Review: The Crimson Pact: Volume Two
Although not every story appealed to me in the first volume of The Crimson Pact, I felt it was a good collection overall with plenty of variety. Volume Two promised more of the same but this time with the added bonus of sequels to some of the stories from the first volume.
Just to recap, The Crimson Pact compilations are inspired by the story The Failed Crusade where a battle between good and evil sees demons seemingly wiped off the face of the earth only for revelations to come forward that they have escaped into other worlds. The Crimson Pact is bound by duty to hunt down and destroy the demons wherever they encounter them. It was down to the writers that have contributed here to come up with their own takes on the theme.
As before, the stories take place in a variety of different periods and locations. I felt there was more of a futuristic feel to many of the stories while the first volume had some stories with something of a medieval feel to them. Some of the sequels work better than others but the ones that followed from some of my favourite stories in volume one were most welcome. There are new voices here too of course with a range of battles against demons, demon possession, bots and even a little romance amidst the carnage though not for long as the demons are always itching for a fight.
My favourite stories in Volume Two were The Long Run; Cats, Caves and Dynamite; Karma; The Merging; Trail of Blood; Red Bandana Boys, and Seven Dogs. The best of the bunch was probably Red Bandana Boys with young teenagers fighting one particularly nasty demon in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world where America has been wiped out and the story’s setting is in Africa. The setting was well conveyed in this particular story and the tragedy of the Red Bandana Boys and the fragility of life was the most memorable. It was one of the longest stories in the book, but probably the best.
There are 28 stories in all and plenty here to keep you busy. As with the previous book, Volume Two has such a variety of stories that not all of them will appeal to readers. There were some stories I enjoyed more than others but if you’re a big fan of tales of demons and the battle between good and evil then there should be plenty to discover and enjoy here.
The Crimson Pact: Volume Two is narrowly inferior to its predecessor but there are still an assortment of good stories here with the slums of Red Bandana Boys being the most vivid for me. If you enjoy short story collections then this second volume should keep you busy for a while.
(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)