A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters is a collection of Christmas - and winter-themed short stories from an international group of authors with diverse perspectives. Each of the stories was selected for the incredible world building, character development, and fantastic storytelling. The collection is divided into two groups: stories that include Christmas or have a Christmas theme, and stories that take place in winter. None of the stories are for the faint of heart, and we strongly advise that everyone read the content notes in their entirety. The Christmas tales are a mixture of profound loss and familiar fantasy with a fresh twist. The fantasy Christmas stories are a mixture, ranging from tales of despair and frustration to those with hope, delight, and an amusing twist. The darkest of winter begins with a whimsical fantasy tale, followed by some paranormal tales that will leave you feeling haunted. Also included are dark contemporary, dark fantasy, chilling and brutal horror, and postapocalyptic science fiction. The contemporary works include twisted tales of sadness and loss. There are no purely happy endings, but there are many thrills, chills, and surprises.
The Sound of Wolves by Gwen Katz.
The two of them pull their blankets tighter around themselves and sink lower into the muddy ditch that will one day be a street, not that it would offer any protection if the beasts decided to attack. Their work crew had to claw out this ditch with their bare hands, which was hell on Ulrik’s still-healing arm. If there are any shovels in this worksite, Ulrik hasn’t seen them. There are wolves in Sweden, of course, but Ulrik lives in an apartment in Stockholm and has never even seen a wolf. Or rather, that’s where he lived once. Before the Army. Before the battle. Before he was captured and press-ganged into building a city for his enemies.
The wind shrieks through the ditch, which, far from sheltering them, seems to funnel its full force directly onto the cluster of workers. There are no buildings here yet. Just ditches and the foundations of a lone fortress. The serfs haven’t even had a chance to build shelters for themselves. A fat raindrop splatters against Ulrik’s cheek as though God is spitting on him. It’s raining. Of course it is.
As the downpour pelts them, Grishka looks up at the sky and shrugs, as if to say that he didn’t expect any better.
And the worst part, thinks Ulrik, is that it’s summer. It’s going to get worse. It’s going to get so much worse.
4 out of 5 (very good)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
A collection of 23 different authors come together to bring you short stories set around the winter season or Christmas.
Not a single one of these authors have I read before, and there is a varied bunch of tales here. Some are just sad but some are downright scary!
Loosely, they are "holiday" stories, but more are winter ones, rather than Christmas.
An eclectic bunch of tales that can be read at any time, but I'd recommend NOT at bedtime! You might stop on one of the scary ones, and get some weird dreams as a consequence, like I did!
I didn't read them all, I will be honest, but the ones I read were very good, or excellent. Just on the short side. but 23 stories across 360 odd pages is never going to produce novel length books.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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This Anthology was written by an international team of renowned short story authors. Each author’s point of view is unique, and their voices are from groups not typically heard from. Every author is either a BIPOC, neurodivergent, part of the LGBTQIA community, or is physically or mentally disabled. This thrilling work contains story that reflect their own voices and lived experiences.