Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 167 pages
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Release Date: October 9, 2007
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Swapped through Paperbackswap.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
Previous to this book I’ve read The Brides of Rollrock Island (which I absolutely adored), Yellowcake (which was okay) and Tender Morsels (which was also okay). I got this book when I was in a big Lanagan reading phase a couple years ago. It was okay; the stories are all interesting but none of them really grabbed me and the majority of them are just plain odd.
I listed the stories below along with brief descriptions and thoughts on them. I think my favorites were Baby Jane, Hero Vale, Under Hell, Over Heaven, and Daughter of Clay. Lanagan likes to include sex and /or sexuality in her stories in way that is usual presented as uncomfortable and disturbing. Just a warning; I am always surprised these are considered YA.
Overall I would recommend the Yellowcake collection of stories over this one. I would strongly recommend Brides of Rollrock Island over all of Lanagan’s other books; I think that was by far her best book.
About a strange woman from another reality that gives birth to a baby girl. I really enjoyed this story and how the boundaries of two worlds touch each other briefly.
A tribe of captive monkeys that gets a new lead male. This was my least favorite of the bunch. I get what Lanagan is trying to do here, but I don’t enjoy reading about violent sexual assault.
A Good Heart
This was about a man whose childhood sweetheart is marrying a Lord and he finds out one of her deep dark secrets. This was an okay story, I was kind of neutral about it.
About a young girl who is kidnapped by a giant. This story had some excellent imagery in it and I enjoyed the eeriness of it.
A Feather in the Breast of God
About a sort of guardian budgie who comes back from the dead to help his family. This was an okay story, again I was pretty neutral about it.
A young man goes to Hero Vale to see the sights and ends up scarred and changed. I really enjoyed this. I love the other world our world touches in this story and how it changes the people who see it.
Under Hell, Over Heaven
About a group of people stuck in between that escort people between heaven and hell. This had a very urban fantasy feel to it. I thought it was okay but nothing all that original.
About an old healer woman who is lynched by her neighbors and has a strange ability to commune with mice. This was another story I could leave or take. Just okay.
A young girl’s mother takes her into a minor Goddess to beg safety for her sons. I loved the scenes with the Goddess and thought the island setting was interesting. Overall I enjoyed it.
Daughter of the Clay
A young woman who has always been different finds out she was swapped out at birth by faeries. I really liked this story. It was a slightly different take on the whole “swapped out by faeries at birth” theme.