pleiadianlights's review against another edition

Go to review page


A really interesting anthology and I wasn't even sure about anthologies in general but this one really caught my attention (not gonna lie, the cover and title are captivating). It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be but everyone seems to really have worked for this book, from the cover and artwork, to the stories included and notes. Get ready for some cliffhangers though and probably to find a few stories boring. I don't regret buying it whatsoever!
P.S. I want to add that the cover in person has a mat feeling, as if touching something leathery even and I'm not sure if I have ever gotten my hands on such book before but it surely makes me want to keep touching it!

dan_hill's review

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


rketterer47's review

Go to review page


Read on my Kindle. I was very excited to read this collection of weird fiction/horror short stories, and the book ended up falling a little flat for me. Overall, I thought most of the stories were just ok, not necessarily bad, but nothing that would stick with me. I rated each story individually and averaged the scores to get my rating for the whole book - this resulted in a perfect 3 stars, no rounding required!

A few standouts:

- Kudzu Stories was dark, gritty, and filled with pain. Pain both in the physical sense and as part of one's memory. I loved the involvement of Kudzu as the invasive species it is, but also a metaphor of the invasive nature of the results of certain human actions.
- Dead Letters was a fun story. I can't say a lot with spoiling it, but it was definitely a favorite of the bunch for me, as I found myself quickly turning pages to find out what was going on.
- Happy Pills was possibly the best in the collection, 5 stars. While I have not personally dealt with depression, the description of how The Absence lives inside of a person really stuck with me. I didn't really see the ending coming, and I fully appreciated some of the dark imagery that came with it.
- In the Loop was the only other story I gave 5 stars to. I related to the protagonist in that I am also a programmer, and at one point in my career I worked for a defense contractor. Tackling issues related to the war, and soldiers coming home from the war, is not easy, but I think Liu does a great job of illustrating the burden that killing puts on a person.

motherhorror's review

Go to review page


"The stories in Arterial Bloom work in tandem, enticing the reader into rapturous melancholia. The end result is both comforting and unsettling, my favorite way to feel."--Sadie Hartmann, Cemetery Dance


Review coming for Cemetery Dance soon

librarycryptid's review

Go to review page

dark medium-paced
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


To read this and other reviews, check out my blog, The Library Cryptid:

Arterial Bloom is nothing if not ambitious, and offers something to fit all tastes—which is its greatest weakness. There are wonderful, stand-out stories in this collection, including “Kudzu Stories” by Linda J. Marshall, “Welcome to Autumn” by Daniel Crow, and “In the Loop” by Ken Liu, but I found that the primary reason I enjoyed them was usually the atmosphere they created, and upon finishing the anthology I don’t know how I would feel about them were they to appear in a collection of high-quality work. 

Other stories fall short for various reasons. The opener, “The Stone Door” by Jimmy Bernard, has an interesting premise but that’s all it is—the premise doesn’t end up making much sense and doesn’t hold water, which detracts from the story as a whole. “Doodlebug” by John Boden feels like it’s been done many a time before, and “The Making of Mary” by Steven Pirie feels preachy. 

My average rating across all stories ended up being a 2.8, which I rounded down to two due to what I feel was poor editing choices. Yardley did herself a disservice choosing not to have a themed anthology; there is no linking thread tying these stories together, and without consistent quality it feels less like an anthology and more like a mere compilation. My favorite story of the bunch was “Blue Was Her Favorite Color” by Dino Parenti.

ewreck82's review against another edition

Go to review page


Engrossing, disturbing, eye opening. This collection of short stories by incredibly talented authors makes you think and will make you look at the normal, mundane parts of life in a way that makes you question things you thought were true. Is something innocent really sinister? Do good intentions balance out horrific results? If you could wake up tomorrow not worrying about anything in life but no longer being in control of it either, would you?

All of these stories were well written and compelling. A few stood out though. Three Masks by Armand Rosamilia. Still Life by Kelli Owen. Happy Pills by Todd Keisling. In the Loop by Ken Liu. What Remained of Her by Jennifer Loring. I won't say more about them because they should all be experienced without any expectations or preconceived ideas of what they are about.