The Curiosities started out as a collection of short stories that Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff were writing on their blog, ThThe Curiosities started out as a collection of short stories that Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff were writing on their blog, The Merry Sisters of Fate. I don't know that they even intended for these to be printed, but they were there for the public to read, for the three authors to practice and possible write things stories that were not their normal fare. However, what really makes this collection stand out, at least to me, is that each of the three authors were asked to go through and mark up a manuscript, jotting down their notes, thoughts, and critiques on their own and each others' stories. There are notes written to each other, little doodles, inside jokes, and other fun facts strewn throughout the stories. I had almost as much fun reading their notes as I did reading the stories.
Now, I have books by all three authors on my shelves, but I've never gotten around to reading any of them, but when Maggie Stiefvater was doing a signing at my local indie, Schuler Books, they had this for sale, and it seemed like such a clever idea of a book, I decided to pick up a copy. Needless to say, I know want to read at least one book by each of the authors by year's end. I so thoroughly enjoyed working my way through this collection that I would like to see what each author can do with a full length novel.
The stories in the collection are:
The Vampire Box by Gratton A Murder of Gods by Stiefvater The Power of Intent by Yovanoff A History of Love by Stiefvater Girls Raised by Wolves b Yovanoff Date with a Dragon Slayer by Gratton Scheherazade by Yovanoff The Spiral Table by Gratton The Madness of Lancelot by Yovanoff The Wind Takes Our Cries by Stiefvater Auburn by Yovanoff The Deadlier of the Species by Stiefvater Puddles by Gratton The Bone-Tender by Yovanoff Death Ship by Gratton The Last Day of Spring by Stiefvater Cut by Yovanoff Philosopher’s Flight by Stiefvater Ash-Tree Spell to Break to Your Heart by Gratton Rain Maker by Stiefvater Dumb Supper by Gratton Neighbors by Yovanoff Council of Youth by Stiefvater The Summer Ends in Slaughter by Gratton Blue as God by Yovanoff Thomas All by Gratton Heart-Shaped Box by Stiefvater Berserk by Gratton Lazarus Girl by Yovanoff Another Sun by Stiefvater
Nothing against the other two authors, but I think I found myself enjoying Yovanoff's stories the most. There was something about her writing and storytelling that just really clicked with me and I think I'd like to start one of her books sooner rather than later.
Overall, an excellent collection and highly recommended!...more
Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too.
Never heard of Victor Lavalle before? That's OK, neither had I until I r**spoiler alert**
Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too.
Never heard of Victor Lavalle before? That's OK, neither had I until I received a notice from NetGalley saying that this book was available for review. After reading Lucretia, I think this is something that I think I need to fix. Lucretia and the Kroons is a prequel of sorts to Victor Lavalle's The Devil in Silver and if The Devil in Silver is anywhere near as good as Lucretia, I think I'm in for a treat. A creepy treat, but a treat all the same. (Full disclosure here, I had no idea that Lucretia and the Kroons was anything more than a standalone story. I only discovered it was a prequel after I looked up Lavalle after reading the story.)
After Lucretia's (or Loochie's) mom tries to throw her a birthday party (to disastrous results), all she wants is for her friend Sunny to come home from hospital, where she is undergoing cancer treatment. On the big day of Sunny's return, Loochie's brother comes to their apartment and tells Loochie about the Kroons, a family of druggies who lived 2 floors above them in their apartment building. According to her brother, the landlord boarded the Kroons into their apartment to let them fend for themselves, as they had become far too dangerous to deal with, and nobody had seen them in quite some time. Loochie isn't sure if her brother is telling the truth or if he's just trying to scare her, but either way he tells her to be careful, as terrible things can still happen to her even though she is young. When Sunny is kidnapped by none other than the Kroons, Loochie takes it upon herself to rescue her best friend.
What follows is hard to describe. It is equal parts horror, magical realism, and coming of age. Loochie finds herself in a world gone wrong, yet one that is strangely familiar. Loochie eventually finds Sunny and saves her, but at what cost to either girl, or the one Kroon sister that has come to their aid? Based on the description of The Devil in Silver, the events of Lucretia and the Kroons is the explanation as to how Loochie ends up in the situation she finds herself in.
I know this all sounds really vague, but it needs to be. The story is too easy to spoil and really too hard to explain it without sounding crazy. I felt like I was reading a lost Twilight Zone screenplay. I could imagine what the world Loochie finds herself in easily, and could easily picture what this would look like as a television program or even on the big screen. Everything about this story is just like our world, just a little off. I thoroughly enjoyed ever bit of it, even though it is fairly short, and will definitely be checking out The Devil in Silver in the near future....more
Laura Kasischke continually impresses me with her writing. From my first experience with her writing, [The Life Before Her Eyes], to this latest volumLaura Kasischke continually impresses me with her writing. From my first experience with her writing, [The Life Before Her Eyes], to this latest volume, her first collection of short fiction, she has continued to grow in her storytelling ability. Truthfully, I don't usually enjoy short fiction. For me, there is never enough time to become invested in the characters or what if happening to them before the story is over and I'm usually left wanting more. Kasischke, however, proves that she is just as capable of writing short fiction as she is novels, and also left me wanting more, but in a completely different fashion. While usually I fell there isn't enough in a short story to make it worth my while, Kasischke's story make me feel like there is almost too much, and that each of these stories could easily be fleshed out into a longer, more involved story, yet they work perfectly as they are.
I took down some brief notes on each story as I was reading them, so I will just copy those here:
Mona - "First story in and I'm reminded why Laura Kasischke is one of my favorite authors. Eerie." Memorial - "Haunting" Melody - "Obsessive love crazy" Our Father - "This has to be an idea for a longer story. There is so much potential here!" Somebody's Mistress, Somebody's Wife - "What the what?! I don't even understand and I love it. This is particularly what I'm enjoying most about these stories: sometimes they make no sense whatsoever, and I'm good with that." Joyride - "A love story. Of sorts." The Foreclosure - "Obsessive craving meets ghost story." Search Continues for Elderly Man - "Death can come visiting in many forms." The Barge - "Probably my least favorite of the collection. Not even sure how to explain anything about the story." You're Going to Die - "The relationship between a parent and child is not always loving." The Flowering Staff - "Family isn't always something that needs to be shared." The Prisoners - "Again, another story that has a lot of potential to become something more." I Hope This is Hell - "Sometimes you just need to get away from your life." The Skill - "Knowing you can take a life and knowing when not to." "If a Stranger Approaches You about Carrying a Foreign Object with You onto the Plane" - "Everyone has heard this phrase at the airport. But what if it really happens to you?"
Kasischke is a skilled artist at taking the mundane, everyday world and skewing it just enough to keep it recognizable but totally foreign. There is a disturbing familiarity to the world in her writing, yet parts are so strange that they almost seem like a dream, and these stories are no exception. There is a common thread of loneliness or despair throughout, but in some ways, I almost think these stories in some ways speak to our times. I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but even though these stories do seem a little skewed and not entirely grounded in reality, there is still an element of truth to them.