I originally rated this book 3 stars until I started writing down my favorite stories and realized how many there were. I think my biggest mistake inI originally rated this book 3 stars until I started writing down my favorite stories and realized how many there were. I think my biggest mistake in the beginning was trying to read all of them in just one or two sittings. I love short stories, but very rarely can I read them that way (although Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories, Willful Creatures, and How to Breathe Underwater are 3 that come to mind where I did just that). I loved the avian theme in this collection, but it did make some of the stories feel similar, even if just for the constant naming of groups of birds and bird terms. Once I started reading one or two per night, I enjoyed them much more for their sometimes creepy, sometimes haunting, often clever individuality. My favorites:
The Mathematical Inevitability of Corvids - Seanan McGuire
Something About Birds - Paul Tremblay
Great Blue Heron - Joyce Carol Oates
The Murmurations of Vienna Von Drome - Jeffrey Ford
Blythe's Secret - Mike O'Driscoll
Pigeon From Hell - Stephen Graham Jones
The Secret of Flight - A.C. Wise
*Thanks again to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review...more
I really enjoyed reading this anthology and, unlike some, I was able to read more than one story in a sitting because the stories are all different thI really enjoyed reading this anthology and, unlike some, I was able to read more than one story in a sitting because the stories are all different than one another even though they have the same general theme. One or two stories were a little too hardcore sci-fi for my tastes, but I will mention some of my favorites. Before I get started, I should mention that I like to listen to quiet background music when reading some of my rather "moody" books. The album that accompanied this book was Agnes Obel's "Aventine". Some samples:
- The End of the World by Eugene Mouton: It amazes me that this incredibly prescient story was written in 1872! It's hard not to grow increasingly uncomfortable, even creeped out, as the story unfolds - you recognize the descriptions. You are watching it unfold in real life, even as you are turning pages.
- The Pedestrian: Ray Bradbury Simple but creepy story with just the right amount of atmosphere. I couldn't finish his "Something Wicked This Way Comes", so it was nice to realize that I do enjoy Bradbury's writing after all.
- 2BR02B: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Loved the premise and conclusion - all wound up tightly with a nice little bow. Population control at its finest.
- I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: Harlan Ellison This story was a total trip - as in, a bad acid trip or a nightmare you can't wake up from. Completely original and compelling.
- The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas: Ursula K. Le Guin This is the second time I've read this story, and it's just as great as the first time. Haunting.
- The End of the Whole Mess: Stephen King So this story was written in 1986 - how have I not come across it yet?? This was probably my favorite story of the bunch. I love King's writing. It's nice to be able to read a "short" story and become totally engrossed. I felt as if the character were speaking directly to me and it was so authentic. So good.
- Tight Little Stitches In a Dead Man's Back: Joe R. Lansdale I thought Joe R. Lansdale had the unenviable spot of following Stephen King's story - that's a lot to live up to. Turns out I was wrong - great story and again, completely original, like nothing I've ever read. I need more Lansdale in my life.
There were other stories that were good, but the ones above just stood out for me. If you like short stories, if you like apocalit, if you like great writing - read this book.
*Thanks to netgalley for providing this book for an honest review*...more