(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
Although reading anthologies with recurring themes running through them is fairly normal, I think this might be the first anthology I’ve read with short stories all set in the same kind of universe. Even so, I felt it was really good that each story was unique enough to provide a different perspective… while still staying true to the core plot.
I found it interesting how some people were aware of the split in their realities, while others weren’t. There were a couple of stories where I found myself getting a bit confused, because there seemed to be nothing indicating that there was any kind of change. But for the most part, I understood what was going on.
There were some stories which, I felt, stayed true to the culture of the place in which they were set. The Ritual was one of those. Apart from a few instances of using Japanese words (presumably, they would be speaking in Japanese, so using it once or twice makes no sense), I felt that the world came across as real enough that my suspension of disbelief about the whole plot was easy.
I did think that some of the stories were a bit too short and could have been expanded, since they seemed to cut off rather abruptly. The one with werewolves and Jane Austen was quite an interesting storyline, but I was hoping for a bit more of the story, rather than what seemed to be a lack of conflict.
I felt there was quite a nice mix of genres in this book and although it takes place after the first book set in this world, I still found it easy to follow.
Halfway was quite a strange storyline and I found myself cringing at some of the descriptions used. There were parts of it that were almost bittersweet, though, and I would have liked to see some more of that.
Cult of the Actuation is quite a creepy story, but it does have some characters who I would like to see more of. All told, I’d like to read the first book in this series and any follow-ons at some point in the future. This is quite an interesting idea that provides a good reason for creating a world with a huge mix of genres. It’s a very unique idea that I felt was carried across really well.