Points of Villany/Points of Virtue – P.A. Hayden, L.A. Cunningham

I’ve been offered an ARC of this book back in March. It took me a while to begin reading it, and now that I’ve finished it I’m so disappointed with myself for not reading it earlier. Let me present you the blurb, and then I’ll tell you what made me love it so much.

For weeks there have been encounters: people experiencing things they can’t explain, horrors coming out of the shadows, people’s worst fears come to life.  

Appearances have been increasing dramatically, until one day there is a surge. An army of terror appears and attacks Central London in what will forever be known as The Event.

One Event. Two Anthologies. 16 people. 16 stories of terror.

The book consists in two anthologies: Points of Villany and Points of Virtue. It did sound confusing at the beginning, but the structure is quite clear: monsters have invaded London and the people living there are being hunted and killed. The first anthology, Points of Villany, shows this part of the story with a collection of the darkest fears coming to life. The second part of the book, Points of Virtue, is about stories of salvation and hope after The Event. Everything comes together at the end with a short story that makes you understand how it all begun and how it’s going to end.

The stories are so good that they made me cry. Some moved me beyond what I thought was possible. I got scared, horrified even. I laughed, I felt relieved. I experienced a whole set of emotions while reading, and I don’t think there can be a better praise than this.

I love the setting, an apocalyptic London filled with monsters and people panicking. I love that superheroes are the norm in this verse and yet they’re not enough to fix the situation. And I loved how each story feels so personal. These are regular people in a regular setting, so it’s really easy to empathize with them when they’re put in unheard of, impossible situations. Their world turns into the stuff nightmares are made of, and their reactions are very human: they behave like you and I would. They are relatable as your neighbor, your kid’s teacher, the old lady you once helped cross the street would be. They’re vibrant, vivid. Real.

And let me show my awe at how flawless the execution is! This book’s an example of great editing: nothing is out of place, nothing’s superfluous, there are no typos whatsoever. I might have found a missing comma, but that’s it. This is what dedication to a project looks like to me, great stories with a beautiful flow and an attention to detail that does them justice. Both authors have a way with words, and I had lots of fun speculating who wrote what. Actually, I can’t wait to share notes with you, if you decide to read this anthology .

Since I’m talking about great stories, and I promise they all are outstanding, let me mention my favorite from each anthology. In One Last Time Charlotte is forced to relive the death of the most important person in her world over and over again. This is the exact representation of my biggest fears, and reading it was painful, excruciating even. And it felt so good. I also loved how Emma was able to cling to Jack’s memories long enough to survive in The Yellow Dress. The ending of this one was incredibly bittersweet, but I’m beyond impressed at the ability of the author to make me care so much for a character in 15 pages.

I loved this book. Really, really loved it. Rating it is a no-brainer: it deserves all 5 stars, and I’d give more if I could.

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