Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Short Stories
Size: 240 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date: May 14, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. Previously I had read Lanagan’s Brides of Rollrock Island and really loved it. This was a collection of short stories that I enjoyed overall. Some stories were spectacular and some were a bit hard to follow.
This is a collection of stories that span fantasy, horror, and paranormal genres. Some of the stories are really well done, a couple I had to reread to figure out exactly what was going on. In general Lanagan tends to be a bit vague in her writing, leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions about what really happened. This can lead to the reader having more questions than answers by the time they get to the end of a story.
This is aimed at young adults, but there is one story “Catastrophic Disruption of the Head” that was very adult. This story had a ton of violence including a rape scene and discussion of mutiple rapes on a young woman…so just be aware of that.
My favorite stories of the bunch were: The Golden Shroud (a beautiful retelling of Rapunzel with a happier ending than the traditional fairy tale0, Into the Clouds (a story about a young boy whose mother gets called to go somewhere else), Ferryman (a story about how the young Sharon got the job as Ferryman of the dead) and Eyelids of the Dawn (in which a building decides it needs a vacation).
All of the stories included are listed below along with ratings and brief descriptions. I haven’t read any of Lanagan’s other short story collections yet, so I don’t know how they compare to this one. I did enjoy The Brides of Rollrock Island a lot more than this story collection.
Overall it was a decent collection of stories. I will be checking out more of Lanagan’s short story collections. I recommend to those who love quirky and slightly ambiguous fantasy/horror stories. A lot of these stories are very creative and very different.
The Point of Roses (3/5 stars)
The first story is about a boy who can make things come true from objects. Very vague and a bit hard to follow.
The Golden Shroud (5/5 stars)
A retelling of Rapunzel with a happier ending than the traditional fairy tale
A Fine Magic (4/5 stars)
When two young girls reject the attentions of an old wizard, he gets his revenge on them.
A Honest Day’s Work (4/5 stars)
About a town where the workers harvest creatures of gelatinous goo from the ocean.
Into the Clouds on High (5/5 stars)
Story about a boy whose mother is called to the sky.
Night of the Firstlings (3/5 stars)
About a family who survives a sickness and an attack, only to be forced to journey from their home. Another story that is very vague and was a bit hard to follow.
Catastrophic Disruption of the Head (4/5 stars)
Story about a soldier who comes across an old woman with magical dogs. A bit hard to follow since it jumps around in time, also very graphic violence.
Ferryman (5/5 stars)
Story about how Sharon came to be the Ferryman. Wonderfully done and clever.
Living Curiosities (4/5 stars)
A story about people living at a circus and a suicide.
Eyelids of the Dawn (5/5 stars)
When a building gets uncomfortable it decides to take a vacation out to sea. This was a fun story that was easy to follow and very creative.