I received a free copy of this book to review via Netgalley, all opinions are my own
Technical issues stopped me from reading this as quickly as I would like, and I actually lost my notes and access to the book before I had finished reading the entire anthology, but what I had read of this novel was incredibly unique and interesting. Like most people who were reading paranormal romance pre- and post-twilight, I have read a huge amount of vampire fiction, so I loved the idea of focussing a vampire anthology on African diaspora. Fantasy in general doesn’t have very much racial diversity, and black and Afro-descended people are by far the least represented. The anthology also included LGBT+ characters; finding an anthology that showcases well-written gender and sexual minorities, as well as people of colour, was a nice surprise.
Mocha Memoirs Press is proud to present Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire – a revolutionary anthology celebrating vampires of the African Diaspora. Slay is a groundbreaking, unique collection and will be a must-have for vampire lovers all over the world. Slay aims to be the first anthology of its kind. Few creatures in contemporary horror are as compelling as the vampire, who manages to captivate us in a simultaneous state of fear and desire.
Drawing from a variety of cultural and mythological backgrounds, Slay dares to imagine a world of horror and wonder where Black protagonists take center stage – as vampires, as hunters, as heroes. From immortal African deities to resistance fighters; matriarchal vampire broods to monster hunting fathers; coming of age stories to end of life stories, Slay is a groundbreaking Afrocentric vampire anthology celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the African Diaspora.
Dessicant by Craig Laurence Gidney was an original take on vampirism, with some obvious parallels between the way POC and other marginalised people are fed on in society, it was also a classic horror story. While it had less dialogue and character development than I usually prefer in short stories, Dessicant stuck with me in a way that well-written horror often does.
Love Hangover by Sheree Renee Johnson is closer to what I usually read, and reminded me at times of Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series (one of my favourites), I didn’t connect to the characters or the story as much as I would like. The story is richly told and full of emotion, though, and perhaps those who’ve been caught up in a toxic relationship (or properly experienced the dance/club scene) will find the story more evocative than I did. I did enjoy the 70s feel of the story, and another very take on vampires.
As I’m writing from memory, I only have a detailed review of two of the stories, but if you’re at all a fan of vampires or urban fantasy/horror, you will find something to enjoy in Slay. I enjoyed reading this anthology, and hope to see more collections of this kind in the future. I enjoyed the variety of authors and tones included in Slay, and I think this collection of stories is a great jumping off point for people seeking out vampire fiction from authors, or focussing on characters, that they might not have heard of before.