Review – Arithmophobia by Ruschelle Dillon
By Chantal Boudreau
I jumped on the opportunity to review this horror short story collection because I love themed collections and anthologies. The title and cover image also wowed me. Perhaps as a result, I may have started in on this with unfair expectations.
While the first story had an interesting premise, I found it a little hard to follow. Not that the descriptions were faulty, but not everything made sense and I had some difficulty figuring out why certain things were happening. I was still scratching my head at the end.
I enjoyed the second story more. The author has a plucky, abrupt tone that works with this tale because of the nature of the main character. I didn’t exactly feel sorry for the self-centered and selfish woman, but I stll wouldn’t have wished her nasty fate upon her. The stories varied from there, with more highs than lows and always with strong ties to their number and following in chronological order.
I’m inclined towards the stories where I found myself sympathizing with the characters, even the villainous ones – as I find those tales more disturbing. The stand-outs for me in this collection were “Three Is as Magic as Can Be” for its strong horror elements and “These Six Walls” for its intriguing and creative twist.
I can’t say I loved every story in this collection, but for the most part they were entertaining and held well to the overall theme. While I felt the dialogue at times seemed a little forced, the author made up for that with colourful imagery and dark humour (I love dark humour.)
Because the stories I consider the highlights of the collection would support a four star rating if on their own, I consider Arithmophobia a 3.5 out of 5. I would particularly recommend it to those who enjoy word play and higher energy stories.