This book is a collection of Holly Black’s short stories. Overall it is a decent collection. It you are a huge Holly Black fan, like I am, beware that many of these stories appear in other anthologies. So, I had already read some of them. There is a nice publication history in the back of the book just in case you want to check and see which stories you may have already read.
The stories tend to be dark and follow paranormal/urban fantasy themes. Most of the stories are a bit ironic and have some sense of dark humor to them. There are a number of stories that touch on fairies, a couple that touch on werewolves, a story that deals with characters in books coming alive, one that deals with vampires, and a couple that deal with mythology. There is one story that takes place in the world that Black’s Modern Tales of Fairie is in. There are twelve stories in all, they vary quite a bit in length.
I tended to like the stories towards the back of the book better. Among my favorites were: The Night Market about a girl who saves her sister from a fairy by braving the strange Night Market, Virgin a story about unicorns, The Coat of Stars a story about a costume designer fighting the fairy Queen for his lover’s return, Paper Cuts Scissors at story about characters coming out of books and mingling, and The Poison Eaters a story about poisonous sisters.
There were also some stories that were a bit weak. The Land of Heart’s Desire, which uses the characters from the Tithe series, wasn’t the most interesting.
Overall though I enjoyed the majority of stories and am glad I read the book. It is a quick read, but if you are a Holly Black fan…or an urban fantasy fan in general you should enjoy this collection. Now I am looking forward to reading the start of Black’s Curse Worker series “The White Cat”.