Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black

Title: The Poison Eaters and Other Stories
Author: Holly Black
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fantasy, short story collection
Pages: 212
First Line: "Matilda was drunk, but then she was always drunk anymore."

Summary: In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to her Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Ironside and Valiant) in two darkly exquisite new tales, "Going Ironside" and "The Land of Heart's Desire." In the first story, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," a girl is drunk on the street -- but for a reason you'd never guess. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market, introduces a girl poisonous to the touch,and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match.

These twelve stories, two of which are published here for the first time and each of which is illustrated by Theo Black, have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead and have been reprinted in many "Best of" anthologies.

Source: Back of book

Review: Holly Black never fails to entertain me. Rather than review the book as a whole, I'm going to do it by story because it's easier and sometimes, some stories are really worth it while others you should just skip.

"The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" - Not great. I read this in another anthology first and didn't particularly enjoy it. Something about it didn't keep my attention. Worth a skim, though.

"A Reversal of Fortune" - I really liked the idea of this, but something about it was missing. It had something, I think, to do with the characters, but I'm not sure. Definitely worth a read, though.

"The Boy Who Cried Wolf" - Interesting. Original. Take a look at it for a new twist on werewolves.

"The Night Market" - Probably my favorite of the collection. I loved this one and I hope Black decides to expand on it to make a novel or something.

"The Dog King" - The style of this one was totally different from the others and I had a really hard time pushing through it.

"Virgin" - Not bad. Possibly slightly underdeveloped, but interesting. It gave me an idea for a novel about Hamlet and Ophelia.

"In Vodka Veritas" - Loved this. Super original and unpredictable. Another one I'd like to see as a novel.

"The Coat of Stars" - Cute. A very story-teller vibe and style to it. This might be another that would make a good novel.

"Paper Cuts Scissors" - Oh. My. God. This was brilliant. Totally original. Love. If "The Night Market" isn't my favorite, this is.

"Going Ironside" - Doesn't make a lot of sense if you don't remember about its parent story, so to speak. (I think this one is related to Valiant?)

"The Land of Heart's Desire" - I would mark this as my favorite except, I feel it's not really part of the anthology because it expands so much on Tithe and Ironside. Words cannot express how much more I love Roiben now. And Black seriously needs to write another novel about Roiben and Kaye and Cornelius and Luis.

"The Poison Eaters" - I was so wowed by "The Land of Heart's Desire" that this one paled in comparison. I skimmed this one, mostly.

To sum up -- some duds, and something missing in a few, but definitely worth the time to read it, especially if you've read Black's other novels. Plus, it's interesting to see Theo Black's (Holly's husband) illustrations. His online gallery is limited.

Worst part: The missing bits in various stories. My least favorite story was probably "The Dog King," partly because I had no clue what was going on.

Best part: So many of these were so good. And anything more I can get on Roiben, Kaye, etc., makes for a happy me.

Grade: B

Other Books by This Author: Tithe, Ironside and Valiant

35 / 50 books. 70% done!

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