Reviews

Less Than Dead

Editor: Samantha M. Derr

Publisher: LessThanThree Press

Publication Date: 26th October 2016

Rating: 3.5/5. Stars

Divesity: LGBT Characters

TW: character death, horror

Summary: There’s nothing quite so terrifying as a corpse that moves, a creature that even death can’t stop. It’s all the worse when the living dead is someone you love…

Dove in the Window by Kara Race-Moore – In 1930’s Appalachia, Cecilia McGurk is just beginning to recover from the fact that the first love of her life, Pearl, has died. Then Pearl shows up one night and crawls into bed with her, bemoaning that she can’t sleep.

Only Human by Meredith Katz – When Saul learns that his sudden bought of sickness is actually a curse, he’s referred to a necromantic specialist. But the ordeal is made moderately better by the cute receptionist, Theo, who is exactly Saul’s type—aside from the fact that he’s dead.

Lavish are the Undead by B.A. Huntley – It’s another day at the gym for Mick, working out and listening to her DJ girlfriend, until she steps outside and finds the world under attack by strange, doll-like creatures—and her girlfriend trapped at the top of a building on the other side of town.

The Eighth Tree by Alex Stitt – Banished to no man’s land after an attempt to hide their relationship is mistaken for insurrection, Edward and Daniel swiftly find that a German minefield is the least of their problems, as a strange yellow mist starts bringing dead soldiers back to life.

Orion Shone Right Through by Dmitri Dene – Marcus’s career hits a snag when the Stock Exchange is wiped out by zombies. He quickly finds himself amidst an epidemic that feels just like the movies, but the weirdest part may be getting along with the last three people in New York; namely, the one he just divorced.

A Witch in Arkham by Cora Walker – Lexa is going about her daily work of speaking to the dead when she receives a mysterious warning from a deceased former lover. Then the Magi come asking for help, and Lexa has little choice but to agree, and soon finds herself dragged into a much bigger problem than anticipated.

Zoey Loves Zombies by Adele Gardener – Indigo wants to leave, and Zoey wants to stay where they’re relatively safe from the undead. In the midst of their argument, tragedy strikes, and Indigo is turned. But Zoey refuses to give up, willing to do anything to keep Indigo at her side.

Noble Pursuit by Helena Maeve – After weeks of erring around the countryside at the mercy of the hordes, Ephram should breathe a sigh of relief when he is rescued by the dashing Lord Delaney. But Delaney hides a secret of his own and his obligations may only serve to put Ephram in greater danger.

Goodreads

Order here: Amazon | LessThanThree

Disclaimer:  I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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A nice collection of eight short stories. It is definitely the perfect read for Halloween. And to be honest who of us hasn’t dreamed of some Zombie(-apocalypse) stories featuring LGBT Characters?

Dove in the Window

Diversity: lesbian MCs, f/f

The story is set in Kentucky in the 1930s. Cissy regularly wakes up to her now deceased lover Pearl night walking from the grave straight into her bed. She isn’t that worried about the night walking part at first, apparently that’s something that happens, but she’s worried somebody might find out and question why Pearl’s undead nightly adventures lead her into her best friends bed and not her fiancée’s. Still Pearl keeps complaining that she can’t sleep and so Cissy attempts to speak with Death in a midnight séance. He tells her that somebody or something is keeping the Dead from resting and she has to figure out who it is. And she will not have to do it alone. The attractive Northerner Marie has been chosen by Death to help her.

I have to say that while I liked the idea of this story it was quite slow and I didn’t really feel interested in it for quite some time, but when Marie entered the story the pace picked up a bit and the end was really nice. 3.5/5 Stars

Only Human

Diversity: bisexual MC, m/m

Saul has been feeling ill for a while now and when he finally goes to the hospital, he is quickly referred to a magic illness specialist and in the end ends up at a Necromancers. This freaks him out, but only so far as magic illnesses are harder to deal with than normal ones. Living in a world where souls can easily be bound to a body again, magic is nothing unusual. To break the curse he has to put “dead flesh into his body in a sexual context” or wait for the necromancer to break it which could take weeks and they wouldn’t be able to find the person who cast the curse. Thankfully there’s a good-looking (but still dead) Zombie Receptionist. Without thinking Saul invites him on a date.

There are two bisexual characters (Saul & Jill, a former hook up of his), there’s nice humor and it was really nice to watch their slowly budding relationship. The long sex scene however wasn’t exactly my favorite thing in the story and grossed me out quite bad. The writing is quite good however. 3.5/5. Stars

Lavish are the Undead

Diversity: lesbian MCs, disabled character, f/f

While Mick is at the Gym working out her girlfriend Billie is working as a DJ at the radio station. However Mick’s workout is brought to an abrupt stop when the power flickers and sudden panic erupts in the Gym. When Mick gets out she see’s… ceramic dolls attacking people and smashing all reflecting surfaces, as they seem to enrage them. Saving an elderly woman from those creatures she makes her escape. Now all that’s left to do is saving her girlfriend. who by the way is stuck in a giant glass tower 100 floors above the ground and unable to escape as the power keeps failing, the elevator is not a safe option to take and she’s in a wheelchair.

I love Mick, she is really badass and the story is quite fast paced and exiting. Also if you listen to the songs Billie plays on the radio, while reading the story it’s even nicer. All in all this was a really nice short story. 4.5/5. Stars

The Eight Tree

Diversity: gay MCs, m/m

Two soldiers, Edward and Daniel met on the battlefield on the way to the Western Front and soon get quite close. When their sergeant catches them, one of them shoots the other one in the leg. They are dishonorably discharged and have to flee. Caught in No Man’s Land between the two armies there is no way for them to go. They hide in the woods until a missile kills their entire first battalion. But instead of staying dead, the Soldiers raise again.

Personally I am not a huge fan of war stories so this story didn’t really speak to me. it was also told very non-linear and I had to reread it to make sense of it, which was quite annoying. 2/5. Stars

Orion Shone Right Through

Diversity: gay MCs, nonbinary character, m/m

Marcus has been living in the Zombie Apocalypse for a while now. He survives by looting grocery stores. When he meets Daisy, he is just about to figure out what he wants to eat. Together they decide to find the military helicopter and fly to safety. But when they are on the needed housetop they hear people screaming for help. Turns out one of the people they save is Marcus’ ex Cal. The second character is Beckett, a nonbinary person who just wants to get out of New York and find their twin.

There are some incredible confusing time jumps and the ending is not really satisfying, it feels quite open and like a terrible cliffhanger. I did like that a nonbinary character with they/their pronouns was featured, but somehow everybody immediately knew that they were nonbinary, which probably wouldn’t even happen in a zombie apocalypse. I think there could have been some better explanation of that, like this it just felt like another weird time jump. 2/5. Stars

A Witch in Arkham

Diversity: bisexual MC, f/f

Set in an alternative world where witches, zombies and templars exist. Lexa is a witch and she has been hired to raise a dead to settle a century-long inheritance debate. But instead of the ghost she wanted to raise, her deceased boyfriend appears to her and warns her. Not long after she is hired to find Michael, a former templar who presumable ran away and is now hiding in Arkham. But to find him, she has to work with Phoebe, the templar her ex boyfriend told her to trust. There are reanimators raising the dead and putting souls back into dead bodies, magic practitioners of all kinds, meat markets who are like black markets except well they sell human meat and it’s super illegal, the Deep Ones.

The magical world is sadly not incredible well explained and I would have loved this story to be longer as I adored the setting and would have probably enjoyed it even more if there was some more time to really explain everything. But Lexa uses the B-Word as well and there is some great humor playing on her bisexuality in the end which is really nice to read. 5/5. Stars

Zoey Loves Zombies

Diversity: f/f

Before Indigo was attacked by a Zombie Owl and subsequently turned, she and Zoey had a terrible fight. Indigo wanted to leave for New York and Zoey wanted to stay. She tries to keep Indigo from turning to quickly by using salt baths to conserve her body and all kinds of nice smelling ointment to hide the stink of her rotting flesh. But Indigo will not stay sentient for much longer.

This story is honestly quite gross so if you’re into the gory part of the Zombie Apocalypse this is probably a nice story for you. Gore with Feelings. It was interesting to read, but I was pretty grossed out at points. I really love the ending though. 3.5/5. Stars

Noble Pursuit

Diversity: trans man, m/m

TW: misgendering

Lord Delaney is quite good at hunting Zombies, who dare put a foot on his land. Set in rural England the 19th century this is definitely a very interesting setting. He is quite alone in his castle until he finds Ephram, a boy who keeps a big secret. But Lord Delaney does not care, as he too has a big secret. While some noble Englishman have balls and feasts, filled with chatter and dancing, the zombies attack and it is left to Ephram and Lord Delaney to save as many people as they can, Lord Delaney’s brother included.

The story is quite nice and Ephram’s and Lord Delaney’s love story is quite cute, but there are some abrupt jumps in perspective, which kind off threw me out of the story a bit. The writing was nice however. 4/5. Stars

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