Reviews of Star Bones Weep the Blood of Angels
by Sue Storm

(6 reviews: Factsheet Five, Zene, Tangent, Pirate Writings, True Review, Levity)

(From Factsheet Five, review by Jerod Pore)
The second book under Jasmine's imprint - the depraved yin to the yang of Nice Little Stories Jam-Packed with Depraved Sex & Violence. Sue Storm has seven stories of madness, emotional distress, rape, murder, child abuse and other cheerful subjects. Be careful with these, you understand just how the victims feel.

(From Zene)
Sue Storm's writing is treacherously sincere. The characters she creates are people you recognize, people you might have once met... at least, that is what you think at first, until you realise the reflections you see describe aspects of yourself. When something happens in the story, you are so close to the people in the tale that you feel as if it is happening to you. You don't wish to escape the trauma, you want to help the afflicted. That you can't is what gets to you. It is the personal nature of Storm's writing I like best, the unquestionable power she is able to command over her prose, and so over her readers.

In his introduction to Star Bones Weep the Blood of Angels, Edward Lee (author of many horror novels like Creekers, Ghouls, Succubi, etc.) calls Storm a writer of absolute grimness. I must agree and take grimness to mean sadness. The stories are pure sadness as they relate some of the most horrible attributes of our society. The concentration is on interpersonal corruption more than, say, physical violence, and it is while focusing on the psyche rather than the body that the stories draw you in. And hold on to you.

There are seven stories incuded in this collection, and picking a favourite is not easy. I will mention specifically "The Sorry Childs' Christmas" because it has to be one of the best written, most emotionally gut-wrenching stories I have read in the last ten years. It deals with homeless and emotionally ostracized children, who, since they have not had the personal experience, create their own definition and interpretation of Christmas based on unexplained fragments of the foreign culture that surrounds them. The conclusions the characters draw seem perfectly reasonable, given the restrictions of their knowledge; it is easy to imagine this being a true story rather than a work of fiction. The descriptions and events seem all too real, the horror and tragedy are all too real. Do not be surprised if reading it brings you to tears.

(From Tangent, review by John Everson)
Sue Storm's short fiction has been popping up all over lately (seems like she has something in every magazine I review!) and this seven-story chapbook provides seven reasons why. Storm excels at taking bitter snapshots of everyday life and turning them, tilting them, until they are more than real and less than bitter. The characters in Star Bones are tortured women: a vampiress who enjoys destryoing the lives of others because hers is empty; a girl who can't face the sexual abuse of her father; a woman who is reminded by ants on the beach of the forced sex and violence that destryoed her years before; a street person whose only happiness in life is in giving others an extra smile (with a knife). These are not happy people, nor are there many happy endings. And yet, Storms' prose (and occasional sprinkling of the fantastic) lifts these tales above the tired tread of newspaper horror. Her heart-skinning portrayal of the sexually abused child in "Missy Loves Her Daddy" will beg you to look away, but you won't be able to. The story's end is not happy, nor justified--and yet, as you shudder, you might think"maybe it's better that way." Likewise, the cruel vampiress finds she still has a touch of compassion, the sexually abused girl finds an escape, and the warped street kids in "The Sorry Childs' Christmas" experience a gory but fulfilling transsubstantiation. And the chapbook's most adventurous piece "The Wolf-Girl's Song," a fantasy about a girl purseued by a werewolf for her secret, extraordinary, powers, leaves the girl raped and bruised but also a successful heroine on a cosmic scale. Read it as a dark fantasy or as the delusional rewriting of a girl who can't cope with the realism of abduction/rape. It works well on either plane. And that's the key to Storm's best work; the ability to work a story on several levels, tugging the heartstrings at every point. Storm has a special voice that both lures and lances, a too-rare quality in short fiction today.

(From Pirate Writings, review by Tom Piccirilli)
An amazing first collection containing several tales by an author who's fiction is often based in the harsh realities of abuse and violence. Sue Storm takes us on a surreal, sensual, ride through all kinds of obsessive purgatories and fantastical hells. Stand out stories such as "Halfbreed," "The Wolf-Girl's Song" and the exceptionally, wonderfully, disturbing "The Sorry Childs' Christmas" are as career making cornerstone tales as Robert Bloch's "Yours truly, Jack the Ripper" and even ascend to that kind of social/human platform of brilliance as Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."

(From True Review, review by Andrew Andrews)
This is a Disturbed Collection. Star Bones has stories in it that reflect pain, anxiety, anguish, defeat, and ultimately, rejuvenation (I think).

Of all the seven "stories" (some vignettes, some simple exploratory passages), three deserve World Fantasy Award consideration:

* "The Wolf-Girl's Song". Melody, brutally cornered and raped, learns to transform herself into the horrifying beast of the forest in order to seek vengeance against the perpetrators. She becomes more than she was.

* "The Sorry Childs' Christmas". Beetle, a child of the streets, looks to capture the angel that appears at the top of the downtown tree. She discovers the transformable beauty of the angel, whom she calls "Mary Criss Muss".

* "Missy Loves Her Daddy". Missy, 4 years old, adores her father, despite some of the cruel memories she attributes to simply bad dreams.

This is a brutal, disturbing, collection.

(From Levity, review by Veronica Kirchoff)
I read this one backwards because I wanted to read "Missy Loves Her Daddy" first. It made me want to throw up. So I read the one before it. That one was cool... street kids and stuff. And the one before it was cool too. Actually, they're all pretty cool, even the last one which made me want to throw up. Don't read this backwards. Save the best for last.

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