The first half of the stories are by Dalton. It’s The Little Things follows a businessman who meets a tramp telling a very strange story about his fall from Heaven and his attempts to help the people he meets on Earth, with failed results…until the businessman suggests that he tries a different approach. The Homecoming follows a fallen son as he tries to return to Heaven, and the tests that he faces when he does so. In The Angel of Skegness, a man wakes up after a stag do in Skegness, wondering what happened…and in The Malforbiddance, a wizard is trying to prevent his own death by summoning and trapping death – but of course, it never goes exactly to plan! The son of an angel and a demon suddenly finds he’s being chased by people intent on finding his parents in the aptly-named The Angel & The Demon. The Knight, Death and the Devil is a short concept story of a knight who rides with the devil and death, and Interview With The Angel, the final of Dalton’s stories, does what it says on the tin!
The Watcher, from Sammy HK Smith, starts with a train crash and follows the life of the narrator, from relationship to relationship. In The Lucky Ones by Michael Bowman, the ability to sync your life into a backup system and create new bodies whenever someone needs one means people can’t die – but at what cost? The Old Man Who Wasn’t From Castalla by Andrew Coulthard follows an inventor in search of freedom, and in The Golem by Caimh McDonell, a town gains a mysterious, indestructible protector – with a secret. The final story, Matthew White’s The Angel in Ida Tueboll’s Cupboard, follows top bully Ida Tueboll’s decision to summon an angel – except that she accidentally summons something else…
I’ll say flat out; I don’t get on with Dalton’s writing. It’s not bad but I do find it hard to read, and most of the stories had no spark for me. I did enjoy The Knight, Death & The Devil, which I’d love to see broadened out into a longer story – sort of Don Quixote with a twist! The other stories were all interesting concepts, but I simply don’t like Dalton’s style enough to get into them.
The other works in this book were good. My favourite by far was Sammy Smith’s The Watcher; I may be biased as she’s a friend (and my publisher), but when a story makes you cry, you’ve gotta give it some credit! Andrew Coulthard’s twist on Deadelus and his wings in The Old Man was an interesting one, part fairytale and part modern life, and The Lucky Ones was a good sci-fi concept with an eerie slant. The Golem is a nicely different take on the superhero stories, and White’s Ida Tueboll stories are always entertaining with their unique voice.
I liked the range of genres and the different voices of the anthology; the stories are all very different, which is nice. However, while this anthology is good and has some interesting concepts, it lacks sparkle.
Disclaimer; I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review…and as you can see, I am honest! But hey, as a reviewer – you win some, you lose some.