Cue the Calliope Music, It’s Time to Talk About Carniepunk

Hi Internet People,

Every October I try to do some Halloweeny reading and I just finished a short story anthology named Carniepunk. It took me forever to find this book. It came out ages ago, but I could only find it as a digital read on Amazon. I kept waiting to see if it would come out in paper copy, I have nothing against digital copies I just wanted this book in paper. After a few months I still couldn’t find the paper copy and had sort of given up finding it. I was debating about just buying the online version, when suddenly something magical happened. While wandering a Half Price Books, right on an end cap, was Carniepunk. Not only was it there, but it was only $4.99, which is a steal.

I’ve mentioned that I’m a fan of creepy carnivals before and while I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, when I saw this book I was instantly like I have to read this! Here’s what it looks like for all of you.

Carniepunk cover

Let me tell you that awesome cover did not disappoint. This was the first anthology I’ve read where half the stories were connected to preexisting series. That might sound like a complaint, but it isn’t. The stories that introduced me to new fictional universes made me want to go out and find the books and series written by the authors. I really want to read more from Delilah S. Dawson after reading her A Blud Short Story “The Three Lives of Lydia” and from Kevin Hearne, his Iron Druid Chronicles characters were awesome in “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street.” The characters in Allison Pang’s “A Duet with Darkness” with her Abby Sinclair characters was great too as was Jennifer Estep’s “Parlor Tricks” with Gin Blanco, from her Elemental Assassin series. I would definitely read more about these characters.

I really enjoyed the entire book, but of the original stories I had three that I enjoyed the most. Mark Henry’s “The Sweeter the Juice” was a new take on a zombie apocalypse theme and surprised me by having a transitioning transgender woman as the main character. The story examined not only interesting horror tropes, but also gave an examination of what it’s like to survive in a world that doesn’t understand you. I’ve read books by Rachel Caine before and was excited that she was part of this collection. Her story “The Cold Girl” presents something that’s a combination of a revenge story with a vampire story. It examines abusive relationships, but also how abuse affects the victim, which was not something I expected when I started reading the story. The final story in this anthology was one that I was eager to read as I worked my way through the book. Seanan McGuire’s “Daughter of the Midway, The Mermaid, and the Open Lonely Sea” created a new take on mermaids that I found really interesting. Instead of being born with a fin, you actually look human and depending on the choices you make you gradually begin to turn into a mythical creature. Besides changing physically you also change mentally, which was actually kind of emotional.

I thought the collection was a great read and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes horror, fantasy, and anything carnival themed. If you’ve read the anthology and want to share your thoughts or just talk about any spooky books, let me know in the comments or tweet at me, @kleffnotes.

Remember, a clown’s smile isn’t always happy,



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