Most multi-author anthologies I've read tend to follow a bell curve: a few really good stories, a few fairly bad stories, and the vast majority somewhere in the middle -- decent enough reads that leave no lasting impression. Unfortunately, this one doesn't meet my bell curve model, with more than its fair share of duds and snoozers. I picked it up because I have a weakness for revenge fantasies, having been done hard by a few times in the course of an otherwise comfortable life. However, what the title, subtitle, and cover copy fail to mention is that these are exclusively stories about females taking revenge. There's nothing wrong with that as a theme, I just wish it had been explicitly stated. Oddly enough, in looking back at the seventeen stories (I read the book several months ago), my two favorite are the two written by men.
Granted, one of these is Niall Griffiths, whose prose sensibilities usually leave an impression -- and his suicide-turned-zombie revenger is simple but effective stuff. The other is "Dolls, Revenge, Dolls Again" by Chris Dunning, a writer I'd not previously encountered. As the title hints at, the story is set amidst a group of toy dolls, albeit ones with personalities and vendettas of their own to pursue. The other two stories that left a trace of an impression were Umi Sinha's "Parvati," which strays into bizarre turf with it's strange human/monkey baby, and Vivki Hendricks' brief reverse-rape fantasy, which is just weird enough to be interesting. Alas, the other thirteen stories are pretty blah. This is probably because, for the most part, the men in them are straw figures and thus aren't very interesting as objects of retribution. Most are husbands or lovers who are cliches of the worst kind of behavior, so that they are little more than suitable targets for the heroines of each story. In Josie Kimber's "A Cake Story" and Tara Ison's "Wig," the targets are fellow women, but even then, there isn't a great deal of psychological depth to the motivations.
Of course, tastes vary, and it may be that female readers (especially women who've been scorned) will find this anthology much more satisfying than I did.