City of Hell Chronicles – Vol 1: A review

There is no god, no saviour.
Mankind is without salvation and on the cusp of total annihilation.
During an eruption at Yellowstone, the Great Maurr, an ancient god, rose from the bowels of the earth and brought a bug apocalypse with him.
Swarms of giant ants, centipedes and diabolical hybrids swept the planet consuming the animal kingdom and destroying human civilisation in a matter of weeks. Nothing could stop their relentless genocide.
Just a few cities remain; a handful of human survivors in London, Moscow and Hong Kong scuttle about in the darkness forever fearful of being caught, eaten by the solider ants, or worse: made to breed in the City of Hell to produce hideous hybrid creatures.
Can these last remaining humans find a way of surviving and ultimately fight back in this nightmarish dystopia?

For the complete synopsis and purchasing info, click here

This anthology is made up of 8 short stories by 8incredible authors, all of the stories following the plot above – of the GreatMaurr the insect God, here to reign terror down upon the world.
Did I enjoy thiscollection of gruesome, warped, horrifying stories? NO. And I’ll tell you why:

1)  Ihate horror. The last horror movie I saw was in 2000, and it’s only now Irealise that was 12 years ago. TWELVE YEARS. That’s a really long time to avoida genre, and yet even twelve years later I can’t shower at night withoutbeing afraid some little freaking girl ghost is going to be standing there toterrify me when I get out. I also can’t sleep with my back to the door.
2) Myapartment is infested with carpet beetles. That’s right. I have bugs. In myhome. All. The. Time. As well as some kind of grey bugs that the people in theoffice weren’t able to identify. In my old house, we had centipedes, which Iaffectionately termed “Skitterbugs” as I stood on the chair in my office pokingat a pile of clothes with a stick waiting for it to run back out because therewas no way in hell I was going to stand on the floor and move things around tofind it. The only good these things did was help me get over my arachnophobia.The only thing worse than a creature with eight legs is one with a hundred.
So, combine these two little tidbits together and you maywonder what the hell I was thinking, then, picking up a horror anthology aboutgiant, six-foot long centipedes and ant-human hybrids? That is a very validquestion.
I was showing my support for the editor and all of theauthors who took the time and effort to put these stories together. For them, Ispent hours reading through the cracks in my fingers, on the verge of vomiting,fighting off the growing hysteria that my carpet beetles were hiding in kitchencupboards growing at an alarming rate and would come into my room one night andbite off my head.
So for that I say: Well done. Despite it being crafted outof everything I can’t stand, I was compelled to read through all of it. Each storywas engaging, and each one sucked you in until you were begging for the lastsentence to be done and the dark hopelessness to be over…only for the cycle tostart over again with the next story. 
Colin F. Barnes’ intro story Genesis was a great kick-off – a perfect combination of eerie and maniacal, with a neat twist of mystery thrown in. And it all went downhill from there. Each author brought a differentperspective to one unified event, all of them with characters you were rootingfor, in situations you were oh-so-glad youdidn’t have to cope with. It’s a perfect example of the sadism writers havetowards their characters – and apparently their readers.
So here I am, a non-fan of the genre and of bugs, saying that although reading this was not a relaxing, pleasant experience, I loved everything that made it what it is, and all of the authors should be proud. My recommendations: 1) read this book; 2) donot eat or drink anything at least one hour before opening the front cover.
CoH Volume 2 will be out this year. All I can say to thatis: Yes – I will read it. And Yes – I will keep several canisters of RAID nextto me for the rest of my life.  


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