Review: The Crimson Pact
Heaven and hell, angels and demons, the battle between good and evil is an enduring theme that will never grow old. The last time I was fighting demons was on the PS3 in Darksiders so the prospect of a compilation of short stories involving battles against demons was certainly appealing. A variety of authors came forward to contribute to this collection but is this a selection of gems?
The compilation begins with The Failed Crusade where General Cruek Ostor has won yet another battle against the demons. Having captured one demon, Kaivahno, General Ostor is horrified to learn that there are many worlds and that previously the demons had access to only a few. The crusade against them has been a clever orchestration to open the doors to more worlds and the demons have escaped. To follow them Ostor must be killed in his world which he gladly allows. This story is the focal point of the anthology and the other writers have taken this theme to develop their own takes on the Crimson Pact – the alliance sworn to battle the demons to the death and across many worlds.
The selection of 26 stories may be united by the same theme but they are very different in their execution. Some have a modern setting, others appear to be from a medieval period. The likes of monks, students and gangsters all pop up at some point and you’ll immediately feel refreshed at the versatility that these writers offer. Sometimes the story will build slowly to the presence of a demon and an inevitable battle, other times we’ll be thrown straight into the mix and have no time to pause for breath.
Readers will vary in their preferences but aside from The Failed Crusade which I thought was a brilliant opening, I would say my favourite stories from this selection were Solitary Life, To Duty Sworn, Hidden Collection, The Transition, Brotherhood: Fall of New York, Frankie’s Girl and Love, Gangsters, and Demons. Solitary Life in particular was very good but I would highly recommend all of the stories I have listed here.
As with all collections it’s difficult to please every reader and I will be honest by saying that not all of the stories here appealed to me. I felt that every writer embraced the theme set out in The Failed Crusade but some stories just didn’t work as well for me. I would still recommend The Crimson Pact which has a rewarding collection of stories and just because I didn’t enjoy all of them certainly doesn’t mean other readers will feel the same. I’ll certainly be partaking of Volume Two.
The Crimson Pact: Volume One is a good collection of stories, well put together and embracing the theme and world of one story, which is impressive in itself. While not all of the stories appealed to me, there were still some that made for fantastic reads. Whether you’re a fan of demons or not this is still a good collection.
(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)