25 Gates of Hell: A Horror Anthology

Once, in another age, the gates that guard the fiery inferno that is hell creaked open in the dark and unleashed, upon this earth, every drop of terror that could be wrung from beyond them. A group of storytellers banded together to chronicle the tsunami of evil that ensued. Their scribblings depicted events so horrific, the manuscript was hidden away.

Now, dear reader, you seem to have stumbled upon it.

And you have opened it.

You must reap what you have sown.

Come, step into the pages. See firsthand what hell is capable of.

Of course, just know, you won’t last long enough to scream.

The IndieMuse Review

This new collection from Burwick anthologies invites the reader to see what hell is capable of, with 25 stories from 25 writers, each chronicling a story resulting from the gates of hell being opened, and the consequence that has for mankind.

Inside, you will find tales of:

  • A Malaysian pickpocket who steals more than he bargained for
  • A company who discover how to release the dead for the underworld, and what happens when they begin to lose control of what they have set in motion
  • Australian settlers who disturb an ancient spirit, with horrific consequences
  • A young boy who is kept behind after school and finds that his school is hiding a terrible secret from its students
  • An immersive video game that begins to bleed into real life
  • A reporter who gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to follow a real-life killer on the hunt for their next victim

Based on the book’s description, I was expecting more of a theme or some consistency with the stories as a collection. The concept of 25 stories resulting from the gates of hell being opened is an intriguing one and not something that’s really followed through. 25 Gates of Hell is ultimately just a collection of stories with little to nothing that links them. It’s a shame because that concept was one of the unique selling points for me that separated this from any of the other massive numbers of horror anthologies currently being released by the small press.

The question then becomes, are the stories themselves worth the price of admission. Thankfully, that would be a resounding yes. Of the twenty-five writers involved, I had heard of only one (Brian Keene) prior to reading, so my expectations weren’t high, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the anthology surprisingly consistent. There are a lot of great stories here (“Billabong” by Catherine McCarthy, “The Ecstasy of Gold” by Jill Girardi and “Lunchtime for Benny” by Christy Aldridge were my personal highlights) and while a handful of stories are let down by a rushed ending, or a convoluted set-up, I found something to like about every story on offer.

There was also a welcome cross-section of different genres. A lot of stories leaned into sci-fi horror, which is a favorite of mine. There were also romantic or crime dramas with a horror twist, period stories and comedies, as well as the usual straight horror and creature features, some of which delved into extreme or splatterpunk territory. It’s great to read such a diverse collection of different styles and there is almost certainly going to be something that resonates with every type of horror reader in this collection.

While I was disappointed that there wasn’t more to connect these stories, the quality of the stories on offer more than made up for it. It is always exciting to discover a new writer, and 25 Gates of Hell has no shortage of up-and-coming horror authors to watch.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

2 reviews for 25 Gates of Hell: A Horror Anthology

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  1. Birdie Dunbar  

    Excellent story! Full of surprises and moves right along.

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  2. Vincent Emigh  

    I could not put this book down and ended up reading it in one sitting!

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