Wednesday 22 March 2017

Review Time! - The Voices of Martyrs by Maurice Broaddus

The Voices of Martyrs title image

flower divider

Title: The Voices of Martyrs
The Voices of Martyrs book cover

Author: Maurice Broaddus

Genre: anthology, short stories

Genre (of individual stories): historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, vampires, urban fantasy, horror, dystopian, magic realism

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Honestly, I like me some short stories - and I never fail to be impressed by Rosarium Publishing - so I figured, why not? And decided to give this a shot.


A collection of voices - an unforgotten collected memory that encompasses the past, present, and future.

These short stories are tales of strength, pain, sacrifice, and life. These are the voices of martyrs.

Best bits:

The prose is rich here.

I know, I know, that's something people say when they're being pr*ts, 'oh the prose was rich and I'm soooo much more intelligent than all of you,' but I'm not sure how else to put it.

The prose here is an almost physical thing - something you can dig through, something with layers, something you can practically swim in.

So yes, until I come up with something better. The prose is rich in this book.


One thing that really made me nerdishly (shhhh, it's a word now!) happy when reading this anthology was the reccurrence of themes, motifs, images, etc.

It gave a bit more continuity and together-y-ness to a collection that included such a wide and varied scope of genres and narratives - which was pretty damn cool!


Speaking of the scope of these stories: dude, wow!

Broaddus clearly decided to have a try at... everything! Because why pick one type of short story when you're clearly awesome at all of them!

Seriously, this dude's genre-hopping is impressive.


This is also #ownvoices (in this case, a black author writing about black main characters,) which is awesome as all hell!

Stand out stories for me were Cerulean Dreams, which was delightfully creepy, and The Volunteer because... well, vampires dammit!

Not so great bits:

OK, the potentially distressing content from this book is as follows my nerdlets:

- slavery (including POV from the Captain of a slave ship)
- torture
- abduction
- racism (including slurs and the 'n' word)
- segregation
- lynching
- self-harm
- suicide
- murder
- violence
- warcorner
- rape/sexual assault
- gore

I think that's everything. Honestly, sometimes it's hard to catch everything.

This does have some very graphic moments guys, so be aware.

Oh, and there's also swearing, and the odd reference to the sexy times here and there.

This book unfortunately shares the weakness of most short story collections: they can't all be winners.

Of course, different people will have different interpretations and preferences for different stories - it's just inevitable.

But there's enough good/great stories in there to make up for it!


Some of the stories are set in the same world/reality/whatever as others.

While that's all well and good, there's no real logic to which stories are set in which world, and it did lead me to being like: is X story related to Y story? Or are they completely different?

Not a big problem, but it was irritating.


The title story, and the last in the collection, The Voices of Martyrs, which is set in the distant future, is a great story about the evils of colonialism, and of colonial powers considering themselves entitled to indigenous lands and populations.

Why is it in this section then? Why not put it in the 'best bits' section?

Because it's too clever, and too well-written, for it's own good.

It's so subtle, and nuanced, and down-right clever, that I fear a section of readers will completely miss the point, and take the references to 'noble savages,' and the civilising influence of colonialism at face value.

Putting it bluntly, it's not clear enough.

In taking the intellectual road, it's muddled its own message. Which is unintentional, yes, but still a disappointment.


It may've scored a bit of an own-goal with the last story, but overall, this book is well worth the read.

Honestly, Maurice Broaddus is a real talent, and this book is incredible!

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  1. Wow this seems very emotional! I really need to get into reading more short stories. I really only read them for English class but some can be very poignant!

  2. I don't usually read short stories, not because of any reason. They never seem to come my way. Voices of Martyrs seems well worth the time to take a gander. Not sure how I feel about all the graphic parts though. Did you find it too much for you?

    1. I didn't find it too much... but then, I read Stephen King and gory comics, so I'm not always the best judge of what other people will find upsetting.

      If you're unsure about the graphic parts, I recommend skipping 'A Rite of Passage' (the slavery story) and 'A Soldier's Story'(which is about a lynch mob) as these are the most striking/brutal. The good thing about short story collections is that you can skip stories without being totally out of the loop!

  3. I was really loving the sound of this one being incredibly unique and also having so much depth to it. As an English Literature lover, I am always looking for that deeper meaning in novels. But it's a shame that if you aren't looking for it here, you're likely to miss it because it is too good for its own good :/

    1. It was mainly that last story that was too good for its own good! Overall this is a great anthology though, and is def. unique & deep!

  4. Great review but doesn't sound like my type of book #RV&HT

  5. This sounds really good, you seem completely sold! Also, I know it shouldn't matter but I really like the way the cover looks!

    #RV&HT Thanks for linking up x

    1. Ha, you'd be surprised just how into covers book bloggers are! :)

    2. Haha it's not what you're meant to do though! x

    3. Yeah, but people do! Besides, I'm the Bookish Rebel - I do what I want! XD

  6. ok I'm in just with the title. and then the prose is beautiful AND the content gory?? I WANT IT!!!

    1. Haha, not all of the content is gory, but there's certainly some gory moments in there! It's well worth the read, it's amazing! :)


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