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Queer Gothic Anthology #1

Unspeakable: A Queer Gothic Anthology

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Unspeakable contains eighteen Gothic tales with uncanny twists and characters that creep under your skin. Its stories feature sapphic ghosts, terrifying creatures of the sea, and haunted houses concealing their own secrets. Whether you're looking for your non-binary knight in shining armour or a poly family to murder with, Unspeakable showcases the best contemporary Gothic queer short fiction. Even dark tales deserve their time in the sun.

First published February 28, 2020

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Celine Frohn

4 books6 followers

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5 stars
71 (35%)
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82 (41%)
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33 (16%)
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11 (5%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,707 reviews625 followers
May 17, 2020
I was sent an eARC of this anthology by the editor, in exchange for my honest review.

Rating anthologies is always sort of impossible, because you'll adore some stories and won't really mesh with others. I'm giving this 4 stars though, because overall, this was a really great read. I loved the gothic vibe, which came through in many different ways. And I loved how queer it was, and diversely so. A lot of queer anthologies generally feature a select few identities, but this didn't just have gay, lesbian and bi rep, it also had trans, non-binary, asexual and pansexual rep! I especially loved how much sapphic goodness there was.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,842 reviews5,003 followers
March 14, 2021
I'm not really finished -- my ebook stopped abruptly in the middle of the story of Laguna, so I guess I'm not finding out what happened to her. But I got this for free so I can't complain about length, and the stories were quite good, and quite diverse in content and tone.

The Gothic, with its themes of secrecy and transgression, seems ready-made for queer adptation, and I'm surprised that althoough I know of several academic studies on this subject I've hardly ever come across any genre fiction. I hope there will be more in the future.
Profile Image for Art Hyrst.
697 reviews38 followers
March 30, 2020
Full review: https://inkandplasma.wordpress.com/20...

I'm only going to cover a handful of the short stories in this actual review because otherwise it's going to be a novella in itself, but you can click through on this tweet ( https://twitter.com/inkandplasma/stat... ) to see my as-it-happens reactions to reading each short story. There's not a single one that I didn't love, and it was so hard to pick a few to review. I limited myself to six of the total eighteen, but all eighteen are worth reading and will stay with me forever.

Taylor Hall by Jen Gilfort

If you freak her out like this, you're going to scare her off and who knows who we'll end up with. So if you could please do me the courtesy of acting like a normal house, I would appreciate it.

Emily is Kit's new roommate, moving into her house that has a bit of a... personality. Taylor Hall is sentient, and it likes to be paid the proper amount of attention. When Emily moves in, Taylor Hall falls in love with her, and the house isn't the only one. But Kit needs to face herself before she can face her feelings for Emily, and tell a truth that she's never told.

I was reading this one sat in the cinema waiting for a movie to start, and I honestly nearly left when the lights went out so I could finish it. I completely fell in love with Taylor Hall and Kit and Emily. When I hear 'gothic short story' and 'sentient house', I'm assuming something haunted and creepy not wholesome as fuck. I wish my house was sentient. The house had so much personality it was definitely its own character, and I loved it. Kit's struggle throughout the story was handled carefully and lovingly, and especially considering it had limited pages to do it I think it was done perfectly.

Hearteater by Eliza Temple

I thought she had to know, to somehow sense the frantic animal inside of me, but she simply smiled and offered me her hand. I took it.

Lady Scarlet opens her house to Kat when the woman shows up at her door in the middle of a storm, soaked. She swears she can't stay, but the woods aren't safe at night, not with a monster prowling them and tearing the hearts from the breasts of anyone foolish enough to get caught out under the moon's light. Despite her words Kat can't seem to leave - though she swears she must go before the next full moon. That's okay though, because Scarlet finds her fascinating and wants her to stay and share the house, as long as she never enters the West Wing, because there lies the truth of Scarlet's isolation - she's a monster.

I highlighted like a good 60% of this story, because every single line was beautiful. This story hit on some of the things I absolutely love about gothic lit. The whole way through, I was trying to guess what was happening, putting the pieces together from the crumbs of clues that I was given by the author. I was so invested in these characters and the ending made me feel riotous and powerful, honestly. I want to disappear into the wilderness and live in a mansion with a monstrous girlfriend.

Lure of the Abyss by Jenna MacDonald

I've never tested it out, but apparently, I possess the ability to be so distracting that male sailors will become bad enough at their jobs to anger the sea gods.

Imagine being caught at sea. Your crew has been picked off one by one, and now you're the only one left. They've been stolen into the sea by a monster with a beautiful face and you know she's coming for you next. So why is she just waiting, and watching?

I absolutely love mermaids. I just love love love them. And I love them infinitely more when they're not Disney-fied maidens with flowing hair but sharp-toothed monsters with oil-slick scales and a thirst for blood. I have a literal phobia of the sea and this made me want to sail out to the middle of the ocean and become one with the waves. This story absolutely nailed the creepy gothic aesthetic, and our MC was fierce and brave in the face of certain death. I just loved it, and I could read epics about her adventures.

The Moon in the Glass by Jude Reid

They found her body on my wedding night.

She was floating face-up, they said, her unbound hair spread around her like flames.

It's Charlotte's wedding night, and her brand new sister in law is dead in the pond. Charlotte is devastated of course, because she was so close to Ness. Too close, some might have said. Then Charlotte starts to see a flicker in the corner of her eye, a movement in the mirror. Something is following her, watching her. But why? Does Charlotte have something to hide?

This one gets a special mention for being GODDAMN TERRIFYING. I work in a place with a thousand mirrors, and after reading this I felt like I couldn't look directly at them. Sorry to any of my customers who came in the other day and saw me doing extreme gymnastics to avoid looking at mirrors, but this gave me those big Bloody Mary feels all over again. This short story honestly felt like a three act novel. It was so unnerving, and I felt a pervasive sense of dread the entire time I was reading it which is exactly what I want from my gothic fiction.

Homesick by Sam Hirst

Marion wondered if perhaps it wasn't murder which had bound them here but something much more beautiful.

Marion is a woman in white. She has unfinished business, it seems, but she's not much interested in finishing it. She'd rather read the books from her library instead - though she ran out of those a hundred years ago. Still, she can travel, and that's... fine. Then when she meets Sanan her world gets a little brighter - and not just because she has new books to read.

I want a graphic novel of Marion and Sanan. I want fan-art too. They're so vividly created that I could practically see them, reading together by the sea, and I love them. If they weren't already dead, I'd die for them. This story was beautifully wholesome, and made my little queer heart warm. Ghosts deserve HEA too. This was beautifully written, and gave me the same warmth and joy that I hope the characters found. I can see myself coming back to Homesick again and again as a quick comfort read to remind me to enjoy the little moments with people I love.

Moonlight by Ally Kölzow

"Don't ever do that to me again." The warning would not matter in a few hours, but she spoke it nonetheless.

Adanna chases Nina, her love in a snow-white dress, through a twisty, dark house. Her time is short, and the stakes are high, and she has to reach Nina soon.It should have been the most wonderful day, but it was stolen from them. The moon watches them, her children, and gives them everything she can to let them steal a few precious moments back.

Moonlight emotionally wrecked me. Hell. Weirdly enough it also reminded me of a fanfiction I read approximately a million years ago that I cried my eyes out over. Seeing a similar theme, this time with f/f characters? I'm weak and I'm sad. The prose itself is fluid and gorgeous, flowing like poetry, and the story made my soul ache. I guessed what was happening very, very early and if anything that actually made the whole story more impactful and painful. I knew what was coming, but I owed it to Adanna and Nina to make it to the end of their sorrowful tale. Moonlight is true love with a happily never after, a reflection of the true horror of being queer in history with a gothic spin to really twist the knife. Brace yourself when you read it but please, please read it, because it's too perfect for words.
Profile Image for M.
308 reviews18 followers
August 2, 2022
4.5 overall

I enjoyed this one more then I thought I would when I thought I’d found a favorite story there was another one, and at the end it was actually hard to pick one favorite. I settled on Hearteater that was like sapphic Beauty And The Beast but with a twist. A lot of the stories had really classic gothic story tropes but they were all their own and they didn’t feel like they were just the same thing being hashed out again and again. Brideprice was great and it was (I assume) where Dowry Of Blood started which I also really enjoyed! This was such a great collection of stories that ranged from historical to modern takes on the gothic genre.

Let Down- 3
Moonlight- 4
An Account Of Service At Meryll Point- 4
The White Door- 5
Doctor Barlowe’s Mirror- 5
Laguna And The Engkanto- 4
The Moon In The Glass- 4
Brideprice- 5
Lure Of The Abyss- 5
Hearteater- 5
Quicksilver Prometheus- 4
Homesick- 5
Rodeo- 5
Lady Of Letters; Or, The 21st Century Homunculus- 4
Taylor Hall- 5
The Ruin- 5
The Dream Eater- 5
Leadbitter House- 4
Profile Image for Celine.
261 reviews68 followers
June 20, 2020
I was extremely excited to read this, because the combination of Queer and Gothic sounds exactly like my jam. The first story I didn't like as much, and that made me worried, but then it took off and this whole thing is some high quality shit. My expectations were met, and I'm in awe of how well some of these stories managed to queer gothic tropes. It's The SHIT. 
Profile Image for Cee.
969 reviews220 followers
February 20, 2021
Unspeakable contains eighteen Gothic tales with uncanny twists and characters that creep under your skin. Its stories feature sapphic ghosts, terrifying creatures of the sea, and haunted houses concealing their own secrets. Whether you're looking for your non-binary knight in shining armour or a poly family to murder with, Unspeakable showcases the best contemporary Gothic queer short fiction. Even dark tales deserve their time in the sun.

For more information about this anthology, check out the Unspeakable website.
Profile Image for ashortbooklover.
498 reviews34 followers
March 2, 2020
As someone currently studying the Gothic genre, but being very fed up of the heteronormative narratives, this anthology arrived at the perfect time for me!

This was such a vibrant collection of brilliant voices that I’m struggling to summarise into just one review. Overall, this collection was so inexplicably unnerving, as great Gothic stories are and cast an eerie atmosphere for the next few days after finishing it. I especially loved how the writers took classic Gothic tropes and subverted them in brilliant ways. The complete normalisation of LGBT+ characters was superb, particularly the representation of non-binary and trans characters and some Greg us sapphic romances.

Something that I love about the Gothic is how it’s always been a space to writers to explore contemporary fears and anxieties, in other words ‘the forbidden’ or ‘taboo’. In Unspeakable, the supposedly taboo topics are blasted wide open and explored in such a wonderful range of ways, helping me speed through the pages.

I’d happily read so many of these stories as full-length novels as I raced through their stunning writing, never wanting it to end. My particular favourite stories were Moonlight, The White Door, Moon in the Glass, Hearteater and Rodeo.
Profile Image for USOM.
2,332 reviews193 followers
February 19, 2020
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

When I heard about Unspeakable I was immediately excited. There's such a lack of queer representation in what we might consider the 'traditional cannon' that this feels like a huge leap to address this. Unspeakable is such a fabulous anthology. It features stories about queer love, and characters existing in these spaces. Their ability to be heroes. To walk into dark basements at night. To confront the darkness. I think my favorite story has to be one that gives me serious "Bluebeard" vibes.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.6k reviews359 followers
December 11, 2020
I received this book from Caffeine Tours in exchange of an honest review.

I am so so so so hyped for this book. I may have read it before, or at least parts of it as a couple of stories were recognisable to me. But I still had tons of fun and found many new stories to enjoy. I like the diversity in the stories. And how creepy some of them were.

For each story I have written a small review to tell what I thought about the story. Did I like it? What wasn’t too my taste. That kind of stuff. Since this is an anthology I didn’t love everything, but I found plenty to like and also love.

Let Down by Claire Hamilton Russell: Star rating, 4.5 stars A great beginning to the anthology. This is a dark Rapunzel retelling and I loved it a lot. It had great characters, the Lady… I just wanted to give her a big hug, the poor thing has been through so much and has given up all hope. The one who wants to save her is brave and I admired their tenacity to not give up despite the pain. The ending was just so sweet and made me very happy.

Moonlight by Ally Kölzow: Star rating, 4.5 stars I recognise this story! Things in the walls. Forever running around always forgetting always remembering and forgetting. It was sad in many ways. But also very creepy. That ticking of the clock, the time running out. The things you see in the house. The ending just broke my heart.

An Account of Service at Meryll Point by C.L.: Star rating, 2 starsSorry, but what? While the story had some good moments, because you are curious about what is lurking in the tower. Is it a lover? Is it a demon? A witch? What is up there. Will someone open the door? It was also a bit too longwinded for me and I just got a bit bored. The ending… I am still not sure what is happening there. Is the lord the lady? Did our lord like to dress up? Was that it?

The White Door by Lindsay King-Miller: Star rating, 5 stars Another one I recognise. But this story was amazing, creepy, spooky, gruesome and OMG. I love the tension and how you could soon see that something was lurking in the house, that something was terribly wrong and that you should run run run and run. The ending, oh boy! Love that. Really well-written.

Doctor Barlowe’s Mirror by Avery Kit Malone: Star rating, 3 stars Not entirely my kind of story and at times it was a bit boring. The mirror/window reminded me, because of how often the guy longed to visit it, of Harry Potters Mirror of ERISED. I was just shouting at the two guys to close that danged mirror/window because I just got a big case of heebiejeebies because of it. I knew something was deadly wrong with that thing.

Laguna and the Engkanto by Katalina Watt: Star rating, 3 stars A bit weird, a bit strange, and at times a bit off-putting. I did love that the girl kept her connection to the sea, to the water. That she rediscovered it even further when she got older. I am still curious about the marks and what they mean. I have some thoughts, but I would have liked some more explanation about it. The ending, oh my gosh, that is one way to end a story. 😛

The Moon in the Glass by Jude Reid: Star rating, 5 stars: HOLY SHIRTBALLS. This story started off quite creepy but got more and more creepy as the story continued. THIS WAS AMAZING.

Brideprice: S.T. Gibson: Star rating, 1 stars: I would have enjoyed this better if I had any clue what the hell was going on. Blood? A dude with too many wives? More Blood? Russia? Something something?

Lure of the Abyss by Jenna MacDonald: Star rating, 3 stars: A good start, there were many creepy moments, but I don’t know.. I think this one could have been some pages shorter, now it just felt a bit long at times and I noticed my attention slipping. The ending was a bit sudden.

Hearteater by Eliza Temple: : I think I found my favourite story in this anthology. This was cute, adorable, sweet, a bit creepy and scary, but mostly just wonderful. I love both the characters and their secrets (though I figured out Kat’s instantly, but the other girl (whose name I don’t remember, sorry) took a bit longer.

Quicksilver Prometheus by Katie Young: Star rating, 5 stars: This was a fantastic story that had me thinking and wondering and also gave me a nice dose of goosebumps. It got scarier with each page. He got so obsessed with his work. Trying to escape whatever was lurking in his room (a lot of things). The ending, WOW.

Homesick by Sam Hirst: Star rating, 3.5 stars: Yes, I loved this story quite a bit, the premise is interesting. Sanan and Marion, well I was rooting for them. I loved the idea that one could bring a library with them and share those with other ghosts (on that note, argh to 200 years of being dead and out of books). But the story was just a bit too longwinded for me at times. It just felt like it went on and on.

Rodeo by Ryann Fletcher: Star rating, 5 stars: WOW, JUST WOW. This was a great short story about a girl with an abusive father meeting a sexy woman and then there is that ending for which I found the perfect GIF. While I thought something was up with the woman, I didn’t expect THAT. OH MY.

Lady of Letters by Heather Valentine: Star rating, 1 stars: Umm, sorry but what? I just don’t get this story at all? I thought Jade was someone she made up? Ian is her boyfriend or not? They never met until a bit further? That ending? I am so confused. Not for me this one.

Taylor Hall by Jen Glifort: Star rating, 4.5 stars: OK, I loved this one. Loved Emily and Kit. Loved their relationship. Loved that Kit figured out who they were. The house was amazing and I wouldn’t mind living there. Glad it turned out to be a kind house. And a matchmaker to boot. 😉

The Ruin by E. Saxey: Star rating, 3 stars: Despite being long-winded, it was an interesting story about a guy who gets just a bit too into end of the world books and how our MC is trying to figure things out and make sure that doesn’t happen. I loved the theme, loved that they discussed books, went to visit ruins.

The Dream Eater by Anna Moon: Star rating, 4 stars: Dreameaters, sex dreams, and writing. This was a weird story but I did enjoy it.

Leadbitter House by Mason Hawthorne: Star rating, 4 stars: This started off pretty OK, a guy inherits a house, tries to fix it (Marie Kondo style), holds an orgy. There is something in the garden. Then the ending happens and I was just like the last two GIFs. How? What? Whut? HELLO?

♕ ♕ ♕ ♕ ♕ ♕ ♕

All in all as you can see I had tons and tons of fun reading this book it was just so fabulous! I love the diversity in the stories, from ace to bi to trans, male/female/non-binary MCs. Some stories really gave me goosebumps, others were just spooky, and other again were more unsettling. I am delighted I could spend my afternoon reading this book and crafting this fun review. I would recommend this book to all.

In overall I would give the book 4 stars

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Valour.
130 reviews3 followers
February 29, 2020
Every short story in this anthology was brilliant. Every Single One. Normally an anthology will contain a few stories that just aren't quite as enjoyable, but I loved every story here.

Having a series of stories where I could see my queer, trans self represented was amazing. Some of the stories made me cry with a feeling of bittersweet recognition- that momentary stab in the heart of "it's not just me".

I reccomend this book most highly, unless you're a bigot. I hope it brings you a sense of wholeness ❤️🌈
Profile Image for KL Baudelaire.
67 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2020
I loved this book, and feel loath to spoiler any of the stories! The different tales represent such variety of style, tone and content, and even those which I didn't take to are likely to be someone else's favourites. It felt refreshing to read a book full of LGBTQIA+ representation from a variety of different backgrounds, and particularly in a genre that has historically centred straight, white, upper-middle-class characters.

My only complaint would be that there are no bios/details given for the authors of the stories - my favourite was by "CL", and I would love to know a little about them and what else they've written.
Profile Image for Julia O'Connell.
417 reviews14 followers
September 17, 2020
Unspeakable collects eighteen stories from contemporary queer writers that draw on the traditional trappings of the Gothic but with a new twist. You’ll see quite a few classic tropes in these stories, particularly haunted houses, deadly monsters, and murders most foul. But many of these tropes are played with and turned on their heads—especially the idea of what it means to be monstrous. And in contrast to the tragic endings you tend to see in early queer Gothic, most of the stories in this collection are quite uplifting and end on a positive note.

See my full review here: https://www.thegothiclibrary.com/revi...
Profile Image for Bex.
92 reviews15 followers
March 29, 2020
Really enjoyable anthology!! My favourite stories include Brideprice, Hearteater, and Quicksilver Prometheus!
April 1, 2020
This collection of stories is one of the best examples that I can think of of wide-ranging LGBT+ representation in any literature. Gay, non-binary and trans characters feature and I was even pleasantly surprised to find ace representation in the lovely The Dream Eater by Anna Moon. As an anthology, it lives up to its promise by offering such a rich variety of stories and characters for the reader to enjoy.

And that's before you get to the gothic themes, which are married up with the freshness of genuine queer representation to stunning effect here. I dare you not to be overcome with the feels after reading Moonlight by Ally Kölzow, or not to raise a smile upon the touching conclusion of An Account of Service at Meryll Point "as recollected and set down" by C. L. The stories range from the sweet to the scary, from joyful to heartbreaking. There are many nods to famous gothic fiction to be found, but in Unspeakable those classic narratives are told with brand new voices and many creative twists.

With such a well curated collection of tales, Unspeakable should appeal to all tastes - especially those who would like to see queer characters better represented in fiction. But I think anyone could enjoy these stories; a testament to the creative talent of each and every writer and the team involved in stitching together and bringing Unspeakable to life.
Profile Image for leo.
108 reviews42 followers
December 11, 2020

you can also click here to see the full post and join the giveaway!


representation in fiction has always been a most-talked about topic. for years, people from marginalized backgrounds ask for reps, which boost empowerment and recognition. this anthology is doing it! venturing into each title, you will find different characters, who represent unique individuals. aside from their identities, their situations can also relate to one reader or more. i found some that i could relate to, and i hope you will find yours when you read this book!


horror does not need jumpscares to drive the daylights away. sometimes, the ambiance is enough for one to conclude that they are reading horror. a number of the titles here did a great job at that. the authors wrote splendidly that they could evoke fear without need of headless ghosts materializing out of nowhere.


this is the best part! a heartless, literally, woman and a werewolf. two ghosts. a pirate and a mythical creature of the sea. every title has a romantic pairing to offer, and i loved most of them. each chemistry was something to behold. each kisses made the butterflies go crazy, crazy as some of the characters. thus, i was disappointed when the titles i favored are short for my liking. most of all, i feel like some of them should be a novella or a novel.

Profile Image for Briar Page.
Author 21 books76 followers
December 12, 2020
A solid anthology of new and emerging writers, with a wide variety of styles and interpretations of the "gothic" theme on display. Stories range from light, fluffy romance (albeit with spooky monsters/creatures) to traditional ghost and vampire tales with crumbling castles etc., to melancholic horror. Settings and types of queerness are nicely diverse here, too. I doubt anyone will enjoy every story in the anthology, but if "queer gothic" sounds at all like Your Kind of Thing, there's probably at least one in here you'll love.

My personal favorites are "Brideprice" and "The Ruin". "Quicksilver Prometheus" is also very good, although I am mildly annoyed with it because I've had an *extremely* similar story idea on the backburner for years! (Possibly, Katie Young and I were even inspired by the same news item about a Canadian sculptor who unwittingly poisoned herself with mussel shells.)
Profile Image for Ellie.
35 reviews
April 3, 2020
I was just going to give this five stars and done but actually I HAVE to talk about The Ruin because I'm completely obsessed with it. All that end of the world imagery? The lingering sense of foreboding and something about to go disastrously wrong? Engaging characters with an engaging relationship between them? Old English poetry? Completely skewed moral compasses? The utter skill with which it was written? I'm living for it. It's not just one of my favourites of this anthology, it's now one of my favourite short stories that I've read in general.

Other favourites include Brideprice, The Moon in the Glass (so spooky! Immoral, unreliable narrator!) and An Account of Service at Meryll Point-- that one had such a classic Gothic mood that really embodied the idea of something being 'unspeakable.' I also really liked the Southern Gothic thing that Rodeo had going on; and the triumphant body horror/gore imagery at the end of Leadbitter House was very cool. Love me some insides made outside.
Profile Image for Vo.
36 reviews2 followers
February 19, 2021
A book for those seeking to be seen

Every single story in this anthology is absolutely incredible and bursting with energy and emotion, demanding to be felt. Each one is unique and so well told that you will not want it to end. Everyone did such an amazing job, and I loved every moment!

I'm not an anthology kind of person; I like long winding tales oversaturated with descriptions and adventure — but this...I needed to read this. 💖
Profile Image for Mika J. Elijah.
72 reviews21 followers
March 14, 2021
The stories were really good and I loved that I learned more about gothic literature! (since I read with with my friend and she explained a lot ot me <3)
I had a really hard time reading this book due to ADHD but I'm really glad I did it!!

edit: "Whether you're looking for your non-binary knight in shining armour or [...]" THERE IS NO NONBINARY KNIGHT IN SHNING ARMOUR IN THIS BOOK AND I WAS HIGHKEY DISAPPOINTED
Profile Image for Madeleine Hernandez-g.
654 reviews27 followers
October 30, 2022
"Immune to heat and cold and every discomfort, they travelled where no living person could and laughed in the face of thundering showers of ice, the direst desert winds and the whirling blizzards of mountain peaks." (Homesick)

I'm so glad this collection exists! As with pretty much every short story collection, there are some stories that didn't work for me or that I found more forgettable. But there were a lot of stories that I loved, and I enjoyed the overall gothic feel of some stories, and of course the fact that the main characters were always queer. I'm glad that the horror genre includes more and more queer characters. I'm excited to get my hands on Unthinkable, the follow-up to this collection! Here are my first impressions of each story:

Let Down: 2.5 stars, Nothing wrong with it, it just fell flat for me.

Moonlight: 4 stars, I enjoyed it, but would have liked more explanation.

An Account of Service at Meryll Point: 3 stars, Intriguing but too short, it started to get interesting at the very end.

The White Door: 4.5 stars, I loved the gothic feel and the gay vibes between the two women!

Doctor Barlowe's Mirror: 4 stars, The theme of identity and seeing your "perfect self" was very well done.

Laguna and the Engkanto: 3 stars, I'm not sure I fully understood the ending but I enjoyed this aquatic horror tale!

The Moon in the Glass: 4 stars, I enjoyed the story between the two women, but I was a bit disappointed by the ending!

Brideprice: 3 stars, I loved the writing but I need to reread it to understand it better.

Lure of the Abyss: 4 stars, I loved the idea of a queer killer mermaid!

Hearteater: 4.5 stars, I loved this queer creature story, where I partly knew what was going on from the start, but I still found it very enjoyable. The sexual tension between the two characters was well done!

Quicksilver Prometheus: 3.5 stars, This was a good ghost story with a great gothic setting.

Homesick: 5 stars, This was such a heartwarmimg love story about two ghosts who love to read and to travel!

Rodeo: 4 stars, This was a quick but effective revenge story against a homophobic dad.

Lady of Letters; or, the Twenty-First Century Homunculus: 3 stars, This started out intriguing, and I thought it was going to have a creepy twist, but it fell a little flat.

Taylor Hall: 3.5 stars, I enjoyed this cozy "haunted" house story! Being able to talk to a house and for the house to respond sounds fun :).

The Ruin: 2.5 stars: It had an interesting premise, but I would've wanted more explanation about Robin's intentions.

The Dream Eater: 3.5 stars, I'm fascinated by dreams, so to think that real life and dreams can find ways to interact is so interesting (and horrifying at the same time).

Leadbitter House: 2.5 stars, This one felt a bit disjointed. I just didn't care about the plot, unfortunately.

"I don't yet rightly know what resides in the other world. It may truly be other versions of ourselves - or perhaps it's something else entirely, something that shows us what we would like to see...But there is no such thing as a perfect self. I love this body in some ways even as I despise it. What I see reflected in the mirror - whoever that man is, he wouldn't truly be me. Not as you know me at least. And that presumes that what it shows us isn't just an illusion, some sort of disguise designed to invoke jealousy." (Doctor Barlowe's Mirror)
Profile Image for Lauren (Northern Plunder).
356 reviews189 followers
September 9, 2020
My review was first posted on Northern Plunder, you can read more of my reviews there too.

You never truly know what you’re going to get when picking up an anthology, only a glimmer of knowledge of what could be inside.

To open with Let Down by Claire Hamilton Russell was, in fact, a brilliant decision.

As a result we are greeted with familiarity, with a reimagining. Yet one with an even more horrifying underlying truth. A person can not be held in a tower and remain the beauty they once were. Not under a curse.

I really appreciated this, as such a story is going to draw readers in. They’ll recognise it and appreciate the differences. The subtle horror and blossoming of hope.

The grin deepens as they flush. “It’s all I could ever have hoped for,” they say softly, shyly, gazing up at her.

From a tower trapping the living, to a house trapping the dead. A lovely thread passed to Moonlight by Ally Kölzow.

I believe anyone reading this anthology will understand that a story opening with a house that hungers, traps, and plays games, will always be something I eat up.

Honestly, the idea of playing a game with death, and exploring how grieving can work in different ways was a really interesting aspect.

The house always turned its back on her in the end, too. How many years of this would it take for her to accept it?

An Account of Service at Meryll Point as recollected and set down by C.L. is another “trapped in a tower” kind of horror. But spun is an entirely different way!

This story, in the form of a letter, tackles being trapped because of society and fighting gender-norms. I really appreciate this story, and the style of how it was delivered.

Next, The White Door by Lindsay King-Miller made me pause on the first page. The humour weaved within this story set the tone and made the narrator someone I could root for.

If I didn’t have more important things to occupy my mind, I might have accepted the position she offered. Maybe suggested a few as well.

Furthermore, as it progressed I only loved The White Door more as pretty early on I got vampire vibes. And your gal is a sucker for vampires! Needless to say this was a really atmospheric and tense read. Especially as Margaret throws herself into danger.

Although this story had me screaming me laughter on page one, the final had me screaming with need. This is definitely my story and I wouldn’t think twice about swapping places with Margaret. *actual heart eyes*

Her smile grew larger. Impossibly large. So wide and dark I could have fallen into it headlong. “I can make you like me,” she whispered.

Doctor Barlowe’s Mirror by Avery Kit Malone took me by surprise. Unspeakable opens with stories that have rather happy endings or undertones but this? This grabbed my heart, gave me hope, and then tore it in two.

A warning of a story if there ever was any.

However, I still thoroughly enjoyed it! Plus it also deals with accepting your own sexuality (gay) and subtlety explores transgender identity too.

His reflection stood patiently waiting for him—no, what an odd thought, he decided with a frown. Surely a reflection didn’t wait for anything at all.

Brideprice by S.T. Gibson blew me away. Broken up into three segments, one for each bride. Again, what can I do to throw my life away and join this family?

I loved that each of the brides came from very different backgrounds and identities. So in short it was really lovely getting to know these characters in their struggles of life.

S.T has a way with words for sure. Their work is very atmospheric and at times very poetic too.

My grandmother had whispered stories of a demon who roamed the battlefields after the killing had ended, a night creature, so unholy the devil never invited him in for dinner.

Yes! Lure of the Abyss by Jenna Macdonald brings us a wonderful mermaid tale. My heart is full.

It’s full of both terror and love.

Following a sailor as she deals with the grief of watching her fellow sailors be taken to the depths. But also the dawning horror of her limited chances of survival.

Above all I loved the development of the mermaids personality and characteristics. Macdonald’s writing really captivated me and I felt their own style really came across in this story.

She was beautiful, in the way that the raging storm around us was beautiful. Wild and raw.

With a title like Hearteater (by Eliza Temple), and using the phrase “come in”. Specifically just before the stranger at midnight steps over a threshold, I had every right to feel my heart pitter patter. In excitement of course. This has to be another blessed vampire tale , right?

Wrong. But it’s okay, there’s other hints to other creatures which I was also eagerly excited to read about.

At its heart, this story is a love story between two broken monsters. Who upon finding out each other’s secrets are willing to continue developing the relationship that had previously started.

Another element I enjoyed for this one is that even though both characters are comfortable in their own sexuality, they still pause. Pause to remember that society, and there for each other, might not accept it

Something stirred within me, the thing which I had learned to immediately smother.

Home Sick by Sam Hirst is truly a blessed story. We get to follow two ghost gals as they bond over books, theatre, and travelling the world. What more could you want?

All whilst having no place to call home.

Until, at last they do. Upon coming to terms with what they mean to each other.

This is a tale that touched my heart above all.

Sanan’s concentrated face and the smile that curved her lips, she wondered if she had ever seen anything quite so beautiful.

Rodeo by Ryann Fletcher certainly has one of the best openings I’ve experienced. And an even better closing line.

I’ll be honest I almost didn’t read this one, and when I did I maybe didn’t have any expectations. I’m just not made for religious and rodeo themed stories.

However I am made for ones that surprise you, and address the homophobia neck on.

I’m made for “…won’t you invite me in?”

Sadie Mae had spent all of her twenty five years hearing about the seven deadly sins in her father’s church, but it wasn’t until the night of the midnight rodeo that she experienced lust for the first time.
What are my final thoughts on Unspeakable?

Even though there were a few stories that I didn’t enjoy*, I know as a whole this anthology was worth my investment! It’s definitely one of the stronger ones I’ve read.

*One was too sexual therefore lil ol ace me wasn’t a fan, and others just weren’t my cuppa tea! But on the whole this was an enjoyable read & I’m truly very happy with it.

Overall I’m a big fan of this anthology and believe it’s one you should definitely prioritise in supporting. The representation throughout was so wholesome to read.

I’d definitely recommend picking up a copy when able!
Profile Image for Mx Phoebe.
1,000 reviews
June 2, 2020
Once again I let my finger blindly dictate where I would begin this anthology and Laguna and the Engkanto written by Katalina Watt is my first stop. Watt writes a descriptive story about a girl not only exploring her body, but who she might be. While embracing each new discovery, she unwittingly welcomes an unknown into her mist. Then ends up facing a very unexpected discovery. Yeah, let��s just say I was ready to scream with her (laugh).

Still stunned by Watt, I rolled right into death and marriage in The Moon in the Glass written by Jude Reid. Young love goes slightly wrong or is it right for Charlotte? This story reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode and would make an excellent one. On the same night Charlotte gets married, someone is found dead. What is real? What isn’t? In this historical spooky story, you won’t know until the end.

Reading E. Saxey’s The Ruin was a bit eerie living in a world we are in right now. A man trying to get anyone to believe that his lover wants to destroy the world. Is his lover really a terrorist? A dreamer? Or just a pessimist? You tell me after you read the story.

I was fortunate enough to be part of the Cover Reveal promo team for this book and I fell in love with the cover. I knew without having read anything about the book that I was going to read this book. This is a cover that you buy the hardcover of the book for. Kudos to Jenni Coutts and Charlie Bramald for such an amazing cover. If you ever produce poster size prints: YES PLEASE!!!

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.
Profile Image for Kelsee.
140 reviews7 followers
December 11, 2020
This anthology was such an excellent read! It's rare that I enjoy an anthology as a whole because there's inevitably one or two of the stories that I don't enjoy. But this one was absolutely fantastic. There is such a wide range of identities from story to story, plus a lot of sapphic stories which I feel we always need more of! Since this book declares itself a gothic anthology, I was sure that I was mostly in for creepy and dark stories with a less than happy ending. And while there were those stories, there was actually so much queer joy in these stories it was such a pleasant surprise and one of the reasons I rated it five stars.

Along with the wide range of identities in this book, there was such a wide range of settings as well. When someone says "gothic" you imagine castles, vampires, and dark stormy nights... or at least I do. But the settings were so wide and diverse and a lot of the authors in this really pushed the bounds of what most people would consider gothic and I loved this aspect as well. There were the traditional haunted houses, but there was also a rodeo in east Texas, a seaside village, and one that spanned the whole entire globe. This really was a uniquely rich collection of stories.

I would most definitely recommend this book if you're in the mood for some queer short stories that feature a diverse cast of monsters and hauntings. This really was a wonderful read!

I received a digital copy of this book from Caffeine Book Tours and the editor as part of my participation in their tour.
Representation: trans, gay, lesbian, non-binary, ace
Content Warnings: imprisonment, non-consensual sex, death of loved one, transphobia, violence, murder, death of parent, hallucinations, mention of sexual assault, blood-drinking, some people get eaten by a sea monster, mild gore, mention of death of children, homophobia, domestic violence, cheating, panphobia (challenged), body dysmorphia, threat of the apocalypse, illness of loved one, body horror

Profile Image for David.
129 reviews1 follower
December 6, 2020
There is a long history of LGBTQ horror and fantasy creaters and dramatisers within the field, so the idea of an anthology centred around queer characters and themes is not so surprising as it might first appear. It still means that we dive into the familiar territory of old houses, murder and dark secrets. Some familiar monsters turn up as well, but the different authors are able to find new approaches to these and their associated tropes. Among the highlights of the stories are ‘Quicksilver Prometheus’ by Katie Young about an artist haunted by his memories, collecting materials for his work by the sea. ‘Homesick, by Sam Hirst is a ghost story with a different perspective. And ‘The Ruin’ by E Saxey were the secret of a dark ambition comes to be revealed with a sense of unease about it. This is an entertaining collection that proves that the gothic short story still has some unlife in it.
Profile Image for Rain.
Author 8 books14 followers
December 27, 2020
Queers and goths make natural friends, and many are both. The extraness, the melancholy, the outsider status, "accept me as I am and then let me be."
This delightful anthology out of the UK skews more comfy-camp or heart-wrenching than earnestly horrifying, and dark lord knows we could use that these days. As with all anthologies, some pieces will be more for any reader than others, but this was overall very consistently high quality, well-edited, and a real bummer to be finished with.

More an observation than a quibble, but it was interesting to read that in most of the stories, the queer characters were also the monsters. Don't get me wrong, we have as much right and proclivity to be monstrous as the general population, and who wouldn't love some superpowers such as being able to haunt or eat our enemies, or read every book ever? But the trope of queer-coding monsters and villains throughout history and literature kept drawing my attention, more by attrition than any one story being problematic. Still, some saucy revenge and indulgence in degeneracy are delicious, and I look forward to more from these authors!
Profile Image for Leon.
78 reviews
June 25, 2020
A great variety of different stories, some hopeful and some filled with despair, but all delightfully queer
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