Review: The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black

“Black's writing is filled with dark humor and fearsome tales of fantastical beings. This collection is to be savored slowly.”

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Title:The Poison Eaters and Other Stories
Author:Black, Holly
Publisher:McElderry
Pages:256

From the back of the ARC:

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.

It has been a while since I read something from Holly Black and now it seems my shelves are brimming. I have White Cat, Red Glove and I just finished Poison Eaters. It is so easy to shift back into Black’s unusual quirky writings and I loved Poison Eaters. These stories featured some of my favorite characters from Black’s cannon such as Roiben! Other stories I haven’t seen before such as Coldtown and The Dog King. I have been in the middle of a huge reading slump for a few weeks but Black’s short story collection pulled me back from the abyss. I will quickly go through each of the twelve stories in a few sentences.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

I loved this story, Coldtown is exactly the kind of place I do not want near and this story puts the scary back in vampire lore. It’s not Edward waiting for you on the other side doll, it’s a kick ass vamp who will lie to you this way and that for your blood.

A Reversal of Fortune

Oh how I wouldn’t love to have an eating contest with the devil, however I am almost positive that I wouldn’t have the luck or ingenuity of Nikki. Little Boo, I loved you!

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

This story reminds me to not take everything I read in books seriously and sometimes a great curiosity is better left alone rather than investigated.

The Night Market

Easily one of my favorites in this book, and it is darn hard to pick a favorite. I loved the fae in this story and I loved Black’s vivid descriptions of the night market.

The Dog King

Take it from me kiddies this is not the one to read right before bed. It is super scary stuff and fantastically filled with lore. By far my most favorite of this collection.

Virgin

This one reminded me that Black has a mind that rivals that of Gaiman and King. She bleeds humor with disturbing scenes and pulls you back for more. I love this Unicorn story.

In Vodka Veritas

Easily a laugh a minute I loved this one so much. The latin team decides they are sick of being losers and casts a spell on all that would be at prom to have a orgy fest and take pictures to blackmail those affected with later.

The Coat of Stars

What would you do if you found out your one true love didn’t really die, but had been captured into a faerie circle and has been dancing the past ten years? Why get him back of course! But how?

Paper Cuts Scissors

Imagine you had the ability to put yourself in a book, or take characters out and let them mingle with one another. Another of my favorites.

Going Ironside

Another of my favorites. There is only one girl and we are thinking her thoughts, all she wants is her little elf baby. How she gets it is what is killing her.

The Land of Heart’s Desire

Oh Roiben I still love you! You are still the sort of evil boy that would scare the hell out of me and I would want to try to save from himself. Great to see some old friends again.

The Poison Eaters

The last in this short story collection and a doozy. A king is remembering a night not long ago when he lost his love.

Why Teens Will Love It:

The stories are short and fun and easily devoured during homework breaks or study hall. Black’s stories are so different from the other it is like finishing twelve books at once!

Why Adults Will Love It:

Black’s work focuses on the teens here in these stories but is easily devoured by adults. The wit and dark humor Holly displays will keep us craving more of her writings for many a moon to come.

FTC Disclosure: I got this at a conference.

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9 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    This looks like a great book!!

  2. Gravatar

    So these are like fairy tales?

  3. Gravatar

    In a away I suppose, vampire, fey, wolves, poison eaters…

  4. Gravatar

    Its been awhile since I’ve read any Holly Black. I might have to look into this one when my monthly book allowance allows. I’m on a book diet in 2011. O_O

  5. Gravatar

    Wow,
    This sounds awesome! Can’t wait to get a copy!

  6. Gravatar

    Holly Black has been on my wish list for a while now; perhaps this is a good place to start.

  7. Gravatar

    Holly Black has a humor that’s appealing to me. Dark indeed, but fun, intriguing, interesting.

  8. Gravatar

    Wow, I’ll have to move this to the top of the pile. I have all those Holly Black books too.

  9. Gravatar

    Oh my goodness. I was reading this solely because Black is one of my favorite authors, and I found myself nodding with almost everything you said (except for the favorite story-ness. Mine’s probably…. well…. gr. Coldtown or The Night Market or Paper Cuts Scissors. Can’t pick.) Anyway, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who couldn’t read the book all at once, and had to sleep on several of the stories!

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