As always I want to start by saying that I was given a copy of this to review. My review is honest and left voluntarily and avoids spoilers. #ArkhamHorror #ArkhamHorrorAnthology #AconyteBooks #Netgalley #SecretsinScarlett #LottieLlewellyn-Wells #DavideMana #DavidAnnandale #JasonFischer #CarrieHarris #StevenPhilipJones #LisaSmedman #JamesFadeley #MJNewman #JoshReynolds
I have to say that I adore both the Arkham Horror games and HP Lovecraft’s tales (but most certainly not his racist views) and that the Arkham Horror prose novels by Aconyte have easily become some of my favourite books in recent years. It was actually an Arkham Horror title that introduced me to the world of Aconyte, Josh Reynolds The Wrath of N’Kai. Secrets in Scarlet is the fourth Anthology and second to contain a link presence throughout the short stories.
Each story stands alone but has a thread connecting them. Each story involves someone, often adorned with a crimson pieces of clothing or accessory who are seizing powerful supernatural objects known as ‘keys’. These illusive people call themselves defenders of humanity, saving the world from the darkness that presses against the veil between worlds keeping us safe from the unknowable. But can these claims ring true, and even if they do should they be permitted to rule such power? Each story builds on this theme, seeing people from all walks of life and professions ending up dealing with one of these illusive Scarlet individuals.
As you can expect from Aconyte and their authors, but may not expect from an anthology, each story is brilliant. It is hard to pick a favourite but I do have to say that City of Waking Dreams, A Forty Grain Weight of Nephrite and Honor Among Thieves were up there but so where all of them! I loved the collection of interesting protagonists and I am excited to see who of them make it into the new LGC campaign!
The thing I really adore about the Arkham Horror novels is how they are inclusive. As already mentioned I love Lovecraftian horror but often when re-reading his tales I am left with the uncomfortable reminder of the racism he held. While it can be argued it was ‘of the time’ it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth if you are anything like me. Thankfully Aconyte’s novels suffer no such fate. We have multicultural stories that deal with things like race and culture respectfully and that is not only a win for the future of literature be it tie in or not but also means I can enjoy the eldritch horror I adore with no bad taste in my mouth! It also means we get amazing characters like Kymani Jones who is a non-binary character and I adored their story! Rosa and Milagros (I love her!) and Inspector Li Flint among others such as Desi, Haresah and Rex! Each character is wonderful, unique and I instantly became invested in them and their lives but the best part for me was nothing felt forced in to tick a box.
In short this collection is perfection, yet again. A host of memorable tales and characters that come up against the supernatural unknown and either overcome the madness presented or perhaps succumb to it. If you love Lovecraftian Horror or the Arkham Horror games then you are sure to love this collection. Or if you are new to both things you are still sure to enjoy this collection of fantastic stories and characters.