The Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror

Page Street. Sept. 2022. 272p. ed. by Tori Bovalino. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781645676225.
Gr 7 Up–A collection of short stories about hometown horrors. Folk horror is a genre that uses elements of folklore; it usually has a rural setting and themes of nature and religion. The stories in this collection—contributing authors include Erica Waters, Chloe Gong, Hannah Whitten, Allison Saft, Aden Polydoros, and more—follow this formula closely. Most of these modern tales have a female teen protagonist, living in a rural area, who either already knows or comes to find that a local legend is true to frightening effect. This adherence to formula isn’t total, however, as the stories contain a diversity of race, sexuality, and type of monster. There are several haunted houses, as well as town curses, vengeful forests, and hungry lakes. Teen drinking, swearing, and mentions (not depictions) of sexual assault may up the age range for some readers, as well as the expected horror elements. Although the twists and turns may be a bit predictable for the horror-buff, these stories still provide a thrilling ride.
VERDICT A good buy where horror anthologies are popular. Hand this book to fans of “good for her” horror movies like The Witch and listeners of horror anthology podcasts such as Old Gods of Appalachia and The Magnus Archives.

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