Anthology. Grade A
The first thing you see on the book is the cover. I found the book’s cover lovely. The cover depicts a man doing the half shrouded caped figure on the cover remind anybody of the action adventure TV show ‘Arrow’ or is it just me? It , however, creates the perfect wrap for the stories that are inside the book.
This book is an anthology of 25 short stories, a common thread of the darker side of human nature binding them together. Presence of evil, materialism, and moral weakness is intrinsic to humans from time immemorial, and in this anthology we have tried to weave stories around these frailties. Various vices like greed, lust, ego, pride, anger, jealousy, etc. have been touched upon, either directly or indirectly, in the stories.
The stories encompass a gamut of writing styles and settings since the contributing authors are from diverse backgrounds, unified only by their common love, that of the written word. Though the characters and stories straddle a wide spectrum, a deliberate effort has been made to keep the feel of the book constant. If you find any of the emotions familiar, or if a story finds an echo in the deep recesses of your heart, the authors will consider it an affirmation of their belief that this book is a job well done.
Coming to the stories, Shades of Sin is an anthology of 25 short stories written by multiple authors coming from varied backgrounds. What unifies all the stories in the book is the fact that each story explores a dark facet of the human psyche, something which we tend to hide from those around us and sometimes our own selves. I really love the fact that the authors have tried to create something starkly different from the regular romantic fiction and focused on the seamier sides of the human faculty. The vices explored include materialism, lust, avarice, greed, ego, jealousy, anger and moral weakness among several others. The variety of emotions and aspects analysed and the gamut of settings in the stories gives the book a unique diversity in unity.
The book has been divided into three portions, namely, Light Grey, Dark Grey and Black. I would recommend that the stories are read in the order they are placed in the book. Starting from the light grey and slowly moving towards the darkest of black will take the reader on a journey of horror, disgust and at times even shame as one might happen to identify themselves to a character in the book. The book starts with lighter evils that every reader can almost connect to and slowly warms up to the more appalling and ghastly ones as one moves towards the end. The stories in the last section are my personal favorite as they tend to linger quite some time after you’ve read them.
What I loved most about the book is that not all the stories are of the same length which helps the story have a steady pace without the author having to unnecessary drag or shorten the story, affecting its quality. All the stories in the book have been exceptionally well crafted and well written. My personal favourites would be Shouting Out Loud, The Blue Shoes and An Illicit Thought from ‘Light Grey'; Dhaba and Standing Tall from ‘Dark Grey'; and A Reason to Smile, The Slight Of White, The Diary and Virtual Love from ‘Black’. A really nice collection, a book I would recommend others to read. I hope the authors come up with more books in the same series.