Book Review: Hex Life by Various Authors

These are tales of wickedness… stories of evil and cunning, written by today’s women you should fear. Includes tales from Kelley Armstong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon, writing in their own bestselling universes.

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery will take the classic tropes of tales of witchcraft and infuse them with fresh, feminist perspective and present-day concerns–even if they’re set in the past. These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat.

Bring out your dread.

‘They remember their own fathers warning them to stay out of the woods or the witch would eat them up, build herself a bed with the bones.
She has killed those who cross her.
She has scared men to death.
If you’re out in the woods at night and you hear her song, it’ll be the last sound you ever know.
But the stories, they’re all half-truths.’

Although a little different than I originally expected it to be (a lot more of the stories in this collection were chilling than I’d anticipated) Hex Life is probably the best anthology that I’ve picked up so far. To be fair I do generally enjoy short story collections but this one really stood out to me as a particularly good one. Normally with these sorts of collections it’s easy to pick out the tales that you loved best and the ones that underwhelmed you but in this one every story stood surprisingly strongly. I honestly don’t think there was a bad one within the whole bunch. There were naturally some that I liked better than others still but picking out favourites in this collection is incredibly hard.

Firstly each and every one of the stories in Hex Life are incredibly well written; most of them creating spectacular atmospheres that easily reel the reader in. The settings and types of stories vary greatly – something that makes them quite hard to compare – and all of them left me wanting to check out more of the various author’s works. The range of characters and events in this collection is fantastic. And, as stated above, the chills were a lot greater than I’d initially anticipated. Some of the stories in this collection crept under my skin and deeply unsettled me, playing on my mind hours after finishing them. One had the sort of fierce, feminist heroine that I’d been expecting; another left me quite pleased overall with the warmer route that it took yet still managed to send slight shivers down my spine at times. Others tackled important issues superbly such as racism and homophobia.

Every story within this book is worth a read and, as I’ve already said, picking favourites is incredibly hard but here’s my best attempt at choosing exactly that. Widows’ Walk was a fantastic short story that warmed my heart at places and left me with chills in others. Black Magic Momma is set within Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld and I seriously need to get on and read those books! I adored her take on witches and can’t wait to read more within the world. The Night Nurse is probably the story that disturbed me the most; seriously it was creepy and definitely lingered on my mind afterwards. The Deer Wife was strangely haunting and beautifully written. Bless Your Heart merged baking, magic and vengeance wonderfully and had a wonderfully compelling tone. This Skin, despite being just ten pages long, disturbed me deeply and left me guessing. I honestly can not believe what the author accomplished in so few pages! And The Nekrolog covered events that I don’t know that much about but left a fantastic supernatural twist on them and was just wonderfully written once again.

Those are only some of my favourites though as the collection contained so much more. I enjoyed visiting Morganville once again for instance and there were two other chilling tales that particularly stood out to me. One set in the woods with some majorly disturbing vibes and another involving a figure that I’ve heard of elsewhere which once more was wonderfully written with an incredibly haunting vibe.

Overall I definitely recommend this anthology and will hopefully be checking out more of the various authors’ works in the future. Just as a warning though this collection is a fairly creepy one; there are stories here that truly unnerved me. Several of the stories also involved a bit of gore and others had some very strong language included.  So please do take that into account although I do still recommend this book; it’s just such a fantastic mix of haunting tales by some incredible writers.

Check out Hex Life on Goodreads here.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.


12 thoughts on “Book Review: Hex Life by Various Authors

      1. I really hope you end up enjoying it then (: the language was very strong at times and a few of the stories did get a bit gory but they were all so well written and perfect for this time of year.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I like so many authors in this collection, and I’m especially looking forward to Kelley Armstrong’s story, even though I’m not too familiar with the Otheworld series. I hope that won’t hurt me! I also love how chilling some of these sound!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t had a chance to read the Otherworld series yet (although I did see the TV adaptation of it) and I found that story easy enough to follow so fingers crossed that you will too. It actually made me want to hurry up and pick up the series. I hope you enjoy them then when you get a chance to read it (:


  2. I don’t really reach for anthologies that much but this sounds like a really good one and that the short stories were capable of delivering a lot in the time they were given. I think it is good that they were able to build a atmosphere and linger on the mind as I’ve always wanted to experience a story that creeps me out truly to be honest. i love the quote you included as it just makes me want to pick it up.
    Thank you for writing this review, it sounds really good and I look forward to reading it myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much. How effective some of the stories were, considering their length, really surprised me too. And I’m glad you like the quote (: I hope if you get around to reading it that you enjoy it. I’m probably reading Ninth House next as I’ve just picked my library copy up 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t really read short stories collections but this one sounds good. I added it to my goodreads TBR. Thanks for sharing such a compelling review.

    Liked by 1 person

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