Title: Darker Daze: Storms Within Vol. 1
Author: A. L. Mabry
Darker Daze: Storms Within Vol. 1 is a collection of short stories with quite the dark bent to them in this collection. From realistic fiction to outright horror and a little dark fantasy thrown in, there’s quite the range of stories in this collection. As with any collection, some stories hit the mark well for me and others just weren’t as much my thing.
Overall, the writing is tight and gripping. Even with the stories I didn’t connect to as much, the narrative came across clean and strong. The writing style created good tension, excellent pacing, and a nice level of detail.
I loved Beneath Salem from this collection. It’s is more of a fantasy story about a witch being burned at Salem. Even though the whole story takes place in less than an hour, it is a compelling story. The character development in such a short space is excellent. I also appreciated how much story was packed into the relatively small word count. It felt like a well-developed story even though the actual story timeline was so short.
Another story I loved out of this collection was Belladonna. It’s odd for me to say this because the story implies child sex trafficking. However, the topic was handled well. It never got graphic, and the punishment angle for that kind of illegal behavior was quite fitting. What impressed me the most out of this story is how much was packed into the story. Complex characters, tons of tension, a plot that was both excruciatingly slow and yet fast paced at the same time.
I think the only con I have for this collection is that one story didn’t seem to fit as well as the others. Now, don’t get me wrong. The Next Bestseller is a well written, angry, and jealous story. As a story in and of itself, I think it was fine. It just didn’t seem to fit as well with the rest of the collection. The rest of the stories in this collection hit on various forms of abuse, abandonment, and such. This story seemed more to be about jealousy and a desire to be the best regardless of what it takes.
Overall, I really enjoyed this collection. It is definitely not for the faint of heart or young. If you have any history that includes suffering violence at the hands of someone else, be careful. I could see where this collection can be triggering. It’s dark, very dark, but I still give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.