some of the best and worst horror I've encountered, and I loved it even more for that. There were only a few stories I didn't finish and far more that I outright loved.

Standouts were Gary McMahon, Conrad Williams, Priya Sharma, and the incomparable "Final Exam" from Megan Arkenberg.
Lucille Bransfield
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I only got this book to read Dead Song by Jay Wilburn. He has made this into a 12 book series and I wanted to start from the beginning. I'm glad I did. Now to get to book 1 of Dead Song Legend Dodecology.
Brett Minor
Not every story was a winner, but there is a lot of great stuff in here. I have also picked up several authors who are new to me and I will be following from now on.
Jen Karner
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, dark, horror
A solid collection of creepy stories that run the gamut from body horror to cosmic horror and everything in between.
Eileen Nichols
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love these collections.
Not scary, just boring.
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
La Datlow is a consummate master of her art, and it's a pretty good bet that anything she's edited will be varied in all the good ways. Volume five of her Best Horror of the Year doesn't disappoint; while of course I did not love all the stories, I very much enjoyed most of them. If you and I sat down and had a conversation about which selections we liked and which we meh-ed, I'm guessing they would differ, and that would be good. Engaging a variety of sensibilities is one mark of a well-wrought ...more
Mark McLemore
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I purchased this for my Kindle when Ellen advertised it on sale via Facebook.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this volume, and there's no better way to end it than with Laird Barron's Frontier Death Song, but I found a lot of the stories really weren't horrific. In fact, some were pleasant in a dark way, sad even.
Also, I enjoy the weird, and over these past few years it seems it's coming out of its subgenre cocoon, tearing through the horror membrane that encompasses it, spreading its win
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Many of the stories in year's best horror volume 5 are of an outstanding calibre and quality that few anthologies can match, and Ellen Datlow has picked an eclectic mix of different cultures, incorporating a good balance between featuring male and female authors while letting the stories speak for themselves and win readers over, and it doesn't get much better than the year's best.

Rather than discuss each story individually, I'll say that as with all anthologies, some stories will knock it out
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Nothing particularly outstanding in this collection. Some "okay" stories depending on your taste, but not enough to recommend overall. Collection also illustrates the confounding nature of the horror genre: its lack of definement. For what is horror? Is it a ghost story? A zombie tale? A grisly hack and slash? They're all in here to satisfy everyone's palate. And that is my personal problem. I really really like "some" horror, but not "all" horror. It's the nature of the genre, I suppose.

Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Some odd selections in here. I would actually classify most of these stories as not scary, more like thrillers with supernatural content. Bruce MacAllister's "The Crying Child" is the one stand out to me, definitely weird/horror fiction of the first order (great prose, too.) I actually got the most of the summation portion of this book, and especially love that it mentions my favorite new magazine, Goblin Fruit as the best publisher of dark poetry out there (so true.)
Sarah W.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
* I received this book as a Goodreads first reads giveaway. *

I was really excited when I won this books, but I barely got through it. There were a few that I really liked, but some I didn't even finish. I don't know if it's just my impression of horror, but some of these just weren't scary or creepy at all (I'm not even that hard to scare). Some I just have no words for. The House on Ashley Avenue, The Crying Child, and Some Pictures in an Album were my favorites.
May 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, short-stories
While there were a few gems in this anthology, overall it was a disappointment. Many of the stories I would barely classify as horror.

I really enjoyed:

"Tender as Teeth" by Stephanie Crawford and Duane Swierczynski
"The Magician's Apprentice" by Tamsyn Muir
and "Magdyla Amygdala" by Lucy A Snyder
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
I wanted to like this book as I had read something else by Ellen Datlow that had very much impressed me. Unfortunately this book was pretty boring. I even skipped a few stories that didn't interest me and it still took me months to get through the rest of the book. Spare yourself and don't bother reading this. The handful of decent stories are far outnumbered by the boring ones.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was one of the better anthologies I've read in a while. There was one story in particular (Some Pictures in an Album) that legitimately creeped me out and that rarely happens anymore. Even the stories that aren't outright scary are interesting and worth a read. I definitely recommend this book.
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Put simply, this is an anthology. Some of the stories within are great, some okay, and some have absolutely no business being anywhere near a work supposing to be the Best Horror of the year. In the end, it held my interest and the awful choices were not enough to overwhelm the good ones.
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Not a bad anthology all things considered, but it's just not my cup of tea. I think I prefer subtle, psychological horror a la Shirley Jackson rather than the more overt stories in this book.

Was worth it for the Margo Lanagan story "Bejazzle".
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Best New Horror 24 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #24)
  • Symphony
  • The Wildman
  • Black Magic
  • The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2013 Edition
  • Gathering the Bones
  • Willy
  • The Monster's Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes
  • Elephantmen, Vol. 1: Wounded Animals
  • The End of the Line
  • Fungi
  • Black Wings: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror
  • The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers
  • A Season in Carcosa
  • Autumn Cthulhu
  • Shock Rock, Volume I
Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter

Other books in the series

The Best Horror of the Year (10 books)
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume One
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Two
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Three
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four
  • The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eight
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine
  • Best Horror of the Year Volume 10