Blair's Reviews > Disturbing the Beast

Disturbing the Beast by Nici West
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2019-release, read-on-kindle, short-stories, ghosts-and-horror, macabre-slipstream-weird, anthology

(3.5) Disturbing the Beast, the first book from new independent publisher Boudicca Press, is a short anthology of weird fiction by women. The varied contents raise from creepy historical fiction to contemporary fantasy, and quite a lot of things in between. A couple of stories didn't work for me, but that's always the way with anthologies, and overall this is a strong collection, well worth reading. My favourites were:

'Girls Are Always Hungry When All the Men Are Bite-Size' by Kirsty Logan. What an excellent title! It's about a mother-daughter team of fake psychics, and what happens when a paranormal investigator decides to expose them. As the first story in the book, it sets the tone – and does so with a bold, ruthless efficiency.

'Dolly' by Jane Alexander. In the near future, a woman goes to see an exhibition about cloning; as she reminisces on her childhood, we begin to understand why the subject is significant to her. A bittersweet, melancholy tale about grief and mother-daughter relationships.

'Wrapped' by Aliya Whiteley. Probably the best thing in the book, Whiteley's story follows an explorer, Ursula, who discovers the death mask of a forgotten female pharaoh. It's a lament for women erased from history, but also an effective narrative in its own right. Ursula is an engaging character and it's easy to get caught up in the urgency of her journal entries.

'Electric Girl' by Carolyn Jess-Cooke. An artist named Athena starts a new relationship and becomes obsessed with painting her lover. I just really liked the way this was written; Athena's art – and her grief – seemed very real to me.

I received a complimentary copy of Disturbing the Beast as a Kickstarter reward for helping fund the project.

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Reading Progress

March 28, 2019 – Shelved
April 9, 2019 – Started Reading
April 10, 2019 – Finished Reading

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