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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

Title: The Poison eaters and other stories
Author: Holly Black
ISBN: 9781931520638
Publisher: Big Mouth House

"In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to her Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Ironside, and Valiant) in two darkly exquisite new tales, "Going Ironside" and "The Land of Heart's Desire." In the first story, "Te Coldest Girl in Coldtown," a girl is drunk on the street - but for a reason you'd never guess. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market, introduces a girl poisonous to the touch, and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match.

These twelve stories, two of which are published here for the first time and each of which is illustrated by Theo Black, have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and have been reprinted in many "Best of" anthologies.

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black's much-anticipated first collection of stories, and her ability to stare into the void - and to find humanity and humor there - will speak to young adult and adult readers alike."
First Lines:

From "Coldest Girl in Coldtown":
"Matilda was drunk, but then she was always drunk anymore. Dizzy drunk. Stumbling drunk. Stupid drunk. Whatever kind of drunk she could get."
Page 1

Ever since Tithe, I've been a huge fan of Holly Black's books. I have (and will) read anything she puts out there. There's something so real and touchable in the way she writes characters who are faeries or elves or vampires... and so on. She also does a wonderful job giving them a voice that is not completely rooted in their classification - such as... her faerie characters aren't just thinking about trees and seasons and parties... they worry about other "real life" stuff like relationships. It's just a very cool way to see them.

I think my favorite story in this anthology is the very first one in the book - "The Coldest Girl from Coldtown." It's a story about a girl fighting the vampire disease, until she has to go searching for her friends in Coldtown. That was one that made me wish it was a full-length novel. Of course, it's a vampire story... so it was a little different from what I'm used to from Black. But I really liked it and thought the characters were crazily flawed, but wished I could get to know them more. Such a good one!

Another that I really liked was the one called "The Night Market." That one was about an elf who cursed a girl and her sister is set out to make it right. I think my favorite thing about this one is that it seemed built on folk tales - like, stories passed down by word of mouth. That could have come from the maid-like character. But I also liked that it was set in the Philippines and the language that was used. It made the story very exotic for me.

And the last one I'm going to mention is the title story, "The Poison Eaters." This is about a girl who can kill with one touch. I think one thing I really liked about this one was the story going in circles a little bit. It's almost still a mystery what happened and how. But it's very cool and I wouldn't mind reading a full-length novel based on this one too.

The rest of the stories were very well written as well (just don't want to bore you to much going into each one). There were a couple that weren't fantastic, but that doesn't mean they were bad. Perhaps it was just my love of other stories that some paled in comparison. Isn't that always the way when it comes to short story books?! :)

I would recommend this to anyone wanting to read more of Holly Black's stories. It's a great "anthology" and I look forward to reading more of her stuff - she has plenty coming up. Check out her website or her blog for more info on upcoming projects!
Other Blog Reviews:

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