Hi, today is the last day of the #StrangeLit Fateful Turns blog tour, and this is one of the final stops! Find below my comment on the anthology as a whole, as well as my review of the story, The Eternal Harmony Funeral Home by JM Agustin.
Maybe once upon a time we all were ordinary, until the day life took a fateful turn. Do we accept this, or run from it? Explore the path of extraordinary choices in these stories.
OVERALL ANTHOLOGY REVIEW:
Eleven paranormal/urban fantasy stories from eleven talented writers, what more can I ask for? I love this specific genre and I was very keen to read the results of the #StrangeLit writing workshop, which I also attended. The stories were varied and the styles different, but all in all, this anthology is a very good read filled with treasures between the pages.
There’s a story that re-tells the mermaid folklore in a crisp writing style, set in beautiful Siquijor (The Mermaid from Siquijor by Justine Camacho-Tajonera). There’s a story about a post-apocalyptic world where two souls try to save each other (Spirits by Nina Tuballes). There’s a ghost and possession story set in Paris, France which makes you believe you are actually in Paris, amidst all the beautiful artwork (The Lady in Pink by Carla de Guzman). There’s a short story about a computer horror game addict who has to leave the confines of his house to join his friend on a road trip to a wake (The Eternal Harmony Funeral Home by JM Agustin). And these are just four of the eleven stories in this wonderful anthology! Just for the sheer wealth of talent and imagination that will greet you when you start reading the stories in this anthology, I give Fateful Turns four stars.
Through the #StrangeLit and other writing workshops, I have met and come to know some of the authors featured in this anthology, and although I was initially tempted to single out and review a story written by someone I already knew, I decided to choose a story by someone I have never personally met.
STORY REVIEW: The Eternal Harmony Funeral Home by JM Agustin:
Peter “Pit” Rosario is your typical under achiever. Never the good student, nor the athlete – nor anything, really, Pit is the epitome of unmotivated. While normal college students study for tests, go out with friends, and go to class; you can find Pit in front of a computer, playing his horror games.
But when death visits the family of one of Pit’s closest friends, he finds himself away from his computer chair and at the wake of someone he barely knows. In a strange place and out of his element, Pit has never felt as uncomfortable as he is now and he just wishes he could go home and play his horror games.
To make matters worse, there’s a weird janitress following him around; smelling him with her long crooked nose as he walks by; staring at him with her dark sunken eyes from a distance. Looking at the strange old lady, Pit knows there’s something seriously wrong with her.
Did she just lick me!?
That last phrase of the blurb was the kicker. I had to read the story, and fast! And yes, it actually happened in the story as well, at least that’s what the main character thought. What I like about the story is that it was set within a day. The pace was fast, and the development just carried you through until the end. I liked that Pit ended up living in real life what he just “lives” through on his computer. This will probably make him think twice about his favorite past time. I like that he is called “Pit” rather than “Pete,” and that this story is filled with three college guys calling each other “bro,” “man,” and “dude.” I also liked the way something mentioned in the beginning became a crucial factor in the ending (don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t read this yet).
The story itself was simple, but in its simplicity, the author was able to just run with it and make it very interesting, engaging, and yes, quite scary. Oh, and funny as well. As the story is recounted from the point of view of Pit, his thought process is just hilarious—at one point when he was running away from a transforming monster, he even had a split-second to think what if he just imagined the transformation and the person was actually having a fit or an episode, and what kind of a person would that make him, that he was running away. It was just so funny.
The story is a quick read, not only because of its brevity, but because you just continue until you reach the conclusion. It is action-packed, with just the right amount of scares and humor to spice things up. And amidst the other more serious, heavier and darker stories, this stands out as a little gem of a find. I am so glad I took a chance on reading something from someone I wasn’t all that familiar with. That is how you discover things, you know, by trying it out. I give this story three-and-a-half stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
JM Agustin is in his mid 20’s. He graduated from a business school and took Game Development in UP afterwards. In between playing MMORPG’s and watching TV, he somehow wandered into writing.
So, grab a copy of Fateful Turns on Buqo and read this story, along with the ten other excellent ones, and be prepared to be surprised at finding literary gems.