During the 80s and 90s I lived on a solid diet of horror fiction and somehow I drifted away from the genre. Broken Mirror reminded me of all love about it.
Comprising 13 morbid tales the subject matter is both challenging and frightening; Carmilla Voiez is not afraid to explore some dark places. In Broken Mirror you will find stories covering suicide, self harm, imprisonment and sexual violence. I am not afraid to say that some of the stories were quite disturbing and very powerful because of it. I think that the measure of good horror is how long you continue to think about it after you put the book down. I found my mind drifting back to the various tales at all times of the day, they got under my skin and haunted me long after I powered down my kindle. At the end of a story, you emerge bloodied, battered and genuinely grateful to have survived. It’s what horror should be like; raw, frightening and thought provoking.
All the stories are well written, the places feel real, the characters are well developed and you genuinely care about them. There is a consistent voice throughout; so while the stories are very different to each other you can sense the hand of the author guiding you through each tale. It is this consistent story telling that makes this book such an enjoyable and addictive read.
One thing that struck is how the author develops her characters to be likeable in such a short space of time, even those who act in a more antagonistic role are well rounded and in some cases you cannot help but feel some empathy with them. I found myself genuinely attached to many of the characters. Tay in particular was one my favourite characters in a book crammed full complex, interesting people. I would love to see a follow up to Basement Beauty as I really felt attached to the characters and their struggles. (I’m not being specific, because I don’t want to spoil it!).
The settings and locations are all well set up, Lillith’s walk through the city in Penetration was so well drawn it sent shivers down my spine. The scene was so well described it not only provided a mental picture of urban decay it set the mood and tone of the story.
I genuinely forgot how good short stories can be and all of the tales in Broken Mirror are great, naturally I have my favourites. My stand-outs were the aforementioned Penetration, Basement Beauty, Cracked and Salon of Lost Souls; everyone will have their own.
So my view – I enjoyed this collection of stories, they are well written, wonderfully described, populated by rounded characters and most importantly, they are terrifying.
I will definitely read more of Carmilla Voiez's work, just as soon as I come out from behind the sofa…