I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Ghostwoods Books in 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Urban Fantasy
Source: TLC Book Tours
Buy the Book • Goodreads
Red Phone Box is one of those books that is by its very nature difficult to describe. It began as a Kickstarter, and is composed of 58 pieces of short fiction that when read together tell a larger story. The stories intersect with a magical red phone box.
When Lisa asked me to be on the tour, I was immediately intrigued. A story told by 28 different authors who each focus on different intersecting characters? It takes a very brave editor like Salome Jones to make that work out. You all know that I’m a sucker for fiction with imaginative formats, so I couldn’t pass this one up. I was a bit hesitant about the phone box itself, because it reminded me a bit too much of a Tardis, but Red Phone Box did not turn out to be anything like Dr. Who.
She was the only person who ever tried to use the phones. She’d had some funny looks. Nobody thought of the phone boxes as methods of communication anymore. Instead they were mainly used to hide from the dragons.
The red phone box transports its users to a world that is much the same, but a bit different. This can manifest itself in subtle ways, for example, when the character Amber was having difficulty dealing with a breakup, she stepped out of the phone box into a world where she lived with her dream boyfriend. However, in most of the stories, the phone box’s presence isn’t a blessing, but instead introduces elements of dark fantasy and horror as characters are yanked from their familiar settings and transported to sinister new worlds populated by a colorful cast of characters.
Some of the stories exist in their own right, while others serve to further a larger plotline that can only be gleaned from reading the stories in order. It’s a bit like a puzzle. As with any collection of short stories, some of them worked for me and others did not. My favorite story was “The Boxed God” by Kate Harrad, which describes a girl trapped in the phone booth in a foreign land. It was incredibly disturbing and although it wasn’t as connected to the other chapters, it served to create atmosphere, and for the rest of the book, it sent chills up my spine every time someone entered the phone box. I was less sold on some of the final chapters, as I felt like the convergence of so many of the characters into one event felt a bit forced.
Red Phone Box contains a bit of something for everyone. The stories feature vampires, ancient Egyptian gods, shapeshifters, and robot pigeons. I’ve never read anything quite like it. Kudos to the authors for producing such a unique collaboration.
As a part of the tour, I am offering a giveaway (open to US/Canada only). Please see the Rafflecopter below for further details.