For awhile now I've been trying to push myself outside of my reading comfort zone. Whilst I generally love all things fantasy, lately I've found myself drawn to things that, in the past, I wouldn't have even taken a look at whilst browsing the bookstore. And that's a good thing... because it has opened up my eyes to a whole raft of new genres, authors, and experiences. So when Blurring the Line popped up on my radar I jumped at the chance to read it. An anthology that explores the grey areas between what is real and what isn't... hell yes!
From its opening pages Blurring the Line blew me away. From Piccirilli's insightful and poignant Our Doom is Nigh through to the dark and horrific Nita Klune by Rena Mason, Blurring the Line is a wonderful and gripping exploration of the horror (both real and imagined) of our world. Each and every story enthralled me in different ways, from the insanely freaky How Father Bryant Saw the Light by Alan Baxter through to the fascinating and dark take on the riddle of Schrodinger's Cat by Steven Lloyd Wilson (Miskatonic Schrodinger). There are no weak stories in this book, which is a credit to both the editor (Marty Young) and the authors themselves. The non-fiction pieces scattered throughout the anthology are also interesting and creepy (and never detracted from the pacing of the book for me, unlike some others who have read it). I loved reading about the real life inspirations behind so many of our legends and monsters, and it served as a sobering reminder that the fiction we read, and the stories we tell to each other, had to come from somewhere. Those monsters that terrified us as kids (and as adults!) and the urban legends we told around a camp fire, spawned from that grey area between the real and imaginary that Blurring the Line lovingly basks in. This book is not for the faint of heart. It challenges you to think about the potential darkness within yourself and around the world, whilst also shining a light on that darkness where it has been fulfilled.
Blurring the Line made me uncomfortable (in a good way), and it pushed me through a range of different emotions as I read it. To me that is the litmus test of all good storytelling, where a book can consume you to a point whereby it echoes in your thinking and emotions weeks and months later. Even today, as I write this review, I'm still pondering the questions posed by the book and sorting through the feelings it evoked.
Blurring the Line is one of the best anthologies I've read in years. It is a fascinating and gritty melting pot of ghost stories, witchcraft, human oddities and monsters. It will challenge you to not only examine the world around you in a different light, but also to examine yourself. Even if you aren't a fan of horror you will still find something wonderful in this book. Blurring the Line is an incredible tome that works its tendrils into your soul.
4 stars out of 5.