Sep 26, 2023

Review--A Taste of Darkness edited by Amy McCaw & Maria Kuzniar


A chilling, thrilling collection of 13 haunting tales. Perfect for every YA reader!

From supernatural thrillers to contemporary horror, creepy ancient legends to murders gone wrong - this insatiable anthology is impossible to put down, and even more difficult to forget.

From some of the most celebrated authors writing in this space, this must-have collection will keep you awake at night and inhabit your darkest dreams.

Co-curated by Amy McCaw and Mia Kuzniar, this anthology has a story for every reader out there.

Perfect for fans of Stranger Things, Wednesday, and all things scary!

Featuring stories from: Amy McCaw, Maria Kuzniar, Kat Dunn, Kat Ellis, Rachel Faturoti, Kathryn Foxfield, Dawn Kurtagich, Amy McCulloch, Cynthia Murphy, Melinda Salisbury, Louie Stowell, Rosie Talbot, Mary Watson.


If you want to read something truly terrifying and creepy than I urge you to pick up this creeptastic anthology, A Taste of Darkness! I know there’s mixed feelings when it comes to anthologies, I honestly love them! This is how I discovered favorite authors in my early days of reading and I love discovering new authors in this way too! I already plan on looking into a few new to me authors from this book because these stories were horrifying in the best spooktacular way! If you don’t want to know what the stories were about, just skip on down to the third to last paragraph as below you’ll find a short description of what was happening at the start of the story and a comment or two about it at large.

How To Disappear by Rosie Talbot was a mysterious story that followed Finch as he guided his friends into a dangerous forest on the most dangerous night of them all. The forest is rumored to be filled with deadly creatures, but for teenage boys this just means more fun!

Amy McCaw’s The House with Teeth an intriguing story that followed a teenaged girl named Violet who was excited to throw a Halloween party in her house while her parents were away. She was given a set of rules to follow and had every intention of following them until a very cute boy named Jack shows up. This one gave me some Monster House vibes, but of course, this was a bit deadlier than that one!

With a story titled like Kathryn Foxfield’s Come Find Me, you can expect something horrific and we pretty much got that with this! Avery is a teenager living with her grandmother but she has no clear cut memories of her child hood when she was eight and something happened to a girl named Lydia. While Avery tries to get her hateful grandmother to open up to her, but the grandma despises her. Then spooky things start happening when a doll appears…and it. Won’t. Go. Away. Anything with dolls in tends to creep me out! So naturally, this story had me spooked!

The Wolf and the Witch by Maria Kuzniar was another interesting one that involved a young girl trying to save her grandmother from a terrible curse. So naturally, she must seek out a powerful and terrifying witch in the woods to help save her grandma before it’s too late.

Melinda Salisbury wrote a pretty creep tale with St. Clover in which a teenaged Cicely, discovers a saint card at her grandma’s funeral. Yet it’s for a saint she’s never heard of before. St. Clover, the saint of the hungry and flowers. But after finding the card, Cicely suddenly has a hard time of sating her insatiable appetite.

The Visiting Grey by Kat Ellis was another really creepy story! I mean, any story involving a teenaged babysitter who has to be alone on a very dark night just spells trouble. This story will put the urban legends of “the call is coming from inside the house” to shame! This one was downright spooky!

I was most excited for Dawn Kurtagich’s And the Waters Crept In as I haven’t read anything new from her in ages, though I know stuff is coming! This one was based off a Welsh legend that I knew nothing about but I want to look into because the story was sinister and spooky! Set in a fantastical past, Aine takes a job as a servant in large house but the head housekeeper is not a fan of Aine at all. But late at night, Aine discovers another house resident, that of a strange and mysterious man who visits in the shadows and promises her a future beyond her dreams…if only she would have him. Another super creepy story that left me with chills!

Louis Stowell’s The Party was an odd story, I’ll admit that much. Lily was happy to be starting a new school away from her ex-girlfriend, Jess. Their relationship ended badly, but lo and behold, Jess is at her new school too. When Lily is trying to make nice with the popular girl, Sophia, Jess just keeps getting in the way. Then the unthinkable happens…a girl dies at the party but you’ll never believe what happens the next day! I guess my problem with this one was that the first half of the story was so mundane and boring. I kept wondering where’s the spooky?! Then it happens and then it’s over. So this wasn’t exactly my favorite of the stories, but it was still good once the spooky started happening! Lol.

Amy McCulloch’s The Chiming Hour was another odd story. It was hard to pinpoint what was going on in this one. Firstly, we never really got the narrator’s name. We follow this camp counselor around at what is an art camp for young students. The director, Ms. Pendell will put her favorite pieces the students create in her art gallery hall and the counselor we follow longs to have her stuff hanging there as well. Every night at three in the morning, she finds one her charges leaving her bed to work on her own art in hopes of it making it into the gallery. Shady things are happening here, but it was a hard puzzle to put together and it left me a bit baffled at the end.

Something Wicked by Kat Dunn was another odd duck. Again, we have a heroine we follow around but she has no name either. A young girl in 1899 is a witch in hiding. She knows if she’s caught it will spell bad things for her. Her mother almost caught her, but she went away some time ago. Now she only has to worry about her distant father and nosy governess. I think this not knowing who my narrator thing is really throws me off from the story. I have a hard time connecting with a nameless character, even for a short story. The story was interesting in the end though, very chilling.

Mary Watson’s The Midnight Kiss was a really spooky one! This one follows Lana and her friends as they sneak into some lady’s house to visit a haunted room where a ghost supposedly grants you a wish. Lana is eager to wish for her ex-boyfriend to come back but soon finds herself locked in the mystery room while her friends laugh outside. Lana is very aware that she’s not alone in the small room and sets out to do what she must to get her boyfriend back! This one was ultimately spooky and omg, just yikes! Lol.

The Beauty and The Beast by Rachel Faturoti is a spin on the tale that’s old as time! But an interesting one at that! Beauty is an assassin. She’s a teenager with no memory of her past, but just knows that she works for the powerful Merchants. When they tell her to kill someone, she does it. She has her own code though but sometimes her code challenges her and it’s on one of these particular hits that she sees a terrifying figure in the mirror…one that’s beastly and familiar. This was definitely an odd take on the classic tale but I rather liked it because of it being so odd!

And finally, ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Cynthia Murphy was another spooky tale that left me with chills! Laurie is about to start college but needs a weekend job to help make ends meet. She takes one in a small wedding boutique run by an odd old lady. She’s very particular about the mannequin in her front window. No one is to touch it, but when Laurie takes a peek she can’t help but how lifelike said mannequin is. You’ll probably never want to watch that movie again after reading this horrified story! I could sense what was coming as we learned more details about the mannequin and the shop owner’s past, but still…chills!

I tried to keep my mini reviews of the stories as short as possible! The one thing I dislike about anthologies is that you don’t get a mini idea of what the story is ahead of reading it. I know that would be insanely hard to do, but as a reader, I like to know characters and setting before diving in because otherwise I’m scrambling to paint the scene as it’s happening and I feel like I struggle to get into the story right away because of that.

All in all, I did enjoy each of these stories. Some were a little hard to get into and grasp at times, but every single one of them left me with a chill at least! This is the perfect read for the spooky season and if you happen to be needing to find a new favorite author, you have thirteen of them to try out! I also recommend reading the short author bios in back as you get a little idea of what inspired their story and you get to learn one of their top fears!

A Taste of Darkness is exactly as the title declares as you get a taste of the spooky and positively chilling stories within these authors’ minds! It’s not a book to be skipped this Halloween season or any time of year really!


Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars








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