Pieces of Hate collects two novelettes about a man named Gabriel. Gabriel’s family was murdered by a demonic creature named Temple. When Gabriel encounters a snake eyed man who offers him the chance at a life long enough to kill the creature and avenge his family, Gabriel greedily accepts, unaware of the challenges the curse will bring him. He bears scars from each encounter, scars that burn when Temple is close. He’s tried to kill Temple many times, his quest has taken centuries and crossed the world many times, but so far he’s failed.
I really enjoyed the premise of one man hunting another hell bent on revenge through centuries across the world. Gabriel is a dark character and he’s hard to love but easy to understand. His quest has made him kill and kill again and it is hard for him to differentiate his own actions from Temple’s. I enjoyed the moral correlations these characters have and yet there is a clear character to root for in Gabriel.
One of the highest qualities this read had was the change in setting between the two stories. We are not filled in on the conflict between Temple and Gabriel very well in the first story. The first story takes place in the American old West and is told in first person POV through the eyes of a shopkeeper that observes one of the confrontations between Temple and Gabriel. The second story shifts into a 3rd person POV which follows Gabriel even earlier in the piracy era of England’s history. The stories play well together and the elements of the first story have many of its roots in the second, but it was good the author put the earlier story second to help with the element of mystery.
Overall, I think the stories could have had a little more to each of them but the stories were each good in their own right. I enjoy the supernatural and fantastical elements blended with real-world history. These stories are very grimdark in their nature and it is not common in the subgenre for an author to use alternate history. Pieces of Hate is well worth checking out and I hope the author chooses to continue writing the tale of Gabriel’s hunt for Temple in future stories.