Monday, October 31, 2011

Review - The Poison Eaters

The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories
by Holly Black
Date: 2010
Publisher: Big Mouth House
Reading level: YA
Book type: short stories
Pages: 212
Format: hardcover
Source: Chapters

Poisonous girls whose kisses will kill. A fateful eating contest with the devil. Faeries who return to Ironside, searching for love. A junior prom turned bacchanalia. In twelve short stories, eerie and brimming with suspense and unexpected humor, Holly Black twists the fantastical creatures you thought you knew in ways you’ll never expect.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I know I tried to read Tithe years ago, but I wasn't able to get into it.  So I wasn't sure if I liked Holly Black's stories or not.  I'm still not sure.  This collection of short stories was okay... but I don't feel like I want to run out and get all of the author's other books.

The stories are short and creative and original... but good grief!  This book had the WORST editing I've ever seen.  There were typos, extra words, changing tenses, and even a main character whose name changed for two paragraphs (in the first story, no less)!  What bothers me even more about this is that all but two of these stories had been previously published.  When the publisher made this collection, it looks like nobody bothered to give the stories a final polish or even proofread them.  I find that insulting and unacceptable; had I paid more than a bargain price for this book, I would have been pretty pissed off.

I can't really say that I loved any of the stories, though some did stand out more than others.  "Paper Cuts Scissors" and "The Poison Eaters" were probably my favourites.  I had high hopes for "The Coat of Stars" and "The Virgin", but their abrupt (and therefore unsatisfying) endings left me wanting.  "Going Ironside" was a waste of time and was barely even a story.  Neither of the stories that tied into Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tales series made me want to read the books.

If you're a fan of this author and don't mind atrocious editing that's on par with some of the shoddiest self-published stuff out there, you might like this book.  If you're an urban fantasy fan, there might be a couple of stories here for you to enjoy.  If you're not a fan of Holly Black or urban fantasy and editing issues drive you nuts, give this one a pass.

Enjoyment: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Editing: 0/5
Originality: 4/5
Selection: 3/5

Overall: 2.4 out of 5

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