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The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2014 Edition

(Eternal Sky #- The Ghost Makers)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  43 reviews
No matter your expectations, the dark is full of the unknown: grim futures, distorted pasts, invasions of the uncanny, paranormal fancies, weird dreams, unnerving nightmares, baffling enigmas, revelatory excursions, desperate adventures, spectral journeys, mundane terrors, and supernatural visions. You may stumble into obsession - or find redemption. Often disturbing, occa ...more
Paperback, 569 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Prime Books
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  249 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got this collection for one story, Sarah Monette's "To Die for Moonlight." This story is part of a series which begins in the collection The Bone Key: The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth. It is still good as a stand-alone, but I think better if you know that character and his background adventures. 4 stars

Since I had the book anyway, I read some stories by authors I tend to like:

"Cuckoo" by Angela Slatter was directly after Monette so I read that first. I liked it, although not a
Althea Ann
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
A nice big chunky collection of recent stories. As with any anthology, I liked some selections more than others, but there are more than enough gems here to make the chaff worth sifting. 3.51 average rounds up to 4...

**** “Wheatfield with Crows,” Steve Rasnic Tem
Steve Rasnic Tem is a master of horror, and demonstrates it here. Seemingly simple things are imbued with an ominous aura - and things that are less simple are even spookier. A young man, accompanied by his mother, returns to the scene
Audrey Dagenais
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it
This rating represent the average of the rating of each story (see my status updates for more information). Overall, I must say that I was tired of the theme at the end, even if the last stories weren't that much close to it. If the book have been a little less long (and stories more carefully chosen), I would probably have enjoyed it more.

***Now I can say that my challenge for 2015 is truly finished :)
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
My thanks to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

This book received two stars from me because it wasn't absolutely horrid. The third star was all Brandon Sanderson. That man can write and he is the only reason I would recommend this book. Don't get me wrong, some of the stories were very good, but the ones that were bad or confusing outweighed the good ones in my opinion.

I usually don't read compilations edited by anyone other than Ellen Datlo
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you aren’t too familiar with the current fantasy and/or horror that is being published today, or if you only know these genres from the novel form, there is no better place to start than this mammoth collection. Featuring varied stories across the genres from both print and electronic sources, regular and individual publications, established and upcoming authors, Paula Guran assembles a great overview of 2014. As typical for these types of anthologies, I wouldn’t consider all of these my favo ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy

This is a collection of 32 short stories, edited by Paula Guran. I'm not usually drawn to short story collections, but with a desire to read more paranormal and horror, I chose this.

There are some standouts - Blue Amber by David J Schow, The Good Husband by Nathan Ballingrud, The Soul in the Bell Jar by KJ Kabza, Postcards from Abroad by Peter Atkins, Phosphorous by Veronica Schanoes, A Lunar Labyrinth by Neil Gaiman, A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson, Dark Gardens by Greg Kurzawa
Aug 13, 2014 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: netgalley, own
I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm still not convinced that short stories are for me. One of the main things I like about stories tends to be world building and character development and with short stories, these two aspects tend to be left by the wayside and the plot focused on more heavily. There's nothing wrong with that but I often feel that I am just getting to know the characters and becoming invested in whether they triumph or fail just as the sto
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Ratings of the stories so far:

1. '"Wheatfield with Crows" by Steven Rasnic Tem ★★★★½
2. "Blue Amber" by David J. Schow ★★★★
3. "The Legend of Troop 13" by Kit Reed ★★★½
4. "The Good Husband" by Nathan Ballingrud ★★★★★! <3
5. "The Soul in the Bell Jar" by KJ Kabza ★★★½
6. "The Creature Recants" by Dale Bailey ★★★★
7. "Termination Dust" by Laird Barron ★★★
8. "Postcards from Abroad" by Peter Atkins ★★★½
9. "Phosphorus" by Veronia Schanoes ★★★★½
10. "A Lunar Labyrinth" by Neil Gaiman ★★★★
11. "The Prayer of
Baal Of
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird, horror, fantasy
Yet another solid anthology with the expected mix of really good stories with a couple duds. I really should be more disciplined about noting which stories are my favorites, especially for cases like this where my reading spanned nearly two and a half months. The final story in this volume was a particular stand-out with a fascinating premise about language controlling the manipulation of reality, and was an excellent choice to close out the proceedings.
Leah Polcar
Solid anthology. One of the better collections.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: horror and dark fantasy fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: Barnes & Noble
Even the fastest, most dedicated readers can’t read everything that’s published each year. Not even in relatively limited genres like fantasy or horror. That’s where “Year’s Best” collections come in handy. Someone or several someones has gone through the enormous pile of short literature produced in the previous year, and winnowed it down to a manageable size of good stories for you.

Admittedly, these collections also come down to a matter of personal taste. In this case, Ms. Guran has chosen no
Travis Heermann
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I've been reading these Best of anthologies for years. This one I found exceptionally weak. There were a handful of great stories, but I probably stopped reading about half of them, which made me sad. I was expecting to be wowed.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Overall, I liked it. For me, the standout was "Iseul’s Lexicon" by Yoon Ha Lee. The heroine is a spy in occupied territory, where the occupiers have forbidden use of the native language and are confiscating books in that language. She learns that the censors are not destroying the books, but are instead compiling a lexicon. And yes, they have a breath-takingly nefarious purpose in mind.

I also really liked "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell" by Brandon Sanderson and "A Little of the Nigh
Critter Reyome
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Christmas truly is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and I'm not just referring to the celebrations or the music or even the 24 Hours of A Christmas Story, though truly all of those things are most wondrous. Actually in our house it's the sudden influx of new books which are inevitably given and received as gifts. If you're a Goodreads user, it's a fair bet that you harvest this holiday (your choice of holiday may vary) bounty each year as well and probably look forward to it with the same re ...more
Brad Hodges
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it

This is my first time reading a volume of The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and I'm hooked. Editor Paula Guran has assembled several spooky tales from across the span of the genre--whether it be ghost stories, vampires, werewolves, or sword-and-sorcery fantasy, this collection has it. While some of the stories are just okay, more than enough of them were terrific.

Possibly the most horrific story is "Blue Amber," by David J. Schow, which starts when police are called to investigate a human sk
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

No matter your expectations, the dark is full of the unknown: grim futures, distorted pasts, invasions of the uncanny, paranormal fancies, weird dreams, unnerving nightmares, baffling enigmas, revelatory excursions, desperate adventures, spectral journeys, mundane terrors, and supernatural visions.
You may stumble into obsession — or find redemption. Often disturbing, occasionally delightful, let The Year’s Be
Kel Munger
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
The dark fantasy and horror collection includes some big names—Laird Barron, the Stephen King of the Pacific Northwest; Neil Gaiman; Elizabeth Bear; George R. R. Martin). But there are plenty of authors included that fall into the “who?” category.

Barron’s story is a tale of psycho spree-killing in Alaska—which is enough of a depressing place without people being gutted right and left—that seems to have a supernatural evil involved. Gaiman goes for the Twilight Zone-style morality play in “A Luna
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Do you like stories that will keep you awake all night? These will! Especially if you read them when it's dark. The stories are creepy and scary. It's the little things that you least expect to scare you. This is a great anthology with an excellent variety of short stories. You will definitely get your money's worth.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions e
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Warning: Do not read these in the dark. Especially, do not read these at bedtime. Seriously, a creepy collection of some of the year's best dark fantasy and horror. What I really liked about it was the variety in the stories. Sometimes the things that scare us are not those big, spooky monsters, but those freaky things are just a little off. This collection has some of both.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, and the opin
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Free edition courtesy of publishers by way of Net Galley, for honest review.

Those looking to read this who have not previously read this anthology before should bear in mind that it focuses on "dark", which does not necessarily mean horror.

Having said that, I'll admit that I spent the first few stories wondering whether I was missing something, as I was expecting horror and was not creeped out by the stories. This doesn't mean that there was no horror, I was genuinely creeped out by a few stor
Brian Palmer
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: anthology, fantasy, horror
This is a fairly thick anthology, so I definitely found some stories in here that I liked, but I'm not enough of a dark/horror fan to love everything; the mixture didn't quite fit my tastes. (In particular, the first set of stories of the anthology were very big on a creepy atmosphere, but the rapid succession meant it was hard for me to build momentum).

Worth checking out -- some very good, well-known authors are represented -- but if you're like me, you'll want to be a little aggressive about s
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A wonderful mix of curious and intriguing stories! I definitely recommend this book to lovers of fiction, particularly dark fiction.

My Favorites:
Blue Amber (though it could have done without the foul language)
The Soul in the Bell Jar
Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell

Ones I started, but couldn't get through (mostly due to nasty sexual references):
The Good Husband
Termination Dust
The Prayer of Ninety Cats
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
As always with short story collections, it's a bit of a mixed bag in terms of what clicked and what didn't. The stories that really grabbed me, and left me wanting more were:
-The Soul in the Bell Jar ~ KJ Kabza
-Postcards From Abroad ~ Peter Atkins
-Phosphorous ~ Veronica Schanoes
-Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell ~ Brandon Sanderson
-The Ghost Makers ~ Elizabeth Bear
Really enjoyed this book and most of the stories in it, I really recommend it to people who like horror and fantasy. I think my favorite story was The Legend of Troop 13, which is about a group of girl scouts who go missing and end up feral wild women twenty years later, I wished that one would have been turned into a full novel.
David Marshall
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some of the stories in this diverse anthology are outstanding and the whole represents excellent value for money for everyone who enjoys dark fiction.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this anthology. Very solid with some of the best authors in the genre. Very impressive collection with a wide variety of stories, ranging from alien invasion to Victorian steampunk alternative history Ms. Guran is a great editor.
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great set of stories, there was one I could not finish but I think it was more I was tired than anything wrong with it.
The one set in London with the matchstick women was chilling. Not the zombies, that was mild, but the life the people were living before the zombie.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
I didn't read the whole volume, because the stories I did read just did not do it for me. Neil Gaiman had a story in there that I could at least finish, but my overall experience was thinking, "If this is the best, god knows what got rejected."
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a promotional copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A mixed bag of mostly entertaining stories. Some godawful and some interesting and eerie enough to make me follow up with the longer works of authors previously unknown to me.
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Paula Guran is senior editor for Prime Books. She edited the Juno fantasy imprint from its small press inception through its incarnation as an imprint of Pocket Books. She is also senior editor of Prime's soon-to-launch digital imprint Masque Books. Guran edits the annual Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror series as well as a growing number of other anthologies. In an earlier life she produced we ...more

Other books in the series

Eternal Sky (3 books)
  • Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky, #1)
  • Shattered Pillars (Eternal Sky, #2)
  • Steles of the Sky (Eternal Sky, #3)

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