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Book Review: Demons edited by Jason M. Waltz

Genre: Sword and Sorcery, Adventure
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Rogue Blades Entertainment
Publication Date: June 30, 2010
ISBN-10: 0982053649
ISBN-13: 978-0982053645

Demons, an anthology edited by Jason M. Waltz, is full or sword and sorcery action but lacks enough variety of storytelling style.

There are 28 stories of men and women conquering and outwitting the creatures of the foul abyss. Most of the stories are simple enough in construction. Though the details may vary, pretty much every story in this anthology features a weapon-wielding hero who slays a demon to save a village or captured individual. Most of the stories are quite short, and give most of their text over to describing the battles between the hero and the demon.

Because I read this anthology pretty much straight through, the stories began to be repetitive after a while. There was so little originality it simply became tiresome. But at the same time, I am very aware of the fact that only a couple of the stories are actually poorly written. It was merely “story fatigue” that left me with the feeling of unoriginality. My conclusion, then, is that this anthology is best taken in small chunks, a few stories at a time, broken up by reading other materials or stories.

Demons is the type of anthology that works well for bathroom reading. Not because it should be used as toilet paper, but because the stories are fairly short, easily read in a short period of time, are easy to consume, and undeniably action full.

A few standouts include “Zeerembuk” by Steve Goble, for being written humorously from the perspective of a demon, “Bodyguard of the Dead” by C. L. Werner for being set in the East rather than the West (and being a really good story), “Into Shards” by Murray J. D. Leeder, for managing to surprise me with its ending, “Joenna’s Ax” for being less Robert E. Howard and more Glen Cook, Patrick Thomas for giving readers another great Terrorbelle story in “The Lesser” and Bill Ward’s “By Hellish Means” for its vivid violent imagery.

If you enjoy sword and sorcery where diabolical evil from the depths of hell gets its comeuppance, you will likely enjoy Demons edited by Jason M. Waltz.