Just finished another spectacular anthology from Dragon Moon Press called When the Villain Comes Home! Seriously, these people are super solid; go to their website and buy their books. You will NOT be disappointed.
Also, I welcome and desire comments! Let me know if you liked my review, if you disagreed with it, if I didn’t go into enough detail, or if you just want to say hi. I want to hear from you! Review below!
It’s hard to care about a villain. We see someone who seems to enjoy doing horrible things, and our initial instinct is immediately to oppose him or her. We root for the hero, the person who spearheads our own side. We don’t care what’s happened to the villain or what motivates him or her. We just want the threat to be over.
Dragon Moon Press has collected another anthology, this time of 30 fantasy and/or science fiction short stories from the villain’s perspective. What happens to the villain after that massive encounter with the hero? Does he regroup and try again? Does he reform his ways? Does he meet a bigger, badder villain who takes over, or a special person who convinces him that change is better? How does his family react to him? These are some of the questions answered in the various stories of When the Villain Comes Home.
This is another wonderful book from DMP, and I actually thought it was even better than its heroic counterpart. There was again a wide range of characters, with a wide range of voices. Obviously, I liked some of the stories better than others, but I wouldn’t say any of them were weak. I’m pretty sure that the theme was covered from every imaginable angle, and even some that I never would have imagined. This book will startle, shock, amuse, horrify, break the heart, and above all delight its readers. The worst part for me was realizing I had come to the end.
A few of the stories in particular really jumped out at me. My uncontested favorite was titled “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me,” and it was a positively magnificent piece I intend to revisit time and again. It was so beautifully written that I found myself entranced by the horrific and mind-boggling ideas within it, instead of repulsed by them. It also contained an incredible twist that I (who can predict all kinds of things when reading, because I know how to look for those little hints the author drops) never saw coming. I actually forgot to breathe during the final page of the story, so I can unabashedly call it a breathtaking story.
Marie Bilodeau’s “Happily Ever After” gave a unique take on the theme. Instead of just having a person who is a villain throughout, her main character was a shapeshifter with dissociative identity disorder. In other words, only one of the character’s personalities was actually evil. And then, for an extra bit of deliciousness, she put it in first person. Going through the character’s process of tamping down the evil personality and clinging to a good one was absolutely marvelous.
Finally, they say that behind every great man is an even greater woman. But nobody considers that behind every evil man who scares the crap out of everyone else, there must be an even worse woman who scares the crap out of him. Chris A. Jackson’s “Home Again, Home Again” demonstrates this in a truly unique view of this anthology’s theme.
It was really hard to pick these three out, not because they’re slightly better than the other average works, but because they happened to jump out at me a little more than the other magnificent works. The theme was a unique idea, and the stories delivered in a spectacular way.
Parent Warning: There is some sexual content, as well as some disturbing mental images in these stories. I would NOT recommend it for someone under the age of 16, and I would really encourage more adults than children to read this, due to the above content, as well as some ideas and writing styles that would probably be over most children’s comprehension level. This is mature reading.