Book Review: When the Villain Comes Home

Book Cover from Amazon

When the Villain Comes Home edited by Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood. Published by Dragon Moon Press.


Heroes can save the world, but villains can CHANGE it. 

We’ve assembled a great mix of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Come with us while we explore villains of all stripes — sons and daughters, lovers and fighters, minions and masterminds, in this giant volume of thirty great stories by award winners, rising stars, and bold new voices. With masterful tales by: Camille Alexa, Erik Scott de Bie, Chaz Brenchley, Eugie Foster, David Sakmyster, Marie Bilodeau, Richard Lee Byers, K.D. McEntire, Peadar Ó Guilín, Jim C. Hines, Ari Marmell, Karin Lowachee, Jay Lake, Julie Czerneda, J.M. Frey, Clint Talbert, Rachel Swirsky, Tony Pi, Leah Petersen, J.P. Moore, Ryan McFadden, Todd McCaffrey, Erik Buchanan, Gregory A. Wilson, Rosemary Jones, Gabrielle Harbowy, Ed Greenwood, Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon, Chris A. Jackson, Steve Bornstein



An anthology of 31 stories. 

As always, an anthology is an un-even collection of skills set and stories. This one is about villains returning to an origin point they somehow thought of as “home”.

The concept presented in The Sunshine Baron by Peadar O Guilin is still freaking me out; as often happens in fantasy, the land lives and dies by the Hero-King, such as Arthur. Can you imagine the suffering under the Ruler of the Land when he is a selfish, gutless, self-serving Crown instead? I need to imagine no more; Peadar O’Guilin provided the perfect example when this villain is returned home.

Villianelle by Chaz Brenchley shows that villains can return to their roots to start growing again, though the base plant never changes.

Anyway, whether they are bad guys, worse guys, monsters, killers or just thieves, each of these villains must return home again. For some that home was heaven and others hell; most glimpses of home helps give the reader understanding why the character became a villain. Those at home were monsters (Oranges, Lemons, and Thou beside me), or maybe needed protecting from monsters (Hunger of the Blood Reever).

A fun read, mixing fantasy and sci-fi, a little heavy on the superpowered at the beginning.

Trigger Alert – two of the stories have rape. Not unexpected in a Villain anthology.