Masks of Death by Thomas Stewart - Book Review

Friday, March 10, 2023

image showing book cover for Masks of Death by Thomas Stewart

Masks of Death is a collection of 13 short horror stories written by Thomas Stewart. The majority of the stories begin in a similarly hurried manner. The stories unfold quickly, leaving little time for character development or time to breathe and take in what is happening. I also found the back-to-back first-person narratives tedious, and I love first-person. The cover and title of the book also feel like they are trying to advertise something else. If you judged this book by its cover, you would probably expect gory, intense horror. However, what you get is very tame, basic horror that I don't see as being very entertaining to cynics like myself who have binged too much horror over the years. To readers like myself, many of the stories and "twists" come off as very cliche and predictable. However, it's not all bad.

I think the very thing that led to me not really enjoying most of this book is what could make it very important to the horror genre as a whole. This collection would serve as a wonderful introduction to horror writing for someone new to the genre. It gives you a little taste of different sub-genres and gives you a great place to find out what your taste could be. 

In one of my previous reviews of a short-story collection, I rated each story individually and the book as a whole. For Masks of Death, I just want to highlight my favorites. The "Fear Itself" Game and When Lacie Came Home are fantastic. The gem of this collection, though, is definitely Project Demigod. This short story felt like you were being introduced to a new series, and I really hope that Thomas Stewart considers expanding on this tale. 

Masks of Death is a promising collection by an author with a passion for horror. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this author's future works and look forward to seeing his growth over time.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Should you read it?

If you have read a lot of horror, this may not be the most enjoyable read, especially if your tastes are more into body horror or super gore. However, if you have been interested in horror or you are new the genre, this is a wonderful place to start.

Book & Author Information: Goodreads

Thomas Stewart: Official

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