It’s finally here! Orphans of Bliss (2022) is the new addiction horror collection from Wicked Run Press. It is the third entry in the addiction horror trilogy and we have already reviewed Garden of Fiends and Lullabies For Suffering here on Literary Retreat. Without further ado, let’s dive into this review.
You Wait For It, Like It Waits For You is the opening story written by Kealan Patrick Burke and I couldn’t have imagined a better start for this compilation. It’s about a man recovering in a rehab facility and going through the horrors of recovery. The writing is well-paced and the delusions are horrid. I couldn’t stop reading the story and felt sad when it ended as I couldn’t get enough. I have not yet read the remainder of the stories but this is already one of my favorites from the collection.
One Last Blast by S.A. Cosby is the next narrative and it’s really scary. I shuddered when I read the ending and looked around to see if I was still in reality. Cosby’s writing has a smooth flow like a rap style. This is one story you don’t want to miss.
What We Named Our Dead by Cassandra Khaw reminded me of The Haunting of Hill House. Beautifully written with darkness embodied in every word, this story is both dramatic and scary at the same time. A welcome addition to the collection.
The scariest part of Huddled Masses, Yearning to Breathe free by John FD Taff is the ending. Taff proves he is a multiple Bram Stoker Award nominated author with this story which is one of the scariest narratives in Orphans of Bliss.
Through the Looking Glass and Straight Into Hell by Christa Carmen is one of the most original stories in this compilation. The plot follows Allie who embarks on a VR treatment for her addiction. The plot is quite unique and the pacing is terrific throughout the narrative.
Holding On by Gabino Iglesias is a story set in a post-apocalyptic world. I loved the descriptions and the pacing was top-notch. It is one of the most fast-paced stories out of the collection. You wouldn’t want to skip over this one.
Buyer’s Remorse by Samantha Kolesnik lives up to its title. I don’t want to go into the plot as it will give too much of the story away but it is a must-read all the same.
A Solid Black Lighthouse on the Pier in the Cryptic by Josh Malerman is a brilliant story. What I loved about it is that it’s a tale with a message. The plot follows a woman for whom every liquid she drinks becomes alcohol. This story is highly original and proves why Malerman is the best at what he does.
Singularity by Kathe Koja is a superb work of speculative fiction. It manages to balance the speculative with the addictive. It is a narrative which is hard to describe in words so it’s best you read it for yourself.
My Soul’s Bliss by Mark Matthews is the last but definitely not the least entry in the collection. It is the longest tale in the compilation but I did not feel its length as this was overtaken by its depth. There was also a trace of Matthews’ novella Body of Christ in My Soul’s Bliss and pleasantly so. It’s a story which combines Christianity and addiction very well and that is what Matthews is best at. The plot is also quite unpredictable and you’ll be shocked as I was when you come across the ending.
Overall, Orphans of Bliss is the definitive final entry in the trilogy of addiction horror collections all of which are edited by Mark Matthews. All of them feature spine-tingling stories about addiction and its aftereffects. If you want horror with a lingering taste of addiction then you won’t have to look elsewhere.