Garden of Eldritch Delights — Lucy A. Snyder

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TITLE: Garden of Eldritch Delights
AUTHOR: Lucy A. Snyder
RELEASED: October 18th, 2018; Raw Dog Screaming Press
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGE COUNT: 184

SYNOPSIS:
Master short story author Lucy A. Snyder is back with a dozen chilling, thought-provoking tales of Lovecraftian horror, dark science fiction, and weird fantasy. Her previous two collections received Bram Stoker Awards and this one offers the same high-caliber, trope-twisting prose. Snyder effortlessly creates memorable monsters, richly imagined worlds and diverse, unforgettable characters.

Open this book and you’ll find a garden of stories as dark and heady as black roses that will delight fans of complex, intelligent speculative fiction.

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Three underrated things I love in horror: subversive Lovecraftian themes, tough ladies, and diversity.

There’s a trail of blood on the carpet leading out of the bedroom, and your only thought is that if you can just find your heart, maybe everything will be okay. Maybe the pain will stop.

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Luckily, Garden of Eldritch Delights offers each of those themes in spades. Throughout the collection, there are endless themes that feel inspired by Lovecraft without seeming too familiar, and most of the protagonists are angry, feisty women who have a bone to pick with something or something. There’s a delightful amount of diversity woven into the stories, and each story is just as feminist as the last.

The collection kicks off with my favorite, That Which Does Not Kill You: a story about a woman waking up to find that her girlfriend has ripped her heart clean out of her chest. It starts off gory and morbid, but quickly reveals itself to carry a much more real-world experience of abuse and gaslighting that was so well written and authentic.

Collateral damage. Your lover was not exercising a surgeon’s precision last night.

A few other notable favorite mentions go to The Yellow Death, a fascinating new take on vampires (major trigger warnings for rape here, though!), and Executive Functions, in which any of my fellow “raging feminist” horror readers can get a fix of watching a heartless, misogynistic rapist undergo a little karmic justice. Though the three I’ve named here were the ones I loved the most, I actually gave almost every story 4 or more stars, which is something I can rarely say about a collection!

The only reason Garden is getting 4 stars instead of 5 from me is because the last few stories, sadly, totally lost me. The collection began to go downhill with A Noble Endeavor, a story with a black slave as a narrator, which had an ending that made me feel vaguely uncomfortable in a way I don’t quite know how to explain. Things picked back up with the next story, but the final two felt very lacking and didn’t fit the collection as a whole to me—I honestly think I would have rated the whole book higher if they’d been left out.

Still, this is a very positive 4-star rating from me, and I absolutely recommend checking out Garden of Eldritch Delights if you are at all interested in feminist or Lovecraftian horror! I think Snyder did an amazing job with the majority of these stories and I’ll absolutely be checking out more of her work in the future.

Content warnings for misogyny, rape, ableism, abuse, extreme racism (all challenged in text), body horror, gratuitous violence/murder/torture/etc.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Raw Dog Screaming Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Just a 26-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

8 thoughts on “Garden of Eldritch Delights — Lucy A. Snyder

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