Friday, September 19, 2014

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories

Oh, Holly Black (fun fact: I just typed that as "Oh, Holy Black!" so make of that what you will)!  You are delightful.  Your stories are delightful, by which I mean dark and raw and wonderfully offbeat.  In a world of love triangles and heroines who say they are "too skinny to be hot," you give us people who ... wait for it ... actually act like people.  Or fae, depending on the story.  They are cruel and petty and flawed without having the dreaded TSTL* syndrome.


I serendipitously happened upon The Poison Eaters and Other Stories while browsing the library's e-book collection.  Currently, I'm in a reading rut.  I just finished Nova Ren Suma's brilliant The Walls Around Us (review coming soon, I promise), and nothing else felt quite right after that.  Anthologies are wonderful palate cleansers.  They're like the appetizer party tray of the literary world.  You can blow through them quickly, they keep changing flavors on you, and there might be one or two things in there that you don't love, but you eat them because you paid for them.  Unless that's just me.

Anyway, tortured metaphors aside, this is really wonderful collection.  I had no idea that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown started out as a short story, and it makes a great companion to the novel.  "The Dog King" is a fantastic twist on werewolves that involves palace politics and assassinations, while the final scene of "The Night Market" was probably one of my favorite things in the entire book.  The titular "Poison Eaters" is also brilliant.  Because they're short stories, it's difficult to summarize them without giving everything away, so just trust me on this: The Poison Eaters is worth tasting.

*TSTL=Too Stupid To Live


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