Christopher Buecheler, $0.99
Erinyes is a short sequel to Christopher Buecheler’s II AM trilogy, taking place about three months after the final title in the series.
I have not read any of those titles prior to reading this one, so I’m initially confused about this one. The setting initially resembles some dystopian setting, as our heroine Molly narrates things like a POS dude openly terrorizing her friend Caitlyn when he’s not threatening a teacher with a baseball bat. That or this is a story set in one of those scary left-wing American colleges like Evergreen State. It turns out that this is actually an urban fantasy tale set in an alternate Earth. The woo-woo stuff, hinted at by the title of this story, only comes in later in the story, so for a while I had a lovely fantasy that the woo-woo is all the heroine’s delusion, and this is a tragic Donny Darko-like story of teen angst. Nope, there really are vengeful vampire-like creatures in this story – friends of Molly – and she summons them to avenge Caitlyn when she tries to stand up to the bully, Tom, like Molly urges her to, only to be battered badly by that POS.
And that’s basically the story. It’s a simple, edgy story – very edgy to the point that the angst could short circuit one’s reader device if one is not careful. Molly is an ex-heroin addict despite her young age; she gave up her virginity when she was ten for a heroin fix, and while she may have shed her addiction, she’s still full of anger. Caitlyn has serious self-esteem issues; she genuinely believes that she is a worthless person, and it is just the way things are for her to be tormented and bullied. Let’s put it this way: the nicest people here are the blood-sucking, remorseless creatures of the night.
Not that I am repulsed by all this, mind you. If done right, the whole thing can be a vicarious kind of fun. Mind you, if done wrong, the result will be an unbearably dreary slog of a read. It’s hard to say, though, whether I’d want to discover more about this setting, since the short length of Erinyes doesn’t allow me to form any lasting impression about the setting or the longer stories. This one is a bit too short to be a satisfying Carrie-style tale of the weak crushing the bullies in a tide of vengeance, but at the same time, it is well-written enough to make the whole thing a pleasant kind of diversion for an hour or so. I guess that’s my roundabout way of saying that this one is alright.