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The Poison Eaters and Other Stories

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  3,000 ratings  ·  389 reviews
Pick your poison: Vampires, devils, werewolves, faeries, or . . . ? Find them all here in Holly Black’s amazing first collection.

In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and anothe
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Hardcover, 212 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Big Mouth House (first published February 9th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kendare Blake
There are too few short story collections by single authors, and this one is incredible. It came highly recommended by Caitlin R Kiernan (herself a master of short fiction) and certainly didn't disappoint. These stories are sharp, with varied styles and tones ranging from gritty to ethereal to satirical.

"A Reversal of Fortune" about a deal with the devil and a wounded dog, was probably my favorite. But "The Night Market" about a girl trying to free her sister from an elf curse and "Paper Cuts S
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Buqet
Çok ilginç ve güzel bir kitaptı. Doğrusu beklediğimden daha iyiydi. Sanki ben çocukmuşum , kitapta korkunç hikayeler anlatmayı seven büyükannem. Biliyorum saçma bir tanım oldu ama gerçekten bunu hissettim. Özellikle Şeytanla olan yemek yarışması , Soğuk Kasaba , Köpek Kral ve Kağıt Makası Keser hikayeleri çok hoşuma gitti. Şu alıntı o kadar doğru ki , bir kaç dakika kitaba öylece bakmama sebep oldu.

'Korunması gereken okurlar ... Okurlar kitapların kurbanıydı. Makul giyinmiş nemrut suratlı kadın
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TL
For me, a couple of the stories were mildly interesting but I found myself mostly bored. Not Miss Black"s fault, she's very talented but I just couldn't continue with this one.
Darkshadow
Holly Black'in tarzını seviyorum!

Kısa hikayelerden bu kadar hoşlanacağımı hiç düşünmezdim. Holly Black'i Beyaz Kedi'de de sevmiştim ama bu küçük hikayeler onu çok daha iyi anlamamı ve kendimle bağdaştırmamı sağladı. Elinize aldığınız anda bitebilecek, masal anlatır gibi bir kitap. Bazı hikayeler gerçek anlamda karanlıktı. Bazıları ise gülümseyerek okuyacağınız derecede eğlenceli. Aslında hepsi hoşuma gitti ancak aralarında öne çıkanlar da oldu elbette.
Soğuk Kasaba'daki En Soğuk Kız: Bir tür vamp
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Nicole Field
This anthology packs a punch. An amazing first story to pulls you in, an amazing final story leaves you thinking.

I had many things to say through the course of reading this book. Let me summarise some of them now:

The main reason I read this book was in the lead up to Holly's release of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown as a novel. That was the first story in this anthology and, boy, is it powerful. A completely different story than what I'm given to understand from the spoilers out at the moment, but
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Elena
4.5 stars. Absolutely brilliant. From the opening story, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," in which a desperate girl chooses to become a vampire in order to enact a rescue, to the final, titular story "The Poison Eaters," which stars three dead girls created as poisonous weapons, I was enthralled. This book had so many gems that it was easy to overlook the few stories that fell flat. Other favorites include "The Night Market," set in the Phillippines with a simultaneously endearing and terrifying ...more
Cyna
The Poison Eaters is a collection of short stories, most of which have been published in various anthologies over the years. They are all supernatural in nature, though the subjects vary wildly, from faeries to werewolves to normal human beings with extraordinary abilities. I'm a fan of short story compilations, because you're almost always guaranteed to find at least one that suits your taste (plus, they fly by). I was lucky this time - there were several stories I thought were exceptional, and ...more
Stephanie (Bookfever) ♥Adrian Ivashkov♥
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown:
I'm not sure what to think about this story. At first I was wondering where this would go and thinking it was a bit odd, even for me. But when the vampires started getting into the story, it was then that it started getting more interesting. Also, Belgium was mentioned, which is always funny since I'm from Belgium; 'So many of Belgium's citizens were vampires that shops barely opened their doors until nightfall.' -3/5

A Reversal of Fortune:
This story was quite dark, i
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Gemma
Until now, I was convinced that short stories really weren't my thing.

I mean, Lips Touch Three Times was okay; the writing was pretty and I enjoyed it. But other short story collections (see: Kelly Link's highly disappointing Pretty Monsters) just leave me scratching my head and wondering why someone would bother to write that out at all.

Short stories are hard. You have to develop a plot, a setting and characters, and you don't have a huge number of words to do that. And with a lot of them, the
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Allison
The Poison Eaters was as almost all collections of short stories are- a mixed bag. Some of them—such as The Night Market, In Vodka Veritas, and The Coat of Stars—were great and made me wish for more than just a few short pages. On the other hand, some of the stories were downright confusing and mildly disturbing. Virgin and Ironside were the two that left me scratching my head and wondering what the point was.
But, as in all Holly Black books, the good outweighs the bad. The standouts in this col
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Stacey
A collection of short stories by one of my very favorite authors (although that list seems to get longer and longer...Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Meg Cabot... you see where I'm going with this...?)

Anyhow, most of these stories have been printed in other anthologies, but it's definitely much easier in this one volume. I like this trend of collecting previously-anthologized stories; especially when it's in the context of the Sookie or Dresden books... I think my two favorites here we
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Yigit Davutoğlu
Hikayelere tek tek puan vermeye karar verdim :P

Soğuk Kasabadaki En Soğuk Kız - 5

Talihin Dönüşü - 5

Yalancı Çoban - 3

Gece Pazarı - 3

Köpek Kral - 4

Bakir - 1 (Hated it.)

In Vodka Veritas - 2

Yıldızlı Palto - 2

Kağıt Makası Keser - 4

Demirülkeye Gidiş - 1 (WTF was that?)

İçten Arzular Ülkesi - 2

Zehir Yiyenler - 3

Anlayacağını üzere favorilerim Kağıt Makası Keser, Köpek Kral, Talihin Dönüşü ve de Soğuk Kasaba'daki En Soğuk Kız oldu. Bu sonuncusundan esinlenmiş aynı adlı bir kitap yazmış Holly'ciğim. Umarım
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Tsunami

Delightful.
All the stories carry Holly's inherent magic and gorgeous storytelling.
I was also glad to get a glimpse of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Now I know that my impulsive decision to purchase that book was the right one.
Every mythological creature you can think of is fused in this collection; the stories are short and sweet. Some were creepy, some were extremely dark, and some were just fun.
Holly Black has a wonderful imagination and all those crazy ideas that live inside her head shine t
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Brianna
I will have thoughts of the rest of the stories up on my blog this coming week, but right now I need to find the average rating... Not looking too good right now...

Update:
-After doing some calculations this book and anthology cam to the final, average rating of 2.3 stars (rounded to 2)
- Overall, this book was alright, but I would only recommend it to those looking for an anthology that is easy to get through and if you don't mind some (okay a lot) of weird stuff (In Vodka Veritas... like what?)

F
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elizabeth tobey
My only sadness with this short story collection was that the first tale, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, was hands down the best of the entire book. I could read an entire novel around that concept.

That being said, every story was strong, felt distinct and fresh, and had its own voice. I appreciate that, particularly since novelists can so frequently rehash the same concepts and themes in a collection of this length.

If you are into faeries and otherworldly beings, read this. You'll like it.
Shannon
I gave Holly Black another chance. This time, I didn’t read one of her novels, but a compilation of some short stories. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories includes twelve short stories, with subject matter that runs the gamut. Vampires, werewolves, faery, devils, elves, and other magical beings are just a few of the characters contained in these pages.

I believe my favorite story is Paper Cuts Scissors. It is about Justin, a young man who is trying desperately to get his girlfriend back after sh
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Laura Zurowski
I picked up Black's collection of YA short stories for an upcoming book club discussion. My knowledge of this genre is pretty limited and dated; do the names Judy Blume, Avi, and Gary Paulson ring a bell? Yeah, books from those authors were written long-hand on papyrus. Because of this obvious gap in my book knowledge, I was eager to dive into a title that today's YA readers might be enjoying.

While the first story, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, left me (no, I won't say it!)... unenthusiastic, i
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Chelsey
This collection of short stories is a testimonial to the prowess of Holly Black's writing. I have been wanting to read her work for a long time, but took my time getting to it. When I saw The Poison Eaters, I was intrigued by the thought that I could devour a short story on the subway to and from work. Since there is no way I could give a short review on all twelve stories, I just wanted to make a few comments on the stories I enjoyed the most.

I read "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" on the subway
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Kendra
As with any collection of short fiction, some of the stories are better than others. Strangely enough, my top three stories were "The Dog King", a gorgeous high fantasy narrative about werewolves and princes, "The Coat of Stars", a story both about romance and family and facing yourself, and "The Night Market", which, despite being the oldest story in the anthology, was unique and mature and smart and about maybe finding romance but mostly finding yourself. There were other stories I quite liked ...more
Dovec
Don't get me wrong. I love Holly Black's work. In fact she was the one who originally turned me on to fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal romance books.
However it just seemed this book wasn't up to par with her others.

My biggest problem is that the stories would start off boring then suck me in then disappoint me with a too simple ending that felt like she took the easy route out. The only two I really enjoyed were "The Dog King" and "The Virgin".

The rest just seemed irritatingly predictable or
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Sarah Keliher
I've had this lingering problem with Holly Black ever since I read this book. In one of her stories, featuring some assortment of edgy teen punk runaways, one punk runaway mocks one of her fellows for reading fantasy. Those books aren't about people like us, she sniffs. A small thing to bother me for so long, true, and I'm sure I'm both petty and shallow, but this is such bullshit, on so many levels, that my brain has never quite stopped picking at it, like at a particularly troublesome scab. No ...more
Phil
Under normal circumstances this would have been a 4 star, but because I haven't read anything I have enjoyed this much in a really long time makes me give it 5 stars. Was it amazing? No, actually some of the stories in this sucked, but did I really really like the good stories, yes, very much. Each story (well the good ones at least) I felt could have been a separate novel all by itself, and I kind of wish some of them were. My favorite story was The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the whole concept w ...more
Kate
As a teen I spent my summers reading books nonstop. If I had to choose a favorite book from my adolescence, it would have to be Tithe, by Holly Black.

Now, years later, I found her collection of short stories in the library and had to read it. I won't write a review for all of them, but I'll touch on a few that really piqued my interest.

First of all, if you've read any of Black's writing before you'll know her dark story telling, almost twisted in a sense. Her writing style is just like the chara
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Jeff
Holly Black has a real flair for making genre-bent short fiction that doesn't labor under or over-emphasize the genre aspect of whatever story she happens to be telling. I'd recommend this collection to anyone who appreciates the particular impact of the short-story form, and has an abiding fondness for supernatural fixings.

If the stories do suffer from anything, it's a certain tunnel-vision of theme. Just about every story (save possibly the final, titular one) focuses on some kind of outsider
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Joel Neff
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Interesting take on vampires and just what, exactly, makes someone a monster. 4/5

A Reversal of Fortune
Nothing like a bet with the devil to start your summer off right. I really liked this one. 5/5

The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Just what the title promises, a story about boys and wolves and what is true. 3/5

The Night Market
Lovely, quiet take on elves and their gifts and what you can accept. 4/5

The Dog King
Another quiet, almost meditative story, this one about wolves and dogs an
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Christine
I listened to this book on audio. The author narrated the book. While I enjoyed the stories, I did not care for the narrator's delivery. I think I might have enjoyed the book more if I had read the book rather than listening to it.
Pamela
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 P
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Rishara
I picked this up because I read a review somewhere that it had some great library-related short story. The stories were fine, and it was a super fast read, but they were kind of forgettable. Kelly Link's Pretty Monsters is a much better collection of YA weird, kind of dark fantasy stories, but it is a more challenging read and is not so fairy/vampire/werewolf centered so perhaps has less mass-appeal.
Azuree
This compilation of short stories delving into the realm of magic, fairies and vampires had its ups and downs. Some of the stories such as Coldest Girl in Coldtown (a girl is almost done fighting the vampire virus but gives in so she can go rescue her friend's sister from the vampire town), Coat of Stars (a man tries to win his kidnapped friend back from the fairy queen by making her beautiful clothing) and Paper Cuts Scissors (a boy tries to rescue his girlfriend after she reads herself into a ...more
Nicole St.
This book was extremely different than any other fantasy novel I have read recently. Although It deals with vampires and magic, this is not your everyday Harry Potter or Twilight. (for lack of better examples because I do understand that those two series are incredibly different yet are always paired together like Rowling and Meyer were somehow connected at the hip) Black paints a beautiful picture of modern life as we know it, sometimes too well and sometimes not well at all, and intertwines th ...more
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Holly Black is a best-selling author of contemporary fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults. She is the author of the Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside), The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), and The Good Neighbors graphic novels (with Ted Naifeh) The Poison Eaters and Other Stories, a collection of short fiction, and The Curse Worker series (White Cat, Red Gl ...more
More about Holly Black...
Tithe (Modern Faerie Tales, #1) The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #1) Ironside (Modern Faerie Tales, #3) White Cat (Curse Workers, #1) The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #2)

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“I envy what I fear and hate what I envy.” 49 likes
“Farewell, Father," she said. He fell back upon his chair, choking. She laughed, not with mirth or even mockery, but something that was closer to a sob. "You crafted me so sharp, I cut even myself.” 20 likes
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