V Wars by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“V-Wars” is a collection of “shared-world” stories, by Jonathan Maberry, Nancy Holder, John Everson, Yvonne Navarro, James A. Moore, Gregory Frost, Keith DeCandido, and Scott Nicholson.
The premise for this collection is the worldwide epidemic of infection caused by a millennial-old virus, buried deep in an Antarctic glacier. Once the virus begins to be transmitted, it affects different individuals differently, depending on DNA. The various authors interweave tales relating to the main premise, each in their own fashion, so that in the shared world in which vampires and werewolves are now real, being mutated humans transformed by the ancient virus-all parts work together to make one fascinating progression. Author Maberry, who is also the editor of this collection, pens one tale which forms the framework of the spider web of fear and horror that is this most excellent set.
Jonathan Maberry has a singularly gritty approach that is well-chosen for the types of horror sub-genres in which he chooses to perform, including vampire and zombie. His first story in this powerful collection, “Junk,” examines a fallen actor, whose only good film came nearly a decade ago, now reduced to Starbucks baristo trying to pick up chicks. Eventually his life is reduced to living nightmare, all due to that one good film he acted in eight years earlier. “Junk” continues as the frame piece for the collection, appearing intermittently and continuing the story of misguided Michael Frayne, failed actor, newly mutant.
If Maberry’s storyline is gritty and profane, starring an egotistical “ex-actor,” Nancy Holder’s tale is downright violent. A motorcycle militia patrolling the border between the Southwestern United States and Mexico, hunting not just for illegal immigration, but to hunt and execute supposed vampires.
John Everson plays with the transmission vectors of the vampire virus, and does a startlingly, emotionally painful, job of it.
Yvonne Navarro’s story presents a young Native girl whose life is difficult and dangerous-now with becoming vampire, maybe things will start to look up.
This gives you just a few dips into the brew of “V Wars,” and my advice to readers is, do not miss this. You might think you know and love vampires-or maybe you despise the genre; but “V Wars” is one unforgettable set, and you need to read it. This story collection is absolutely riveting. I found it difficult to pull away to take care of real life, and when I did have to stop briefly, the stories continued to play in my head.
Readers who enjoyed Mr. Maberry’s Joe Ledger series will find this collection very approachable; but I can recommend it to anyone who likes his or her horror well-written, timely, and graphic.
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